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Official Records



Colonel George W. Carter
Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, commanding brigade.


Page 299 Chapter XXXIV

Numbers 18. Reports of Colonel George W. Carter, Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, commanding brigade.


April 22, 1863-8 a. m.

MAJOR: I am now, with my brigade and Preston's detachment and Reves' company, on the road between Greenville and Bloomfield, 8 miles from the Mingo Swamp and 30 miles from Bloomfield. The Saint Francis was flooded, the boats gone, and great difficulty was found in

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crossing the trains. Greene's brigade could not get farther than Greenville, owing to the river, and was ordered to cross early this morning. I have ordered up his cavalry and artillery, with all possible speed, to this point. Have sent back to him 32 of my best mules, to enable him to make dispatch. The enemy have a picket of 200 at Mingo Ford, and Mingo is swimming and the boats gone. I am pressing teams, and shall find some difficulty in crossing the stream. I propose to leave the train well guarded at a point on this side, leaving also my unarmed men, and then, pushing on to the point directed in your orders, taking all, except the guard, with me. I believe I can capture the pickets and surprise the enemy by crossing a few miles above. The animals have suffered greatly by the forced marches and lack of forage. I have found forage at this point. If the train is left, it will be directed to move to a point and by a route of little danger to rejoin me. I do not propose to leave my ammunition. I am hopeful that my column will give a good account of itself. I will report to you again to-morrow. A dispatch will find me between Bloomfield and Mingo Swamp.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel, Commanding.

Assistant Adjutant-General.


In the Field, Arkansas, May 5, 1863.

MAJOR: By Special Orders, Numbers - I was assigned command of the second column, Marmaduke's division, composed of Carter's and Greene's brigades, with instructions to move with all dispatch via Doniphan to Patterson, so as to make a junction with the first column, under Colonel [Joseph O.] Shelby at Doniphan, moving toward Patterson on the morning of April 18, on the State road to Ironton.

I arrived with the column in 30 miles of Patterson on the 19th. a detachment, consisting of the Twenty-first Texas Cavalry, one section Pratt's battery, and Captain [Timothy] Reves' Partisan company, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [D. C.] Giddings, made a forced march to Patterson, starting at 11 o'clock on the night of the 19th, moving by the lower road, and the rest of the column, under Colonel [Colton] Greene and Lieutenant-Colonel [Benjamin W.] Watson, moved at daybreak by the upper road toward the same point.

The detachment under Colonel Giddings surprised and captured the enemy's picket, 12 miles from Patterson, on the morning of the 20th; picket consisted of 1 commissioned officer, 2 sergeants, and 22 privates. Colonel Giddings then proceeded, reaching Patterson at 1 o'clock, meeting the enemy (supposed to be between 800 and 1,000 strong) 3 miles south of Patterson, routing them and driving them toward Ironton. The larger portion of the public property in the hands of the enemy was burned by them before retreating; nevertheless, a large amount of quartermaster's and commissary stores were secured and turned over.

In the several engagements, Lieutenant P. W. Connell, Company F, Twenty-first Texas, was severely wounded in the shoulder; 3 privates slightly wounded; none killed or missing. The loss of the enemy, from the best information at hand, was 100 killed, 19 wounded, and 38 prisoners, including 1 major, 1 captain, and 2 lieutenants.

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On the morning of the 21st, I received orders to proceed with my column and attack the enemy in the vicinity of Bloomfield. High water in the Saint Francis and Mingo retarded my march, so that I did not reach Bloomfield with the command until the evening of the 23rd.

In the meanwhile Lieutenant-Colonel [W. J.] Preston, of Burbridge's command, moved on Bloomfield, capturing a considerable amount of commissary stores and corn.

The enemy under General [John] McNeil, had left Bloomfield and gone toward Jackson on the evening of the 21st, leaving a strong picket with block-house fortification at White Bridge, on the Cape Girardeau road.
At 12 o'clock on the night of the 23rd, the column was moved toward Cape Girardeau. I moved, with my escort, 10 miles in advance of the column, intending to surprise the picket, distant some 35 miles from Bloomfield. When within 3 miles of the brigade, a detachment, consisting of Reves' company (under Lieutenant [B. A.] Johnson) and Texas brigade (under Captain [John S.] Carrington, assistant adjutant-general of Carter's brigade), was ordered to proceed by William's Ferry to intercept the retreat of the enemy and attack them in the rear. The enemy's forces consisted of Company G. (Captain [S. V.] Shipman), First Wisconsin Cavalry. They fought bravely; were 57 strong. Of this number wounded and captured was Captain Shipman. We captured also the train, tents, and 25 horses. My loss was 4 wounded, including Lieutenant [H. C.] Sloan, of Reves' company.

