MARMADUKE'S EXPEDITION INTO MISSOURI.
Reports of Colonel Edwin Smart, Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry, of skirmish at Patterson.
Page 263 Chapter XXXIV.
April 21, 1863.
GENERAL: I could not communicate with you yesterday; the line was cut as soon as the engagement began, which was 6 miles from my post. I had a scout out on Black River, who found the enemy early yesterday morning, but they succeeded in cutting them off so that they could not communicate with me. The number of the enemy was between 1,500 and 3,000. I think they had six pieces of artillery. I could not ascertain who command the enemy. The attack began about 12 o'clock on Reeves' Station road, with a scout I had sent our in that direction. I then sent Major [Richard G.] Woodson on to re-enforce with a battalion, who held them in check, and skirmished them into town. This gave me time to load my train, and have it ready to move if I had to retreat. Before I left the town I destroyed what stores I could not bring away. Nothing fell into the hands of the enemy. The fight continued to Big Creek, about 8 miles this side of Patterson. The engagement was severe in the extreme. After fighting hand to hand at Big Creek, they had got in my front and attempted to cut off my retreat, but I forced my way and formed on this side the creek. But the enemy did not renew. My loss in killed, wounded, and missing in the action was about 50. I had scouts on the Van Buren, Greenwood Valley, and Bush Creek roads; also on the Reeves' Station road, which I hear from. I will send you an official report as soon as I can learn all the details. Major [Henry L.] McConnel* was wounded and fell into the hands of the enemy. I think his wound was mortal. My regiment fell back in good order, and are now together, except the scouts above mentioned.
I had about 400 men in the engagement.
Colonel, Commanding Post.
Brigadier General J. W. DAVIDSON.
HDQRS. THIRD MISSOURI STATE MILITIA CAVALRY,
May 9, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of an engagement near Patterson, Mo., on the 20th day of April, 1863, between
· Major McConnel resigned July 3, 1863.
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a portion of my regiment and the Confederate forces, under the command of Marmaduke. Having information from my spies and scouts that a large rebel force was moving into Missouri from Batesville, Ark., I kept my front as well picketed as my limited force would permit keeping scouting parties on Black River, at or near all the available fords on that stream, which was some 20 miles to the front of my post. The rebel force approached in three columns from the Doniphan, Van Buren, and Pitman's Ferry roads commanded, respectively, by Shelby, Greene, and Burbridge. They thus succeeded in capturing or cutting off my scouting parties, and preventing their communicating will me. Their immediate approach was not known until within 6 miles of Patterson, where they met and commenced an engagement with a scouting party, 20 in number, under the command of Captain Hunter. This party, making a strong resistance to their approach, compelled the enemy to commence a brisk cannonade.
I immediately ordered Major [Richard G.] Woodson to move out two companies (B and G) and meet the enemy; ascertain, as near as possible, their position and strength; skirmish them into town, detaining them as much as he could, in order to give for preparations for defense, and, if necessary, to fall back. Major Woodson held his position, some 2 miles from town, until he discovered the enemy were about to outflank him, when he commenced falling back.
From his messenger I was able to learn that the enemy outnumbered my force at least seven to one, with five pieces of artillery; and knowing that it would be impossible to hold my position against such superior numbers, I determined to fall back, some 7 miles, to a point on the Pilot Knob road, known as Stony Battery, on Big Creek. All the wagons at the post were loaded with company property, quartermaster's, commissary, and hospital stores, and the remainder that could not be brought away was burned. I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Morsey to move on with the train to this point, and prevent the rebels obtaining possession of it if he endeavored to cut off my retreat. Major McConnel commanded the rear, and covered to cut off my retreat with Companies E and I, commanded, respectively, by Captain [George L.] Hewing and Lieutenant [James W.] Bradley. The major remained until the rebels came into town, when he moved off, followed by two regiments of Texas cavalry and two pieces of artillery, who soon came up, when the engagement began.
My men fought nobly, under the command of Captain Hewing, Lieutenant Bradley, [Warren C.] Shattuck, [Henry] Sladek, and [James A.] Blain, contesting their advance against overwhelming numbers. Arriving in the battery, I formed a line of battle to hold the enemy in check until the rear battalion, which had already suffered severely, could pass to the front. Soon after, hearing that Colonel Morsey was engaged in front with a force endeavoring to prevent his crossing the bridge, I pushed forward with Major Matthews' battalion to re-enforce; but the rebels, some 300 or 400 in number, made but little resistance to my force, and soon gave way and retired over the hill to my left. I then moved all my force across the creek, and formed, where I remained until near dark. The enemy did not again appear, but soon fell back to Patterson. All my command behaved well, and retired, when necessary, in good order.
Nothing fell into the hands of the enemy except the contends of three of four wagons, that broke down and were abandoned on the road.
The rebel force numbered 3,000 with five pieces of artillery. My force was about 400, with no artillery
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The rebel loss in killed, as near as I can ascertain, was 28, besides a number of wounded.
I inclose herewith a correct list* of killed, wounded, and captured of my command.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Third Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
Brigadier General J. W. DAVIDSON,
Commanding Saint Louis District.