Friday, February 12, 2010

Battle Of Cane Hill Arkansas.

After reading this report you will find a listing of all the Kansas men that I could find that were either killed or wounded in this battle.

Cane Hill, Ark., December 3, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, on November 26, while encamped at Lindsey's Prairie, 15 miles south of Maysville, I received reliable information that General Marmaduke, with a force estimated at 8,000 men, was at Cane Hill. I further learned that Marmaduke's command was the advance of Hindman's army, the remainder of which was expected to arrive at Cane Hill on the evening of the 28th. I immediately determined to attack Marmaduke, and, if possible, defeat him before the arrival of General Hindman with re-enforcements.

Early on the morning of the 27th, I ordered all of my transportation and commissary trains parked on Lindsey's Prairie, and, after detailing a sufficient guard for its protection, I commenced my march, with about 5,000 men and thirty pieces of artillery, the men taking with them four days' rations of hard bread and salt. The distance to be traveled to reach the enemy was 35 miles, of which 25 were made by 7 p. m. on the 27th, when the command bivouacked for the night. From that point I sent spies into the enemy's camp, and learned that their pickets were strongly posted on the main road (on which I was advancing), and that it could be easily defended.

I marched at 5 a. m. on the 28th, leaving that road and making a detour to the left, by a blind track; struck one that was obscure and unfrequented, and entered Cane Hill directly from the north. As I had anticipated, they had no pickets on this road, and I met no resistance until within half a mile of their camp. the enemy had learned, however, the night previous, that I was moving upon them, and were prepared for our reception. About 200 of the Second Kansas Cavalry, under Colonel [W. F.] Cloud, with two mountain howitzers, under Lieutenant [E. S.] Stover, were in the advance, which, with [J. W.] Rabb's battery and my staff and body guard, constituted the only force upon the ground, the main column having been delayed in ascending a mountain about 7 miles back to the rear. Of this fact I was not apprised until my advance was engaged.

In passing down a gorge between two abrupt hills, their grand guard was encountered in considerable force. Dashing on, and driving them before us, a few hundred yards brought us to where the bluff on the right terminated, and in full view of the enemy, who were posted on the right of the road, on elevated ground, with timber in their rear, their guns in battery, bearing upon the road on which I was approaching, and from which they immediately opened a brisk fire. I at once ordered Rabb's battery into position, and also the two howitzers under Lieutenant [E. S.] Stover, when a fierce cannonading ensued, which lasted for the space of nearly an hour. My column not being up, I could do nothing more than engage in this artillery duel until it arrived, and the enemy, thinking, no doubt, that I had a large force on hand, did not venture from under the cover of their guns. Reconnoitering upon their left, I discovered an approach by which a force could be brought on their left flank and do them great damage, and, perhaps, capture their artillery.

I ordered Major [V. P.] Van Antwerp, of my staff, back to meet the Eleventh Kansas and Hopkins' battery, who were in the advance of the column, to bring them up on the double-quick, and send the battery, with six companies of the Eleventh, to follow me, with the object above named, and to take the other four companies to the support of Rabb's battery; but they were too far in the rear and to men too much fatigued by the march to reach me in time. Major Van Antwerp took the four companies down the road to Rabb's battery, the fire from which, as afterward appeared (although laboring under great disadvantage from the nature of the ground), had been very destructive on the enemy, compelling them to abandon their position and seek another, on a high ridge three-fourths of a mile farther south, where their reserve had been posted.

To this point access was very difficult, as rugged ravines intervened, and it could only be approached by the road. Taking a position on high ground, facing them from the north, I opened upon them a destructive fire with my artillery, dismounting one of their guns and compelling them again to retire. For the third time they made a stand in the town, or, rather, on the south side of it, upon a commanding eminence running east and west, and a most admirable position for defense. Having now concentrated their entire force and selected this strong position, I felt assured that they had resolved on a desperate resistance, and made my arrangements accordingly; but, after getting my force across a deep and rugged ravine, and deploying them in position, ready to advance upon their long and well-formed line, I discovered, much to my disappointment, that they had again retired, and were in full retreat to the mountains, Tenney's battery coming upon the ground they had abandoned just in time to send a few shells into the rear of their retreating column, as they escaped under cover of the woods. As the men and horses of the enemy were fresh, and mine were worn down and exhausted by hard marching, it was difficult to follow them in their flight; yet the men, eager for the fray, strained every nerve.