The column reached White Water Bridge at 4 o'clock. Mcneil, was reported at Jackson, 10 miles from Cape Girardeau. Hoping to cut off his return from Jackson and force an engagement, Colonel Greene was ordered to move his brigade on the morning of the 24th, at 3 o'clock, toward Cape Girardeau. From some cause the order was not promptly obeyed, and my column did not reach the point contemplated until 4 o'clock on the 25th.
In the mean time the enemy had retreated from Jackson and taken refuge behind him fortifications at Cape Girardeau.

On the morning of the 26th, the first column, under, Colonel Shelby, formed a junction me near Cape Girardeau and attack the fortification, when I was ordered to take position on his rear as support and to prevent a flank movement by the enemy. My command was not brought into action during the day, except for a few moments when a section of Pratt's battery engaged the Federal skirmishes. At 4 o'clock, by order of the general commanding, I was relieved of the command of the column and assumed command of my brigade, moving toward Jackson.

The marching, in view of the difficulty of forage and subsistence and the condition of the roads and teams, was creditable. The officers and men bore their privations with honorable cheerfulness.

I would here particularly commend Sergeant [Henry M.] Leary, of Captain [John B] Williams' company, Nineteenth texas Cavalry, for his gallantry at White Water Bridge.

Colonel, Commanding Second Column,

Marmaduke's Division.

Assistant Adjutant-General.

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In the Field, May 5, 1863.

MAJOR: By orders from division headquarters of 27th ultimo, my brigade constituted the rear, the division moving from Jackson to Bloomfield. I took up the line of march in rear or the column of the morning of April 27, throwing out skirmishers in rear and flankers on the right and left. At different points in the day, the Nineteenth Texas, Twenty-first Texas, and Morgan's squadron, in conjunction with a section of Pratt's battery, were successively placed in the rear of my command. The enemy made his appearance on the Fredericktown road about 8 a. m.,; commenced shelling my rear regiment a few moments after the command had been given to move. The shelling was kept up at intervals until 4 o'clock without any loss to us. I did not deem it expedient to return their artillery fire.

About 4 p. m. their advance engaged my rear skirmishers within 3 miles of White Water Brigade. Soon an entire Federal regiment was brought into action. They were at different point near brigade successively charged by the Twenty-first, Nineteenth, and Morgan's squadron, with heavy loss.
My loss, 1 killed and 1 wounded in the Nineteenth Texas, 1 slightly wounded in the Twenty-first, and 1 killed in Morgan's squadron. I am not able to report the number of enemy killed. We captured 18 prisoners, including 1 captain.
Both men and officers acted with great coolness and courage.

At 5 o'clock, I crossed successfully over White Water Brigade, destroying the bridge and encamping my command 8 miles beyond.

On the 28th, I moved my command into camp within 3 miles of Bloomfield.

On the 29th, I placed by Brigade in line of battle on the heights near Bloomfield, and remained there until the 30th,when I moved toward Chalk Bluff.

On may 2, my brigade again constituted the rear guard, throwing out skirmishers and flankers. At 10 a. m. I was informed that a cavalry brigade of the enemy were approaching,when I placed one section of Pratt's battery in position masked, directing my skirmishers to draw the enemy on. When within 400 yards, the artillery opened a very destructive fire with grape, driving them back in confusion. A charge was ten made by two of their cavalry regiments, which was received by the First Squadron, Nineteenth Texas, under Captain [John B.] Williams, in the most gallant style. The enemy were charged in turn by Company K, Twenty-first, Captain [Martin M.] Kenney, with detachment from Nineteenth and Morgan, driving them with great confusion and heavy loss. My rear guard, under Major [C. L.] Morgan, made two other successful charges during the day.
My loss, 1 killed in Morgan's squadron; Nineteenth, 1 killed 10 wounded, 8 missing. We captured a number of prisoners, including 1 captain. The enemy's dead strewed the road for half a mile. The officer landing the enemy estimate must make their killed during the day 150. I speak confidently on this subject, because this fighting took place under my own eye, within a few feet of the position I held.

At 5 o'clock, by the order of the commanding general, I took position in rear of the line of battle selected subsequently; a squadron was held in reserve in the rear of the center, while the Twenty-first was sent as reserve on the extreme left, and the Nineteenth to the extreme right Pratt's battery being withdrawn across the river. I them assumed command of the extreme left wing. The enemy opened on our lines spiritedly

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with shot and shell, but made no demonstrations with small-arms. Between midnight and daybreak my command was quietly withdrawn across the Saint Francis.
It is difficult to specify individual instances of merit when all have been so prompt. I will, however, say that all my staff have been faithful and efficient, and that Lieutenant-Colonels [B. W.] Watson and [D. C.] Giddings, Major Morgan, and Captain [J. H.] Piatt are deserving of special notice for gallantry an energy.

I am, major, very respectfully,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Assistant Adjutant-General, Marmaduke's Division.

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