War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0019 Chapter XXV. GENERAL REPORTS, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

enemy displayed eleven regiments of cavalry and one battery of artillery-probably about 7,000 men.

Gaining imperfect tidings of this affair, and apprehending that the enemy might press his success and do us great damage, I started, on the morning of October 1, overtook General Totten's division, and proceeded with it to Colonel Hall's camp,5 miles east of Sarcoxie, reaching that place on the evening of the 2nd. To my gratification I was there met the next morning by General Blunt, who had pressed forward rapidly from Fort Scott with small re-enforcements. My force was now about 10,000 strong; that of the enemy variously estimated at from 13,000 to 20,000 at Newtonia.

I had reliable information that Rains, with his force of infantry and artillery, was coming up to Newtonia, and had probably already arrived at that place. After a brief consultation with General Blunt it was decided to move upon the enemy that night and attack him at daylight the next morning. General Blunt's division entered the prairie on which Newtonia is situated from the north and west in three columns, and General Totten's division in a single column from the east. Rains had failed to come, as ordered, and the enemy, in anticipation of our attack, had sent their baggage to the rear and were preparing to retreat. Our cavalry and artillery immediately charged upon the enemy, the latter fleeing precipitately across the prairie and escaping into the timber some 3 miles from the town. A strong force of cavalry and light howitzers was pushed forward in pursuit, harassing the enemy and inflicting upon him considerable loss, until he was driven through Pineville into Arkansas.

Our loss in this affair was only 4 wounded. That of the enemy could not be ascertained, as the fight extended over 30 miles of timbered country. Eighteen of the enemy's dead were left in the road.

On leaving Springfield I had only hoped to effect a junction with General Blunt and occupy a position far enough in advance to cover both Fort Scott and Springfield and thus secure the ground we held until the arrival of re-enforcements, which were on their way from Fort Leavenworth, and those for which I asked General Curtis from Rolla; but from information gained at and soon after the time of the affair at Newtonia, it was evident that our movements were in advance of the enemy's preparation to meet us; that his large mass of conscripts had not yet received arms, and that he was far from being ready to carry out his plan for the invasion of Missouri. I was also satisfied that my force, small as it was,was more formidable than that of the enemy, notwithstanding his great superiority in numbers. I therefore ordered General Herron, with all the available force left at Springfield, to move forward toward Cassville, which point he reached on the 14th. The main column had reached the same point on the 12th.

Having obtained reliable information that the enemy were concentrating at Cross Hollow, and would probably make a stand near that point, I moved forward to the old battle ground at Pea Ridge on October 17. From this place I sent forward a strong cavalry reconnaissance to ascertain the exact position of the enemy. From this reconnaissance, which returned on the 18th, I learned that the enemy had divided his forces, sending a detachment of cavalry and artillery, under Cooper, in the direction of Maysville, evidently for the purpose of striking our Fort Scott line; while Rains, with the main body of the infantry, artillery, and cavalry force, had gone in the direction of Huntsville, and 2,500 or 3,00 cavalry had been left in our front to conceal these movements. I immediately sent General Blunt, with