That guard, or the Government property in their possession, was not molested, although Captain Anderson and his men saw the guards, and even captured one or two men of the picket guard in Mr. Turner's dooryard.
One of Mr. Turner's guards informed Captain F. A. Millert that he also heard a body of troops moving through the corn-field last night about 9 o'clock, but he did not inform the officer commanding the picket guard, neither did he take, or cause to be taken, any steps to inform the picket guard of the danger surrounding them. The guard witnessed the capture of our men from the front door of Mr. Turner's house. He says the men were very much scattered; they had just come up to the regular picket station; the pickets had not yet been stationed for the day. The picket guard at night retires about 1 mile from the position they occupy during the day. They had just halted, had unbridled their horses, and were feeding when attacked from the rear.
The enlisted men captured have seen and done hard service, and would not have been taken prisoners if the lieutenant had done his duty. For the men I have sympathy; for the officer, contempt; and respectfully recommend that he may be mustered out of the service of the United states.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY P. HAWKINS,
Major, Commanding Sixth Missouri Cavalry.
Captain WILLIAM H. MORGAN,
DECEMBER 17 - 21, 1862. - Expedition from New Madrid to Clarkton, Mo.
Report of Captain Hubert F. Peebles, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry.
New Madrid, Mo., December 22, 1862.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the forces under my command in the late expedition to Clarkton, Mo.:
The command consisted of Captain [J.] Hutchinson, Second Lieutenant [A.] Dowd, and 40 men of Company I; First Lieutenant [H. C.] Raymond, and 57 men of Company C; Chaplain Coffin, and Surgeon Waters. The command left New Madrid at about 8 a. m. December 17, and went as far as Weaversville, a distance of 22 miles, the first day. Little River, at this place, is from 2 to 5 feet deep at the ford, the bridge having been destroyed some time since, by order of Major Jones, then in command at New Madrid; the width of the ford is some 5 rods. We were obliged to ferry the men across in a small skiff. The roads, notwithstanding the recent heavy rains, were in excellent condition to this point. The Plank road begins at Weaversville and runs to Clarkton, a distance of 12 miles, through a swamp.
At daylight on the 18th, we continued our march, and arrived at Clarkton the same evening. We found the roads almost impassable; culverts, to the number of some 20, had all been destroyed, and the teams were obliged to pass around them, going down the bank into the water and mud to the depth of from 3 to 5 feet. The bridge across New River,