HDQRS. RESERVE BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION,
Little Rock, Ark., September 17, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with your request of September 12, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this brigade during the engagement of the 10th instant:
On the arrival of my brigade at Ashley's Mills, on the evening of the 9th, I was informed by General Davidson that this brigade would attempt the crossing of the Arkansas at Buck's Ford. About sunset I made a personal examination of the ford, and found the enemy posted on the opposite side, apparently in force. Early next morning, by General Davidson's order, I marched toward the ford with my cavalry, and sent Clarkson's battery into a corn-field to a position which would cover the crossing. It was found that the enemy had thrown up a considerable fortification of cotton bales, two deep, so as to have a raking fire on the ford. Not knowing where their batteries might be posted, or whether this fort was manned by infantry, I sent Captain [I. W.] Fuller's company (E), First Missouri Cavalry, to draw the fire, which he succeeded in doing, with a loss of 3 wounded horses. Clarkson's battery then opened upon the fort, and, after a sharp fire, he succeeded in setting the cotton on fire and driving the enemy from the place. In the mean time orders were received from General Davidson to proceed on that side of the river and cross at the pontoon bridge, 2 1/2 miles above, which was effected at about 1 p. m., the cavalry fording above the bridge. The men of Clarkson's battery were exposed to a broiling sun, and 4 or 5, also Lieutenant Clarkson himself, were attacked with sun-stroke. One man wounded and 2 horses killed.
A short time after joining General Davidson, the brigade was ordered forward to relieve the First and Second Brigades, which was done within a few miles of Little Rock. After proceeding some distance without any particular skirmishing, the Third Iowa Cavalry and Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry, Majors [G.] Duffield and [L.] Lippert commanding, were ordered to charge into the city, which they did, driving the enemy before them, the First Missouri Cavalry following. After this there was no firing until the First Missouri Cavalry reached the upper end of town, near the arsenal, when a sharp fire was opened from the enemy's batteries in the timber, doing no damage, however, except the killing of 1 horse. The brigade then went into camp, pushing forward pickets on the Pine Bluff and Arkadelphia roads. This brigade was the first to enter the city, under the orders of General Davidson, and occupied the west end of the city during the night.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the conduct of officers and men throughout the entire day was such as to elicit the highest praise, and I cannot forbear mentioning the following officers by name as worthy of the highest encomiums: Captain J. M. Adams, First Missouri Cavalry, brigade inspector; First Lieutenant W. T. Hamilton, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain I. W. Fuller, First Missouri Cavalry; Major L. Lippert, Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry; Major George Duffield, Third Iowa Cavalry, and First Lieutenant T. S. Clarkson, battery. The battery was particularly exposed, and was well handled.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
JNO. F. RITTER,
Colonel First Missouri Cavalry, Commanding Reserve Brigade.
Lieutenant A. S. MONTGOMERY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, Cavalry Division.