Numbers 13. Report of Major John P. Bull, Fifth Arkansas Cavalry, commanding Newton's brigade.
NEAR CAMDEN, October 31, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken in the late attack upon Pine Bluff by the brigade (composed of Newton's regiment, [A. S.] Dobbin's regiment, and Denson's squadron) commanded by myself:
When the division commanded by Colonel [Robert C.] Newton arrived within about one-half mile of town, I was ordered to send forward the regiment commanded by Captain [W. B.] Anderson and one company from Newton's regiment, to operate as cavalry. I did so, and for the part taken in the action by this portion of my command I refer you to the report of Captain Anderson, as they were entirely detached from me during the day. I then received orders to dismount the rest of my command and move them rapidly to the front, which order was promptly obeyed. I formed my men in the edge of the woods, and remained in line for about thirty minutes, when I was ordered forward to support Captain [J. H.] Pratt's battery, which was firing upon the court-house. In the course of one-half hour I received an order from Captain [William M.] Price, aide-de-camp of General Marmaduke's staff, that the enemy had left the court-house and were attempting to cross the river; to move forward to the river bank and intercept them. I ordered a charge, and moved forward at a double-quick. In crossing Main street the enemy opened on me with grape, and their sharpshooters poured a perfect shower of bullets into my ranks. I attained the river bank with the loss of but 1 man slightly wounded, of Captain [W. B.] Denson's squadron, for a report of which I refer you to Captain Denson's report. I remained in this position for about forty minutes, and the enemy keeping up a severe fire, I concluded I had better move my position to where my men would be protected from the enemy's fire, sending a courier to inform Colonel Newton of my position. I retired to a corn-field some 200 yards to the rear, forming my men and sending forward 40 sharpshooters to occupy my position on the river bank. About 1 o'clock Colonel Newton ordered me to retire my brigade, and mount them, and act as the rear guard of the division.
To the officers and men under my command I return my thanks for the prompt and energetic manner in which they obeyed every order given them. Their conduct was gallant in the extreme, and although not warmly engaged at any time, showed a willingness and desire to be led into action I have scarcely seen equaled. Captain Denson, of the squadron, deserves my warmest thanks for assistance rendered upon the field, as also Lieutenant [G. D.] Worley, of Company D, of my regiment, who was acting as my aide-de-camp. Should I particularize every instance of merit, hardly a man of my command but would received some mention. It is impossible to do so, and I therefore mention a few who came particularly under my notice.
I am sorry to relate, under the head of casualties, the death of John Smith, my orderly, who was shot about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. He deserted some time since from the enemy and joined my regiment. Upon the 25th instant he won the esteem and respect of the whole brigade,
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