For nearly 3 miles from the town, in the direction of Van Buren, the road runs through a valley, in which there are a few farms, alternating with low hills and ravines, covered with thick woods and brush. Over this road a running fight, with small-arms, took place, without much damage occurring to either party. Reaching a large mound at the base of the first mountain (the commencement of the Boston Mountains proper), the enemy placed his artillery upon it, in a position covering the road.

From this position he sought to prevent my force from proceeding up the valley and approaching the mountain. Directing two howitzers, under Lieutenant Opdyke, to the right, upon a by-road, they quickly obtained a good position on the enemy's flank, while Rabb's battery opened upon them in front. They were soon forced to abandon the high mound and seek the side and top of the mountain, where they made a determinate resistance. Their artillery was posted on the crest of the mountain, while their mounted riflemen were dismounted, and their whole force massed upon the sides and top of the mountain, which was covered with scattered timber and but little underbrush. The nature of the ground was such that I could not use my artillery to any advantage, and the mountain could be taken in no other way except be storm. I accordingly ordered up the Second Kansas and dismounted them.
They charged up the steep acclivity in the advance, under the command of Capts. S. J. Crawford and A. P. Russell, Major [J. G.] Fisk having been wounded by a piece of shell early in the day. Next followed the Third Indian Regiment (Cherokee), under the command of Colonel [W. A.] Phillips, and its other field officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Downing and Major [J. A.] Foreman, voluntarily assisted by Major Van Antwerp, of my staff, and the Eleventh Kansas, under the command of its field officers, Colonel [Thomas[] Ewing, [jr.,] Lieutenant-Colonel [Thomas] Moonlight, and Major [P. B.] Plumb. The resistance of the rebels was stubborn and determined. The storm of lead and iron hail that came down the side of the mountain, both from their small-arms and artillery, was terrific; yet most of it went over our heads without doing us much damage.

The regiments just named, with a wild shout rushed up the steep acclivity, contesting every inch of ground, and steadily pushing the enemy before them, until the crest was reached, when the rebels again fled in disorder. Four howitzers and Rabb's battery were now brought up the mountain and the pursuit renewed; the Third Indian and Eleventh Kansas Regiment, on the right and left of the road, advancing in line through the woods, while the four howitzers occupied the road in front, with the Second and Sixth Kansas and Rabb's battery in their rear. About every half mile the enemy made a stand, when the four howitzers and the Eleventh Kansas and Third Indian would as often put them to flight, leaving more or less of their dead and wounded behind them. thus the fight continued for some 3 miles, until, on descending partially from the mountain into a valley, the Cove Creek road, leading from Fayetteville to Van Buren, was reached, at the point where it intersects the road from Cane Hill to the last-named place.

At this point the enemy again brought his artillery into requisition. It was now near sundown, and darkness must soon put an end to the pursuit. Down the valley, in front of us, the ground appeared adapted to the use of cavalry to good advantage, and I determined to make an effort to capture their artillery, of which they had six pieces. A large force of their best cavalry was acting as rear guard, with a portion of their artillery just in front of them. Waiting for my cavalry to come up, I called for volunteers to make a charge. Three companies of the Sixth Kansas, nearest at hand, responded promptly to the call, and, under command of their three field officers, Colonel [W. R.] Judson, Lieutenant-Colonel [L. R.] Jewell, and Major [W. T.] Campbell, dashed on to the rear of the rebel column, cutting and shooting them down with sabers, carbines, and revolvers. At this point a large body of the enemy were in ambush in front and upon the flanks, where cavalry could not approach, with their battery also masked in front.

