War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0607 Chapter XXXIV. ACTION AT DEVIL' BACKBONE, ARK.

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running carried all the prisoners off with them. Thomson's and Hill's regiments acted in the most disgraceful manner. The eight companies of Morgan's regiment acted but little better. There was nothing to make these regiments run, except the sound of the cannon. Had they fought as troops fighting for liberty should, I would have captured the whole of the enemy's command, and gone back to Fort Smith, and driven the remainder of the enemy's force off, and retaken the place. As it was, I was forced, on account of the smallness of my force, to content myself with repulsing the enemy and protecting the public property. Leading a party to bury the dead and take off the wounded, I, after posting a heavy picket on the battle-field, withdrew in good order, and marched to Waldron, Scott County, arriving there on the 2nd of September.

After reaching that place, resting my command, and hearing nothing from General Steele, knowing nothing of any re-enforcements that were coming and also hearing that the enemy were investing Little Rock with a heavy force, I concluded that I could do nothing more than look to the protection of the public property under my charge, and take the most direct route on which supplies could be had, and join General Steele as soon as possible with all the men I could.

After reaching Waldron, and remaining one day for the stragglers to come in, I could not raise more than 900 men, and from that number deserters were continually leaving. I therefore moved from Waldron, taking the Caddo Gap road to Centre Point, in Sevier County, intending to go from there to Doaksville, in the Choctaw Nation, and thence join General Steele at Boggy depot, where I supposed I would meet him. I had previously sent stores to Lewis' old store, on the Fort Towson road, intending to take that road and then to cross over to Riddle's Station; but I found, as I have already stated, that I was compelled to take roads that would keep my men from deserting,and not to take roads that I knew I should take to carry to out my instructions, and would have been proper under the circumstances. Nothing could prevent the men from deserting; the officers had no control over them, and both officers and men were impressed with the idea that the proper way to defend the country was for each man to go home and defend his own home. When the general commanding will consider the kind of troops I had, the kind of men which composed my command, men a larger part of whom were either deserters from other regiments or conscripts and jayhawkers forced into the service, he will see at once the difficulties I labored under, and how unreliable troops composed of such men are, and how worthless as troops to defend a country they are.

By comparing my military operations in Northwestern Arkansas (with this bad material) with that performed by other commanders in the District of Arkansas, I feel confident that it will be found that I have done as much toward the defense of the country as any other commander.

After reaching Centre Point, while en route to General Steele, on the 10th, I received an order from General Price, commanding District of Arkansas, to move as rapidly as possible with my whole command to Little Rock. I obeyed this order, and met the army falling back from Little Rock at Arkadelphia.

I must mention the gallantry of Captain [W. M.] Hughey, commanding the battery, and his two lieutenants, [W. A.] Miller and Henley, as wells as all his men. Captain Hughey and Lieutenant Miller particularly distinguished themselves with their old iron battery. Monroe's regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel [J. M.] O'Neil and Major [A. V.] Reiff (Colonel Monroe being sick), Captain [W. T.] Barry, with his company