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[132] but with instruction to the commander of the force, if he retreated toward Cape Girardeau, a strongly fortified post on the Mississippi river, not to follow him, but to rejoin the main body at Fredericktown. Colonel Carter solicited and obtained command of the force. He had his own brigade, and was given about half of Greene's brigade. Marmaduke, with Shelby's brigade and the other half of Greene's, reached Fredericktown on time, but there was no sign nor sound of McNeil or Carter. He waited a day, and then moved his command to Jackson, about half way to Cape Girardeau. Then he waited again, in the meantime sending scouting parties in every direction in search of Carter. At the end of two days he learned that McNeil had gone to Cape Girardeau and that Carter, becoming excited in the chase, had followed him, and that McNeil was inside the fortifications with a largely increased force, and Carter outside and unable to get away.

It took another day to march to Cape Girardeau and extricate Carter from his dangerous position. This was accomplished by Shelby attacking the fortifications and giving McNeil all he could do to defend himself. In the attack Shelby lost forty-five men killed and wounded, and was compelled to leave under the care of a surgeon a number of officers and men who were too badly hurt to be removed. Marmaduke got back to Jackson on the night of the next day, having lost four days by Carter's escapade—Shelby reached Fredericktown on the morning of the 22d and Marmaduke returned to Jackson on the evening, 26th—and given the enemy time to mass a heavy force in his front. Before daylight, on the morning of the 27th, he commenced his retreat, with General Vandiver and a larger force than his own close on his rear. McNeil was ordered, as soon as Carter was rescued, to throw his command south of Marmaduke and block his way, while Vandiver closed on him from the north. It would not have been difficult for McNeil to do this. He

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