War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0073 Chapter XVIII. SKIRMISH NEAR SAINT, MO.

Search Civil War Official Records

stampede and inexcusable retreat there can be no question. The fault of it is, I believe, universally attributed to the officer in command of the expedition, where justly or not I do not pretend to say. I wish, however, to represent the cause so far as to do justice to Captain and a part of his company, who dauntless courage and heroic conduct on the occasion prevented our force from being involved in the most humiliating disgrace.

When the surprise was made our whole force was just mounted and about to make a forward movement. Captain immediately ordered his men to dismount and form, which was done by most of his men, and immediately engaged the enemy. By orders of the commanding officer the other troops moved a few yards in advance of the position which they occupied, and instead of their forming and charging, as they had a good chance to do, and by which movement, too, they would have secured every one of the rebels as prisoners, they turned around and broke back through the lane where Captain and his men were fighting, running over and that line, thereby causing part of 's men to join in the stampede (panic they call it), and leaving him with only about 25 men with which to contend against the enemy. stood his ground with the few men left him and prevented the enemy from pursuing the fugitives; and at last, when the enemy turned back and left, he followed on after our men, gathering up some of their arms and clothing which they had disencumbered themselves of in their flight. He left 1 killed and 2 wounded on the field and lost 6 taken prisoners. The prisoners taken were those of Captain's men, who have been knocked down and run over by Major and his men as they turned and fled from the enemy, they not being ale to recover before the enemy got up that far-which was as far, too, as the ever advanced. Captain Leepr feels a little sore under this defeat, but every one who noticed Captain 's conduct on the field of combat does him the justice to say that he acted bravely and as coolly as if no fight was going on, giving his orders to his men and seeing that they were as well disposed as they could be, and also calling to the fugitives to come back; that they could whip them if they would come back; and he now says that if only the whole of his own company had remained they would have been the conquerors instead of the vanquished.

It is not my place to write a report of his transaction; that is the duty of the proper officer. I only want to have justice done to an officer who under so unfavorable circumstances did his whole duty; and as Captain 's company is a part of the Missouri Militia, of which you have the chief command, I thought it would not be considered out of place for me in this way to bring his acts to your notice. Captain, I have no doubt, is wishing to merit and obtain a higher command than he now holds, and it is the opinion of all who know how bravely and honorably he did his duty on the occasion, and getting off with so small a loss (1 killed and 2 wounded), that he has shown himself worthy of the confidence of those who have bestowed upon him the office he now holds.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD, Saint Louis.