War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0107 Chapter XVIII. NEW MADRID, MO., AND ISLAND Numbers 10, ETC.

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Numbers 13. Report of Major William S. Robertson, Fifth Iowa Infantry.


SIR: In obedience to an order issued from Colonel W. H. Worthington, Fifth Iowa Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Mississippi, I took three companies of the Fifty-ninth Indiana and two companies (A and B) of the Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry to Colonel G. Granger, of the Third Michigan Cavalry, and was by him ordered to deploy the two Iowa and tow of the Indiana companies ordered to deploy the two Iowa and two of the Indiana companies as skirmishers to attack the town of New Madrid, Mo., on the north.

Throwing out my skirmishers, I advanced upon and engaged the enemy's pickets about 400 yards north of the town plat, in a large corn field, driving them to their guard quarters within the town. Pressing closely upon them, and seeing that they were supported by 400 or 500 infantry and a piece of light artillery, I sheltered my men behind a fence, awaiting my support, the Forty-sixth Indiana Regiment being designated for that purpose. After keeping my men thus protected for a length of time, I sent word to Colonel Granger by one of his aides of my position an discoveries, and requested orders to advance or retire, when I received orders to advance or retire, when I received orders to retire to the middle of the corn field, which I did in good order. This position I held nearly an hour, when I was ordered by Colonel Granger to withdraw my skirmishers and return to camp.

It affords me pleasure to compliment the promptness, coolness and energy of the officers and men of my command throughout.

Our loss consisted of 1 man killed of the Fifty-ninth Indiana and 2 of the Fifth Iowa wounded.


Major, Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

Lieutenant B. F. PATTERSON,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.



As commander of the column mentioned within, which moved upon New Madrid yesterday, it affords me much satisfaction to more than corroborate every statement of the modest but gallant Major Robertson. His officers and men, under a terrific fire of round shot and shell for some two hours, behaved like veterans, and quite surprised me by their coolness and indifference to the danger which surrounded them.

Major Robertson was especially conspicuous, never dismounting from his horse, although their sharpshooters tried their best to pick him off.

Lieutenant Gordon, Fourth United States Cavalry, aide-de-camp, U. A. Army, displayed rare courage with the skirmishers, and deserves especial notice.


Colonel, Commanding Third Michigan Cavalry.