War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0535 Chapter XXXIV. ADVANCE UPON LITTLE ROCK, ARK., ETC.

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Numbers 28. Report of Colonel Robert C. Newton, Fifth Arkansas Cavalry, commanding brigade, of operations August 25-September 14.


Camp near Washington, Ark., December 3, 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor, in obedience to orders, to submit the following report of the operations, camps, marches, &c., of my command from the day of the battle at Brownsville to the time of the arrival of General Marmaduke's division at Rockport:

The engagement at Brownsville occurred on August 25. Colonel [A. S.] Dobbin's brigade (composed of Dobbin's and [Robert C.] Newton's regiments) was encamped at Legate's Bridge, on Bayou Meto. About 7 a. m. scouts reported the enemy moving upon Brownsville and near the town. By Colonel Dobbin's order I moved my regiment, in rear of his, out into the prairie about a mile from Legate's, the brigade trains being sent on the prairie road to get upon the main military road at Baker's. About 9 a. m. scouts sent by Colonel Dobbin toward Brownsville reported that the enemy was in town, and General Marmaduke retiring on military (or Wire) road toward Little Rock. We accordingly retired on the prairie road to the Wire road at Baker's, where General Marmaduke's command was formed, and thence down Wire road to Long's Prairie, where we formed to cover retirement of General Marmaduke's forces. Remained there an hour or so, and then, by order of Brigadier-General Walker, (commanding the cavalry at that time), we moved on to Bayou Meto at Reed's Bridge, where line of battle was formed on the west bank of the bayou. My regiment was immediately to the right of the bridge. We remained there all night.

The next morning (August 26) my regiment was detached by General Walker and ordered to Shallow Ford, to cover that crossing of Bayou Meto. I moved from Reed's Bridge about 9 a. m., and reached Shallow Ford at 3.30 p. m. Learning from citizens that a party of Federals had been there the day before, I immediately upon my arrival there, and after posting my pickets so as to guard against surprise, sent out small scouts upon all the roads on the east side of the bayou leading to the ford. Lieutenant [J. C.] Barnes, of Company A, whom I sent with 8 men upon the road leading from Shallow Ford to Long's stage stand, on the Wire road, encountered a party of 10 or 12 Federals about 2 miles beyond the bayou, who fled precipitately at his approach. He pursued them some distance, but was unable to overtake them. Being satisfied, from the result of the reconnaissance of the different roads, that no force of the enemy was in the neighborhood of the ford, I encamped on the bayou, near Mrs. Ewell's, and about a mile above the ford, picketing carefully toward Brownsville and other points from which an attack was possible. Here I remained all night.

Early the next morning (August 27) heavy cannonading commenced at Reed's Bridge, indicating an engagement there. The firing in that direction increasing, I pushed out small scouts upon all the roads leading from the ford toward the Wire road, and satisfying myself that the enemy were making no demonstration toward me, I left Major [J. P.] Bull with the bulk of my force to hold the crossing at Shallow Ford and keep up communication with General Walker at Reed's Bridge, and with about 80 men I crossed the bayou and moved toward the Wire road. Reaching Baker's place, on that road, about 4 or 5 miles from Shallow Ford, I there encountered a small Federal picket, which my