The men lay down that night in line of battle, and at 4 a. m. the First Wisconsin advanced and engaged the enemy, whose rear occupied the position of the night before. Opened on them with artillery at 5 a. m., and also on the town, forcing the enemy to a precipitate retreat, my advance entering the town at 10 m. m. from the north as they retired by the south, on Chalk Bluff road. My whole was in full occupancy of the town before 11 o'clock. Here I was compelled to wait further orders.
In the afternoon there was assigned to me, by Brigadier-General Vandever, two brigades: The First Brigade-Third Missouri Cavalry, Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry, Third Iowa Cavalry, Thirteenth Illinois, Stange's section, Hauck's battery, Lindsay's section of Enrolled Missouri Militia, and the First Iowa Cavalry, Colonel J. M. Glover commanding. The Second Brigade-First Nebraska Infantry, Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry, First Wisconsin Cavalry, and Welfley's battery, Colonel La Grange commanding.
I found the enemy had sent fatigue parties in advance, to construct at floating bridge with which to expedite their crossing the Saint Francis. The delays which had occurred satisfied me that it would be nearly impossible to bring the rebels to an engagement, the nature of the country between Bloomfield and Chalk Bluff being such that a strong rear guard could retard a heavy column with ease and almost impunity. Hoping that I could make the river in time to injure them, however, I notified the various corps of the change in order of assignment, with orders to march at 7 p. m., the Second Brigade, under Colonel La Grange, in the advance. We marched all night and came up with the enemy; attacked them at 5 a. m. on May 1; engaged them in constant succession, they taking position after position for 20 miles. Night found me in position 2 miles from Chalk Bluff.
Next morning, May 2, I advanced the artillery on the bluff - north side of river-the enemy having crossed; bridge being destroyed, and being posted on Chalk Bluff, south side of the river, advanced skirmishers to find their position. The enemy immediately opened with artillery and small-arms, which was as promptly replied to. Our artillery was admirably served, and our fire soon became terrific. The First Nebraska, the Thirty-seventh Illinois, part of the First Wisconsin, and Second Missouri State Militia performed admirably as skirmishers and sharpshooter, and finally drove the enemy, with heavy loss to them, from the bluff, when I received orders to fall back.
I deeply regret that despite the excellent quality of the force in pursuit, and the splendid and effective artillery placed at our disposition, Marmaduke was allowed to make a successful retreat into Arkansas, saving his guns and baggage, but trust an examination of the reports made by the various brigade and regimental commanders will exonerate me from blame in the premises.
The loss I suffered will be seen from the report of Major William McClellan, surgeon of the general hospital at Cape Girardeau, also inclosed. I must make honorable mention of Colonel Glover and the Third Missouri Cavalry, who on all occasions conducted themselves as gallant soldiers, and particularly during our 20-mile engagement, when, with Lieutenant-Colonel [Robert] Carrick and the Third Missouri, they made a dashing on the enemy on May 1, for the purpose of taking their artillery, which would have been a complete success had the First Iowa, which was ordered to support the charge, got up in time. Welfley's battery, Lieutenant Jacoby, and Captain McClanahan's section, Second Missouri State Militia, deserve special mention for good con-