Numbers 52. Report of Brigadier General D. M. Frost, commanding Seventh and Ninth Divisions, Missouri State Guard.
HDQRS. SEVENTH DIV., MISSOURI STATE GUARD.
March 19, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to orders from general headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the battle of Elkhorn Tavern and the operations leading thereto:
The troops under my command consisted of Guibor's battery, of four guns, and MacDonald's, of three guns, and what is known as McBridge's division, comprising some 500 infantry and 120 cavalry.
In obedience to General Orders, Nos. 58 and 59, from Major-General Price, my command, provided with three days' rations and without baggage and camp equipage, proceeded on the march from Cove Creek on Tuesday morning, the 4th instant, in the direction of Bentonville.
On Thursday morning, the 6th instant, when about 6 miles from that place, I received orders to advance at double-quick time, which was executed by the command until they arrived at the village, though too late to participate in the skirmish between our cavalry and General Sigel's retreating force, yet in advance of other commands which had preceded them on the march.
The pursuit continued without halt or rest during the whole day, and night found us worn down with fatigue and our three days' rations exhausted.
At 8 o'clock on the same evening the pursuit was continued and lasted all night.
At daylight on Tuesday morning an hour's rest enabled the command to push forward with some degree of vigor, although unremitted marching and fasting had reduced its effective strength at least one-third of its whole number.
At about 10 o'clock on Friday morning I was ordered to form my infantry in line of battle on a hill to the left of the State road, on Sugar Creek. Subsequently MacDonald's, Wade's, Clark's, and Guibor's batteries occupied the same position, which for some hours exchanged a heavy fire with the enemy, during which time my infantry and cavalry (then and during the remainder of the action dismounted) acted as a supporting force.
The enemy's batteries being silenced or abandoned, I received orders to move my command to the support of Colonel Little's brigade; but being informed by him that Burbridge's brigade was being heavily pressed on the right of his line, I advanced my command and relieved that regiment, which formed in my rear.
Having performed this duty, I received an order to move my command to the left, to attack the enemy's position at Elkhorn Tavern, and in conjunction with Little's brigade to advance upon that position, thus necessitating a change of front in line, which was executed under fire.
Heavy firing being heard on the left, which was understood to be the signal of a general advance, my command moved promptly forward in the line, and, sweeping the enemy before it, halted only after driving them back upon the plain and under the protection of what seemed their last batteries. Night here closed upon the scene and the men slept upon their arms on the enemy's field.