Numbers 14. Report of Colonel G. W. Thompson, Sixth Missouri Cavalry (Confederate), commanding Shelby's brigade.
HEADQUARTERS SHELBY'S BRIGADE,
May 15, 1863.
SIR: On the morning of April 18, last, while General Marmaduke's cavalry division of the army was en route for Missouri, I received orders from Colonel Joseph O. Shelby to take command of the brigade formerly commanded by himself, and, in obedience to said orders, did take command. I now have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by it on the made into Missouri:
The troops composing this brigade are Lieutenant-Colonel [B. F.] Gordon's, Colonel [Beal G.] Jeans', and my own regiment, with Major Shanks' battalion, and Captain [R. A.] Collins' battery of four guns (two Parrott guns, one brass and one iron 6-pounder), the effective force numbering about 1,250 men.
Our route lay over a very barren country, almost destitute of provisions and forage, and save the arresting of a number of the enrolled militia, nothing of importance occurred until the morning of the 20th, when, after a forced march and to within some 8 miles of the village of Patterson, in [Wayne] County, Missouri, Major D. Shanks, with his battalion, forming the advance guard, surprised, and after exchanging a few shots, captured the enemy's entire picket guard of 8 men, together with their arms and horses. Here Captain Reck Johnson, a good and gallant man, was severely wounded. Learning there was but one picket stand between us and the town, and having so completely surprised their pickets, and, in fact, the entire country through which we passed, a complete surprise and capture of the Federal fort and forces was deemed certain. So elated were the troops of my command with the bright prospects before them, they moved with renewed energy and determination.
At 3 p. m. my advance arrived to within 3 miles of town, and to our chagrin and supreme annoyance we learned the enemy, having taken fright from some cause or other, had set fire to the town, and in terror fled in the direction of Ironton. Before reaching the town the dense columns of smoke but too plainly told the information received to be correct. On my arrival, I found General Marmaduke and the division under Colonel Carter occupying the place.
On the following morning, with my brigade in the rear, we crossed the Saint Francis River, en route for Fredericktown, Mo., which place we arrived at on the evening of the 22nd, surprising the place, capturing the bogus "Gamble sheriff," telegraph operator, and a number of the enrolled tory militia.
On the night of the 23rd, a detachment of 90 men, under Lieutenant [J. L.] Bledsoe, of Gordon's regiment, and Lieutenant [J. M.] Wills, of my own regiment (now commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel [J. C.] Hooper), all under command of the gallant Captain [J. M.] Muse, of the First Regiment Missouri Infantry, with instructions from Colonel Shelby, were sent on an expedition to the Iron Mountain Railroad for the purpose of destroying certain bridges over which said road passed. This I considered truly a hazardous enterprise, and one fraught with much peril and hardship, as the country through which they would have to pass filled with bodies of tory militia, and all the bridges guarded by large bodies of infantry. However, after an absence of
19 R-VOL XXII, PT I