previous next

[515] cannon, and part of the prisoners, to Warrensburg. The Kansas troops and Benteen's brigade pursued the enemy's flying columns, a part of whom made their last stand at Newtonia, Missouri, where General Blunt overtook and attacked them on the twenty-eighth, but was being worsted when Sanborn, having marched one hundred and two miles in thirty-six hours, arrived in time to save the day. The enemy fled, making no further stand this side of the Arkansas. In a country destitute of food for man and beast, five times defeated, pursued four or five hundred miles, with the loss of nearly all their artillery, ammunition, and baggage train, demoralization and destitution and want of supplies, would the rebels cross the Arkansas for supplies at the risk of falling into the hands of Thayer's forces or Steele's cavalry; and if allowed, would almost disintegrate and disband them on the way thither.

General Curtis thought pushing them was best, and accordingly followed, although he did not again overtake them. At his urgent instance, against my own judgment as well as that of Generals Sanborn and McNeill, I pushed their two brigades down to the Arkansas border, whence Sanborn sent an advance to Fort Smith, reaching there on the morning of the eighth, to notify General Thayer of the enemy's desperate condition, and the direction he had taken from Cane Hill toward the Indian nation, between Fort Smith and Fort Gibson.

Meanwhile, at Sherman's request, followed by orders from the General-in-chief, I directed Major-General A. J. Smith to move his command by the most expeditious route to the Mississippi, in the vicinity of St. Louis, there to embark and proceed to Nashville and report to Major-General George H. Thomas.

On the third of November I returned to St. Louis, to be there during the election, and on the receipt of the news of the enemy having crossed the Arkansas, directed the cavalry to repair to their respective districts, and Winslow's cavalry to move by the best route and join General Thomas at Nashville.

In entering into details, I have aimed to give the General Commanding a sort of military photograph of our daily condition and movements, as well for his critical judgment as for history, omitting events, of whatever magnitude, not having a bearing on our movements, and most of the minor ones which did enter into their determination. I trust that the precautions taken in advance of Price's movements; the preparations before we knew where he was coming; the means taken to secure our most important points, and occupy them until we could concentrate the forces to strike him with a certainty of success, outweighing any damage he could meanwhile do us; the energy and activity in concentration; vigor in pursuit and fiery gallantry of our troops in battle, will receive the approbation of the General Commanding the military division.

It will appear from these details and accompanying reports that our dismounted cavalry, infantry, and militia nobly performed their duty, watching, marching, and fighting whenever and wherever opportunity offered; that by their aid in holding our depots and supporting our mounted force, we have saved all our important posts, and most of the country from pillage, except a belt of some twenty miles wide along the route of the invasion, and with less than seven thousand effective cavalry have pursued, overtaken, beaten in several engagements, and finally routed an invading cavalry, variously estimated at from fifteen thousand to twenty-six thousand men, reinforced by six thousand armed recruits from Missouri; taking from them ten pieces of artillery, two stands of colors, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight prisoners of war, a large number of horses, mules, wagons, and small-arms; compelled them to destroy most of their remaining wagons, train, and plunder, blasted all the political schemes of the rebels and traitors who concerted with Price to revolutionize Missouri, destroy Kansas, and turn the State and Presidential election against the Union cause, and by our triumph in the late elections have given to gallant and suffering Missouri the fairest prospect she has ever yet seen of future freedom, peace, and prosperity — all the fruit of a campaign of forty-eight days, in which most of our victorious troops had never before seen a great cavalry battle. Rarely, during this or any other war, has cavalry displayed more persevering energy in pursuit, more impetuous courage and gallantry in attacking, regardless of superior numbers, or had its efforts crowned with greater fruits of success.

While paying a just tribute of thanks to all the officers and soldiers of the cavalry, artillery, infantry, militia, and citizen guards, who served during the raid, for their prompt and cheerful obedience to all orders,whether to labor, march, or fight, I must refer to the accompanying reports of their commanders for special mention of individual gallantry. Major-General Pleasonton deserves the thanks of the country for the able manner in which he handled and fought the cavalry, and for the brilliant and fruitful victories he won over triple his own force. I hope he may receive promotion in the Regular Army. Major-General A. J. Smith deserves thanks for promptitude, energy, and perseverance in all his movements, and for the good judgment displayed in his campaign. Nor must I omit a tribute of admiration to those brave and true soldiers, who, under Mower, followed Price from Arkansas, marching three hundred miles in eighteen days, and after going by boat from Cape Girardeau to Jefferson City, resumed the pursuit, making another march of four hundred and sixty-two miles before they embarked for Nashville, to take part in the not doubtful contest before that city for the mastery of Middle Tennessee. The district commanders all deserve my thanks for prompt and cordial co-operation

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sanborn (3)
J. H. Price (3)
George H. Thomas (2)
Thayer (2)
A. J. Smith (2)
E. F. Winslow (1)
F. Steele (1)
W. T. Sherman (1)
A. Pleasonton (1)
Joseph A. Mower (1)
McNeill (1)
N. M. Curtis (1)
Blunt (1)
F. W. Benteen (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 3rd (1)
28th (1)
8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: