War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0280 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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No. 34. Report of Major August H. Poten, Seventeenth Missouri Infantry.


Camp Welfley, Ark., March 18, 1862.

March 6, in camp on McKisick's farm. Received marching order the night previous. Started with the division at 2 o'clock a.m. on the Bentonville road; passed through Bentonville; halted about 5 miles on the other side of Bentonville, when we received the intelligence that the enemy had attacked our rear guard at Bentonville. Major Poten received the order to proceed at once to General Curtis, to report the state of affairs. In the mean time the regiment marched, under command of Captain Niegemann, back on the road to Bentonville about 2 miles, when we met our rear guard retiring. Major Poten, having returned, was ordered by General Sigel to cover the retreat with our regiment, together with two companies of the Fifteenth Missouri Volunteers and one company Fremont Hussars, under command of Major Landry; the whole under the command of Major Poten. This operation was carried out in perfect order without any loss on our side. The command reached camp on Sugar Creek Hill, Ark., about dark.

March 7, remained in camp until 2 o'clock p.m., when General Siegel ordered Major Poten to advance with our regiment on the road to Bentonville. The command consisted of the Seventeenth Regiment Missouri Volunteers; two companies of the Fifteenth Regiment Missouri Volunteers, under Major Landry; two companies of the Third Regiment Missouri Volunteers; two companies of Benton Hussars, under Major Heinrichs, and two pieces of the flying battery, under Captain Elbert. After having advanced as far as 4 miles the enemy was discovered on the hills to the right of the Bentonville road. Several shells were thrown at him, and the cavalry under Major Heinrichs advanced, drawing the enemy's fire from three pieces of artillery upon them, severely wounding 1 man. The regiment, as the other part of the command, then returned, according to orders received from General Sigel, to the camp, making some 8 or 9 prisoners on their way back.

March 8, at 3 o'clock a.m., Adjutant Leser was sent by Major Poten to General Sigel's headquarters for orders. At the same time the six companies of the Second Regiment Missouri Volunteers, who have been with our command, received marching orders, to join General Sigel's division. General Sigel ordered Major Poten to proceed with his entire command to the Telegraph road and from there to the battle-field as soon as four companies of the Second Regiment Missouri Volunteers, detailed to relieve, would arrive. Lieutenant-Colonel Laibold having arrived at our camp at 9.30 o'clock a.m., our command at once marched to the battle-field. After having taken possession on the left wing we received orders to advance up a steep hill, to dislocate the enemy's right wing, or, if he should give way, if possible to cut off his retreat. The regiment deployed as skirmishers in line, took the hill previously cleared with our batteries, they throwing shells over our heads. While the regiment was climbing up the hill we met a few stragglers, who succeeded in wounding one of our men and killing Acting Major Niegemann's horse before they retired. After a platoon fire of the whole battalion the regiment moved again down to the hollow and up the hill to the Telegraph road, joined by the Second Regiment Missouri