War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0276 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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as skirmishers, to hold the enemy in check. We had but short time to wait them the enemy approached in considerable force. We opened a fire on them. After a few rounds they fell back a short distance and took cover behind trees, logs, &c., and continued the fire for some time. We were soon re-enforced by Captain Reed, Company A, who formed on our left and entered into the engagement with a coolness and bravery that would have done honor to veteran soldiers. The action lasted some hour an a half, when the enemy retired, moving to our left, after which by your order we moved our position to the left on top of the hill, where we were joined by Lieutenant Lyon, in command of Companies I and H, together with some Iowa infantry and cavalry, the whole under the command of Captain Reed, which position we held till late in the evening, when we were ordered to take position at the foot of the hill, where we were under your immediate command from that time forward. I can say for my men and officers that they exceeded my expectations for deliberate firing, coolness, and courage.

Upon the whole, I believe your whole command acted as soldiers fighting for a good cause.

I have the honor to be, your humble servant,

S. P. BANKS,

Captain Commanding Co. F, Twenty-fourth Mo. Vols., Lyon Legion.

Major ELI W. WESTON.

No. 31. Report of Lieutenant James J. Lyon, Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry.

CAMP IN THE FIELD,

Monday, March 10, 1862.

SIR: I would most respectfully report that my company, H, was engaged in the action of the 7th instant from 7 o'clock a.m. until dark. There being no commissioned office with Company I, I assumed command. In the early part of the day we were engaged in skirmishing with the enemy on the Huntsville road. About 9 a.m. I took my command to the mound in the rear of the Elkhorn Tavern, where I found Captain Reed with Companies A and F. He assumed then the command of the battalion. About 3 p.m. we retired from the hill and formed in line of battle in the undergrowth between the field on the right and the mound on the left. My command occupied the extreme left. We advanced in line under your command, came to a halt, saw the enemy through the brush advancing in column from the left to the right. I was about ordering the men to fire when, hearing considerable of a noise to the rear, I perceived the rest of the line in full retreat. I had heard no order of that kind, but gave it. The men started in some confusion, but were reformed in line, and were coming off in good order, though the enemy in our rear were sending a shower of balls around us. They opened a fire upon us from the hill to our right which was terrific. Under it the men broke and fled in disorder. After crossing the field south of the mound we reformed and under your orders marched to camp, after seeing our forces advance. Eighteen of my company went into action, 14 privates and 4 non-commissioned officers. Of this number 1 private was killed; 1 sergeant, 2 corporals, and 2 privates were severely wounded. Company I entered