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Doc. 195.-fight at Merrill's crossing, Mo.

Official report of General Brown.

Headquarters in the field, Marshall, Mo., October 13, 1863.
General: I have the honor to report that, after following the enemy through Cole Camp, Syracuse, and Boonville, skirmishing with his rear all the distance, he was forced to make a stand at Merrill's Crossing of Salt Fork, a point eight miles south-west of Arrow Rock, and about the same distance from Marshall, and commenced a skirmishing fight at six o'clock on the evening of the twelfth, in the midst of a cold, driving rain. We fought him as long as we could see, and lay down on our arms in the rain during the night.

At three o'clock this morning I detached Lieutenant-Colonel Lazear, with about nine hundred men, with orders to move to the south, avoiding the route of the enemy, and intercept him, if possible, at Marshall, and bring on an engagement, while I followed him (the enemy) with the balance of my command. The result was as I had hoped--Lieutenant-Colonel Lazear drove in the advance of the enemy, and an engagement commenced at eight o'clock A. M. The enemy had possession of the ford on my arrival, and checked my advance for a few moments, but by making a detour to the left, I found one of these crossings and gained position in their rear, on the bank of the creek along which they were formed. They soon gave way, and broke through the dense timber and brush which for a mile and a half fringed the borders of the creek. By throwing a force through their centre their forces were divided, part being driven east toward Arrow Rock, and part, under Shelby, to the northwest — both bodies pursued by our victorious troops.

I was misinformed when I reported to you by telegraph to-day that the enemy's artillery had been captured. We got his best gun, an iron ten-pounder, (Parrott pattern,) originally in Bledsoe's battery; but he succeeded in getting away with one piece, a brass six-pounder, (since captured,) that was captured at Springfield on the eighth of January.

I am unable to give you a correct account of the killed and wounded. Ours, including all our losses from Cole Camp to the place and the fight of to-day, will not exceed thirty. Of the enemy, I am officially advised that fifty-three dead have been found in the brush, and seventy wounded, who have been left at the hospitals here and at the houses on the road in the vicinity. They [559] lost a considerable number in the different attacks we made on the march. At Merrill's we found sixteen dead in the morning after the skirmish. At Lamine Crossing they lost nine killed. We have taken a number of prisoners, and they are coming in hourly. A portion of their train was captured. I think they are effectually broken up, and I shall not give them time to rally or concentrate. The pursuit and fighting have been done by the M. S. M. and the E. M. M. I can only point to the result of their efforts as the best commentary on their gallantry and endurance. For the past three days they have followed and engaged the enemy night and day in the rain without subsistence, except that gathered by the wayside, or protection from the storm.

The enemy numbered nearly two thousand men. My own force was about one thousand six hundred. I am, very truly, your obedient servant,

E. B. Brown, Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding. To Major-General J. M. Schofield, Commanding Department of the Missouri, St. Louis.

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William E. Merrill (2)
Lazear (2)
E. B. Brown (2)
Shelby (1)
J. M. Schofield (1)
Parrott (1)
William R. Marshall (1)
Doc (1)
Bledsoe (1)
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October 13th, 1863 AD (1)
January 8th (1)
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