AUGUST 9-18, 1863.- Scout from Cape Girardeau to the Ash Hills and Poplar Bluff, Mo., and skirmish (13th) at the Ash Hills.
Report of Major Frederick R. Poole, Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
HDQRS. 1ST BATT. 2nd MO. STATE MILITIA CAV.,
Cape Girardeau, August 20, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with your instructions of the 9th instant, I marched with my battalion and one company of the Second Arkansas Cavalry, under command of Lieutenant [W. F.] Orr, at 9.30 p. m. same evening, to re-enforce Major Montgomery, commanding Post Bloomfield, whom you had informed me you supposed to be in imminent danger. I marched all night, through with some difficulty, having in several instances, owing to the darkness and the thickly wooded glades, to light the port-fires (belonging to the mountain howitzer which I brought with me) to enable the drivers to keep the road, and arrival next day at Bloomfield.
I telegraphed you from Bloomfield that, from all information and indications, I thought that Major Montgomery need have no fears of an attack; and on the 12th received orders from you to move my command throughout the Ash Hills, in the direction of Pocahontas, to obtain all the information possible touching rebel forces in the southern tier of counties; and, should I find no body of rebels, was to proceed no farther south than the Ash Hills, and return via Greenville, or in that direction, to the Cape.
In obedience to the above instructions, I moved in the direction indicated the same evening. Marched all night, to avoid the intense heat, resting a few hours at Camp Poole, near Saint Francisville, to rest and feed. Them, moving forward, we crossed the Saint Francis River ar Indian Ford, and proceeded down the Ash Hill road 10 miles, along the west of the Saint Francis, and entered the Ash Hills country about 5 p. m. on the evening of the 13th. At this point, hearing of no enemy, and my men and animals being very much fatigued, I took Captain [P. D.] McClanahan and two men in advance to select and lay out our camp, when, coming to a short angle of the road, we met, face to face, about 80 armed guerrillas. The column being about 200 yards in rear, we charged them with saber and pistol, killing 6 on the spot, wounded several, and captured several horses; also a large lot of ammunition and arms, when they broke like sheep to the swamp. In the melee, I received a shot through the right leg, which proved very painful. Having no doctor nor ambulance, I had to ride on horseback five days after being wounded. I also had my horses shot nearly at the same instant that I was wounded myself, and he fell heavily upon me, injuring me considerably.
The casualty occurring to myself and horse was the only one received by my command during the entire scout. About 2 miles from the scene of the skirmish we went into Camp McClanahan, and rested for the night; distant from Bloomfield about 40 miles.
On the morning of the 14th, continued our course through Ash Hills until we arrived at their base, striking Black River; then moved north on the east bank of the river, and arrived and encamped at Poplar Bluff, 25 miles from Camp McClanahan. Came up with 3 more guerrillas during the day, who were all killed.