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
solicited and obtained command of the force.
He had his own brigade, and was given about half of Greene
, with Shelby
's brigade and the other half of Greene
's, reached Fredericktown
on time, but there was no sign nor sound of McNeil
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.
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.
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.