MARMADUKE'S EXPEDITION INTO MISSOURI.
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Report of Major Joseph W. Caldwell, First Iowa Cavalry, Glover's brigade, of skirmish at Chalk Bluff.
May 15, 1863.
MAJOR: My attention has been called to an article in the Missouri Democrat of the -instant,in which the correspondent does great injustice to General Vandever and to the First Iowa Cavalry.
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It is true, as stated, that General Vandever gave General McNeil two brigades. The first consisted, mainly, of the First Iowa Cavalry, 500 men, well armed and mounted, and not inferior to any equal number of men in the service in skill and bravery, and the Third Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, about 400 men, I think, not quite so well armed as the First Iowa, but, in other respects, as good soldiers. These last were commanded by Colonel [John M.] Glover, who, being the senior officer of the brigade, was placed in command of it. There were some other commands in the brigade, but the regimental designated were the only ones engaged during the fight on May 1 until 2 or 3 p. m., with the exception of the artillery, which did good service. The First Iowa Cavalry was placed in advance.
On the evening of Thursday, 30th of April, when about 8 miles south of Bloomfield, being then in the night, we were halted, the remained until 2 a. m. Two squadrons of the First Iowa, under the command of Lieutenant [Thomas H.] Barnes and [David C.] McIntyre, both deserving the highest praise for their skill and bravery, were placed in the advance, and the column marched on. Between 3 and 4 a. m. the advance was fired on by the rear guard of Marmaduke. I sent word back to General McNeil, and received orders to halt the column until day-light.
At day-light the column moved on, until sunrise, when the advance received the fire of Marmaduke's artillery and small-arms. The regiment dismounted, deployed as skirmishers, and drove the enemy before them. In the mean time the battery came up and shelled them, while retreating.
After the First Iowa had proceed about 3 miles, at was relieved by the Third Missouri, who dismounted and drove the enemy in a similar manner, for about the same distance, during which the First Iowa was rallied, mounted, and led under full speed to relieve them again. Thus the two regiments until 2 or 3 p. m.
On two or three occasions, when Colonel Glover was present with the First Iowa, he asserted that he intended to charge the scoundrels and take their artillery, and that he would do it with the Third Missouri, his own regiment, as they had good sabers, and he wanted them to have an opportunity of trying them. From the pertinacity with which he insisted that his regiment should make the charge, when it was no better armed than the First Iowa in any respect the belief that he desired his command should monopolize the glory of the charge and the capture of the battery, and this belief was strengthened when I learned that the charge had been made at a time when, and a place where, it was utterly impossible for the First Iowa to reach the conflict in time to participate as supporters. The First Iowa had been deployed as skirmishers, with a line extending a half mile on either side of the road, with their horses some distance in the rear, and the enemy retreating under full seed to a favorable point for further resistance, entirely out of sight, when Colonel Glover's command charged by the line of skirmishers. The rally was at once sounded, the men drawn in from both sides of the road with all possible speed, mounted, and led on to the scene of the charge; but before they could possibly arrive (and they traveled as expeditiously as any troops could have done) the conflict was over, and the rebels again retreating at full speed.
There was no order whatever given, save there was a general conversational direction to push forward, and, when the charge should be made, to be ready to render any necessary support; but at the time the charge was made there was nothing from Colonel Glover to me indicating
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that he intended making the charge at that particular time. He had charged by us in the same manner before.
These facts are well known by Captain Thompson, who was aiding me in command of the regiment, Adjutant Donnell, and other officers of the regiment.
Will you be kind enough to set this matter right?
J. W. CALDWELL,
Major, Commanding Detachment First Iowa Cavalry.
LUCIEN J. BARNES,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.