As soon as the party we were destructive fire, which, for the moment, caused my men to recoil and give back, in spite of my own efforts and those of other officers to rally them; whereas, if they had, after receiving the enemy's fire, passed on 200 or 300 yards, we could have secured, in a moment more, what we so much coveted - the enemy's artillery. Emboldened by their success in defending the defile and checking our advance, they raised a wild yell and advanced toward us. With the aid of Colonel Judson, Major Campbell, and Captains [H. S.] Greeno and [D.] Mefford, I succeeded in rallying the three companies of the Sixth Kansas, who had suffered severely in the charge, and formed them across the valley, and the four howitzers, coming up at the same time and opening on the enemy with shell, soon forced them to retire. yet they seemed determined to dispute the passage of the defile to which I have referred - a position admirably adapted for defense, and beyond which, as I afterward learned, there was a wide, open valley; hence their obstinate resistance at this point, in order to save their guns. I resolved, however, at all hazards to force my way through this gorge, and, as darkness was approaching and I had no time to get up infantry and send them out upon the flanks, I prepared to make an assault in front.

Loading the four howitzers and one section of Rabb's battery with double canister, I ordered them up by hand, in battery, with the three companies of the Sixth Kansas with Sharps' carbines advancing in line in rear. I had directed that not a gun should be fire until I gave the word. When within about 400 yards of the enemy, who were defending the gorge, and as I was about to give the word to fire, an officer from General Marmaduke came galloping up with a white flag. On sending an officer to receive it, they requested the privilege of taking off their dead and wounded. Consideration for the fate of Lieutenant-Colonel Jewell, and others who had fallen upon the ground they then occupied, and whom I feared they might brutally murder, induced me to respect their flag of truce, convinced though I was at the time that it was a cowardly trick, resorted to enable, them to make good their retreat and save their guns. It being now dark, and my men entirely exhausted and without food, I considered further pursuit useless, and returned with my command to Cane hill.

The casualties in my command were 4 killed and 36 wounded; 4 of them mortally, since dead. Among the latter was Lieutenant-Colonel Jewell, of the Sixth Kansas. He was a brave and gallant officer, whose noble example is worthy of emulation. Lieutenant J. A. Johnson, of the same regiment, a daring and excellent young officer, received a desperate would from a musket-ball, which passed entirely through his body; yet it is hoped he will recover. The enemy's loss is 75 killed; wounded not known, as they took a large portion of them away.

The officers and men of my command who took part in the engagement behaved, without exception, nobly.

To the following members of my staff, Major V. P. Van Antwerp, inspector-general; Captain Lyman Scott, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant J. Fin. Hill, aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant D. Whitaker, acting aide-de-camp, I am indebted for efficient and valuable services during the day.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Division, Army of the Frontier.

Second Cavalry.

1. Joseph Mentor, private, Co. D., was from Mt. Pleasant, enlisted Dec. 13, 1861, mustered in the same day, he was not in the battle of Nov. 28, 1862, but was killed Aug. 12, 1864, at Cane Hill.

2. Cyrenius M. Adams, private, Co. K., was from Emporia, enlisted June 17, 1862.

Sixth Cavalry.

1. Lewis R Jewell, Lieutenant Colonel, was from Fort Scott, enlisted July 27, 1861.

2. Eugene Steohr, private, Co. A., enlisted in March 1, 1862.

3. Andrew Stillwagon, private, Co. A., from Parkville, Mo., enlisted Feb. 1, 1862.

4. George H. Richie, First Sergeant, Co. K., from Osage, enlisted Oct. 3, 1861. Died December 1, 1862, Cane Hill, Ark., of w'ds received in action November 28, 1862.

Eleventh Cavalry.

1. Jacob Evans, private, Co. H., was from Topeka, enlisted Aug. 26, 1862, mustered in Sept. 15, 1862, was not killed on Nov. 28, 1862, but was killed later at Cane Hill, Died, Jan 11, 1863, Fayetteville, Ark., of wounds rec'd in skirmish Dec. 6, '62, near Cane Hill, Ark.

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