Numbers 26. Report of Lieutenant Colonel B. Frank Gordon, Missouri Cavalry (Confederate), commanding Shelby's brigade, of operations August 24-September 6.
HEADQUARTERS SHELBY'S BRIGADE,
Camp in front of Little Rock, September 6, 1863.
MAJOR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the actions, marches, and detours participated in by this brigade from August 24 to the present time:
While encamped at Brownsville, Ark., and acting under orders from General Walker, I received orders through him from General Price to report this brigade back to General Marmaduke for duty, which order was greeted by both officers and men with entire satisfaction.
On the morning of the 25th, and ere the men had partaken of their scanty meal, I received orders to saddle up and fall in line, which was hastily obeyed, and the command moved rapidly to the prairie beyond and east of town, and there formed in line of battle, with one section of [Joseph] Bledsoe's battery in and commanding the road upon which the enemy were approaching, while Major [Benjamin] Elliott, with his battalion, moved out into the prairie (distant 1 1/2 miles), forming the advance and acting as skirmishers. The enemy's lines, extending across the prairie, could be plainly seen advancing, supported by a large body of cavalry with artillery, and when within about 200 yards of our lines Major Elliott, from his entire line, opened fire upon them, which was immediately returned, and the charge sounded by the bugles of the enemy brought their columns sweeping across the prairie and down upon our retiring column like a whirlwind. As soon as our men had approached sufficiently near to distinguish them from the enemy, Captain Bledsoe let slip with shell and shot, completely checking up their furious onslaught and driving them out of range as rapidly as they had come.
In this skirmish we lost 1 killed and 4 captured.* The occasion of the capture of these men was by their horses and mules falling with them.
Move out was ordered, and, slowly falling back through the town and to a position across a small prairie some 6 miles west, we again formed in line of battle, in the same orders as before, save Major Elliott's being to the front, commanding the road. Some time was spent by the enemy in shelling our first position, and the woods through which the road passed to the prairie, across which we now awaited their coming. "Here they come!" is again passed up the lines, and, as one column filed right and another left, in the most perfect order, with their banners gaily streaming in the wind, we could but admire their perfect discipline and soldierly bearing. Again forming, they advanced as before, and, when about midway across this 2-mile prairie, Captain [C. O.] Bell, with his little battery mischievously ambushed, opened upon then squadrons of white horse, which was the signal for Captain Bledsoe, who sent crushing through their lines shell after shell, throwing them in the most beautiful confusion; but running out two batteries into position, they threw a shower of shells into our lines, which, however, fell harmless. As nothing advantageous could be gained by longer holding this position, we again received orders to, and moved out, with out further annoyance, and, crossing the Bayou Meto, encamped for the night.
*Nominal list omitted.