War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0049 Chapter XXXIV. ENGAGEMENT AT CANE HILL, ARK.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 5. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Owen A. Bassett, Second Kansas Cavalry.


Boonsborough, Ark., December 2, 1862.

[SIR: ] I have the honor to report that, on the evening of the 27th ultimo, I left Camp Babcock and marched in column, formed by the Third Brigade, in the place assigned, which was in the immediate rear of the Eleventh Kansas Infantry.

My command consisted of nine companies of cavalry: Company A, commanded by Lieutenant [J.] Johnston; Company C, by Captain [D. S.] Whittenhall; Company D, by Lieutenant [A.] Moore; Company E, by Captain [J.] Gardner; Company F, by Captain [H.] Cameron; Company G, by Captain [A. W.] Matthews; Company H, by Captain [A.] Gunther; Company I, by First Sergt. M. Enright, and Company K, by Captain [A. P.] Russell, numbering 337 enlisted men; one battery of light artillery (four pieces), the same captured by this regiment at Maysville on October 22, under command of Captain [H.] Hopkins, known as Company B, Second Kansas Volunteers, and one section of mountain howitzers, under command of Lieutenant [E. S.] Stover, Second Kansas Volunteers.

On the evening of the 27th, I went into camp 10 miles north of Cane Hill, and received orders to march next morning at 5 a. m.

Moved on the morning of the 28th, at 5 o'clock. I was ordered to send a portion of my force in advance, and accordingly I sent Companies C, I, and G to the head of the column, under command of Major [J. G.] Fisk, and with the rest of my regiment took the same position assigned to me the day previous, Captain Gunther having been detailed by yourself as field officer of the day, leaving Company H in command of Lieutenant Ballard.

About 10 a. m., Captain Whittenhall, at the head of the column as advance guard, surprised and captured 3 of the enemy's pickets and killed 1. Major risk hurried forward, and at the foot of the hill, about one-half mile north of Boonsborough, came upon a party of the enemy's cavalry drawn up in a lane leading to the village. He formed line, and Lieutenant Stover, coming up with his howitzers, opened upon them with good effect. The enemy was drawn up in force on a hill to the right from of Major Fisk's line, and with three pieces of artillery opened fire. Lieutenant Stover immediately turned his howitzers to bear upon them. Rabb's Second Indian Battery coming up, Major Fisk moved a portion of his force to the rear, over the brow of the hill, dismounted it, and ordered the men to lie down and hold themselves as a support to Rabb's battery. The remainder he sent to reconnoiter the enemy's position. Just after making this disposition of his battalion, the major received a severe wound on the top of his head by a piece of shell, which tore away the top of his hat crown and knocked him down. He recovered in a few minutes, and remained in command for a full hour afterward.

When the first shot was fired by the enemy, I was still in rear of the Eleventh Kansas Infantry, which had halted 2 miles back, but immediately passed that regiment by file to their right and left flanks, through timber and underbrush; brought up my men to the brow of the hill in rear of Major Fisk's position, where I found General Blunt, and, under his orders, I sent Captain [S. J.] Crawford, with Companies A and D, to occupy a hill to the right and front of Major Fisk's position.