MARMADUKE'S EXPEDITION INTO MISSOURI.
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Report of Colonel Oscar H. La Grange, First Wisconsin Cavalry, commanding brigade, of skirmish at Chalk Bluff, Mo.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
May 9, 1863.
GENERAL: In compliance with orders, the following reports is respectfully submitted:
At 4 p. m., the Second Brigade was ordered to advance, and, if possible, engage the enemy north of the Saint Francis. After marching 6 miles, Lieutenant [Thomas] Bateman, Company L, First Wisconsin Cavalry, charged and drove the enemy's pickets within 3 miles of the river, and the Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry, [Lieutenant] -Colonel [John F.] Benjamin, dismounted and deployed as skirmishers, driving the front line of the enemy rapidly up the hill. General McNeil, Captain [Charles P.] Meisner, chief of artillery, and the colonel commanding were with our line of skirmishers, selecting a position for our artillery, when the enemy opened with grape and canister from a masked battery planted within 150 yards. Captain Meisner was severely wounded in the foot; but, owing to the wretched gunnery of the enemy and the peculiarities of the ground, no other injury was sustained. Lieutenant Bateman also received two heavy volleys of muskets at very short range without injury to a single man. At this time, Adjutant [Edward D.] Town, First Wisconsin Cavalry, displayed coolness worthy of a veteran. Our artillery, which had been ordered to advance, was thrown into confusion, but by his order fell back to a suitable position, and was well supported by the Third Iowa Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel [Henry C.] Caldwell.
By order of the general commanding, the recall was sounded for our skirmishers, and had to be twice repeated before it was reluctantly obeyed. The cavalry was now formed for the support of the artillery, and welcomed by the cheers of all the troops. The gallant First Nebraska came to the front. Before dark their advance occupied the ground where Captain Meisner was wounded. During the night they discovered the enemy's picket posts, and early on the morning of the 2nd, in connection with the First Iowa Cavalry, formed the advance of the movement that drove the remnant of the enemy across the Saint Francis, and even away from the shelter of its right bank. When it is remembered that the regiment had marched 90 miles in three days, we are at a loss whether to admire most its bravery in battle or its power of endurance.
Welfley's battery, which was admirably handled during this engagement, as usual, made terrible havoc among the rebels.
· See revised statement, p. 253.
Page 266 Chapter XXXIV.
By order of the general commanding, the brigade marched for Cape Girardeau on the morning of the 3rd, and, notwithstanding the wretched state of the roads, arrived in good condition at noon on the 7th.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
O. H. LA GRANGE,
Colonel First Wisconsin Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.
General JOHN McNEIL,
Commanding U. S. Forces, Cape Girardeau, Mo.