War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0241 Chapter XXXIV. EXPEDITION TO CHALK BLUFF, ARK, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

river, and that they company I had posted at Four Mile, a small village 4 miles from the ferry, had fallen back 6 miles, I marched toward Bloomfield, making 46 miles by 9 p. m., and encamped in a good position on the direct road from the Bluff to Bloomfield. The regiment marched into Bloomfield yesterday at 9 a. m. The command had marched 184 miles in six days, besides numerous scouts both at night and day.

We had 2 men wounded by the fire of the enemy at Chalk Bluff, and 2 accidentally; only 1 man on the sick report from other causes, thus proving that the field is more healthy than quarters. I administered the oath to over 100 citizens, and could have done so to many times that number had they not been scared off by extravagant reports of our killing unarmed and innocent persons. The covers being on our guidons, for it rained most of the time, they were taken for black flags, and the story that we were marching under that peculiarly Southern emblem widely circulated. Rape and murder were charged on us, causing the men to flee to the swamps. The women alone stood their ground, either not believing the charge or not fearing the consequences. I have promised protection to the loyal and law-abiding,and forgiveness for the past to those sincerely tired of rebellion, and disposed to be at peace with their neighbors, and announced that the rule for the future is, that where a Union man cannot live in peace a secessionist shall not live at all. A better state of feeling is fast obtaining among this simple minded people, and the timely display of force is begetting confidence in the power of the Government. When our operations can be extended to clearing Crawley Ridge, in Arkansas, we may hope for peace in these counties.

I take pleasure in commending the zeal and devotion to duty that has characterized the offices and men under me on this expedition. Major [Hiram M.] Hiller, commanding the First Battalion, Captain [Josephus] Robbins, the Second, and Captain Sells, the Third, were constant and unremitting in duty. First Lieutenant [Amos P.] Wright, of Company L, and Second Lieutenant Joseph H. Cell, of Company K, were always active and efficient. Sergt. Darius Dennis, Company E; Sergt. Hewlit H. McIlhany, Company G; Bugler Hiram H. Swasey, Company A, and Privates John W. Dryden, Company K, and William J. Dryden, Company E, attested courage of the highest order in charges and pursuits, everywhere riding down and sabering their foes. Sergt. H. H. McIlhany, of Company G; Corpl. George Rose, of Company B; Privates Samuel Knox and George McConnel, Company A, and James T. Hoover, Company F, I would make especial mention of for their gallantry in swimming the Saint Francis on a dismal, cold, and bleak day, and, under the fire of the enemy, seizing the ferry-boat and bringing it across. Such a devotion to duty should no go unrewarded. I have thanked them in orders, desiring that their names should be borne as they deserve on the durable records of their regiments.

I cannot close this report without particular mention of the gallant bearing and valuable services of Lieutenant Poole, regimental adjutant, on this expedition. A fine cavalry officer and a spirited soldier, he has given my men an example of dash and daring throughout this whole expedition that cannot but be highly beneficial to the regiment. I respectfully commend him for promotion.

Our horses are now resting, and will soon be again fit for duty.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JOHN McNEIL,

Colonel, Commanding.

Brigadier General J. W. DAVIDSON,

Commanding District of Saint Louis, Mo.

16 R-VOL XXII, PT I