Numbers 3. Report of Major John F. Benjamin, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry (Militia).
KIRKSVILLE, MO., August 6, 1862.
COLONEL: The following is my report of the operations of my command for the last two days and of the part the troops under my command bore in the battle of Kirksville:
Late at night on the 4th I received orders from you to move with my command, and also the companies of Captains McClanahan and Edwards, Second Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, at 4 a. m. on the morning of the 5th, in pursuit of Porter, leaving the wagons and everything behind that would impede our march to be brought up by the rear guard. Some little delay was experienced in getting off in the morning in consequence of some of the companies not being ready at the time appointed.
We soon struck the trail of Porter in the Fabius Bottom, near Clapp's Ford, and followed with all possible speed until, reaching the Middle Fabius, 10 miles south of Memphis, we found that Porter had passed but a short time before, and had destroyed the bridge and felled trees across the ford to interrupt our pursuit. A practicable crossing for the horses was soon discovered above the bridge, where all were passed safely over. A temporary structure was hastily made of the remains of the bridge, over which the small battery and ammunition wagons were passed by hand, the men working with a will. Two other bridges were destroyed by the rebels, but the streams were passed without difficulty. We pursued, without halting, until 10 p. m., and halted, the men lying down in the open air, having eaten nothing since morning and many nothing since the night before. At 4 a. m. of the morning of the 6th we were again in the saddle, without breakfast, and soon after the pursuit commenced again.
Before reaching Kirksville the Third Iowa was ordered in the advance, and passed my command, which followed more leisurely, arriving at Kirksville about 11 a. m. The Indiana battery coming up, I was ordered by you to support it, taking position on the extreme right. When the position of the enemy became fully known I moved the companies of Captain McClanahan (Second Regiment) and Lieutenant Donahoo (Eleventh Regiment) still farther to the right, and at the northeast corner of the town, taking possession of two houses, from which they poured a very destructive fire upon the enemy (concealed, as they supposed, from us) in a small corn field, within short musket-range. Our fire, and the effective discharges of grape and shell from the Indiana battery, soon made the place too hot for the rebels, and they "vamosed the ranch" in the most approved style, leaving guns and everything behind that impeded locomotives. Many were brought down in their attempt to escape.
I received orders from you to assault the northern part of the town, and the two companies of the Second, and Company A, Eleventh Regiment, gallantly performed the work. Company H, Captain Lampkin, still supporting the battery.
In nearly every house rebels were found posted, but they made but a feeble resistance. The battery was immediately moved forward, and took a position from which it could rake that part of the town not yet occupied. With Company H and part of Company A and detachments from the Second Regiment several buildings on the west side of the town were stormed and their inmates killed or taken pris-