HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., November 11, 1864.
The above paper having been forwarded to me by Major General C. C. Washburn for my action, I state that at the time of the shooting of Ben. A. Berry, a prisoner of war, the fact was reported to me a few minutes after it occurred, and I caused an immediate investigation to be made. The facts were, that three prisoners of war, of whom Berry was one, were delivered to the provost marshal on the 4th of October last, and were sent by him to the military prison in charge of the privates of the guard. As they were on their way two of the prisoners were allowed to stop at a store to purchase some necessary articles. Berry passed on in charge of one only of the guard, Private Allen Robertson, Company F, Thirty-third Missouri Volunteers. The time was about sunset. When within about 200 yards of the prison, on the corduroy road, which is elevated about four feet above the land adjoining, Berry started to run. The guard instantly leveled his gun and shot him. At the instant he was turning round, and seeing the gun pointed at him, exclaimed, "For God's sake don't shoot me." The fire and exclamation were about simultaneous. The guard is a good soldier, only nineteen years old. Had he not shot the prisoner would have escaped. No altercation occurred. Captain Edwin Bancroft, Battery E, Second U. S. Colored Artillery, was on the spot in one minute after it occurred. Berry was running so fast that his hat fell off twenty feet from the place where his body lay. Berry had escaped twice before, but not as related in this letter. I append below the certificates of two of the citizens referred to. The other two are prisoners of war; they did not witness the affair.
N. B. BUFORD,
HELENA, ARK., November 11, 1864.
We certify that we have given no one the information upon which Thomas Berry could base the statements contained in his letter above in reference to the death of his brother, neither have we any evidence that the statements are true.
JOHN C. O. SMITH.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, November 12, 1864.
Major General E. R. S. CANBY,
Commanding Military Division of West Mississippi:
GENERAL: Since my dispatch of the 31st ultimo Price's forces were pursued through Prairie Grove and Cane Hill into the Indian Nation by General Curtis' command. Our cavalry [he] had with him - Winslow's; the remainder that could travel went as far as Cassville, sent to communicate with General Curtis and Fort Smith. Finding the rebels going rapidly across the Arkansas, followed by Curtis' troops, they advanced no farther than Cassville. General Curtis telegraphed me last evening, under date of the 8th, that Price crossed the Arkansas, his rear under fire of our guns, leaving one cannon, some small-arms,