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Doc. 77.-the battle at Carthage, Mo. Colonel Siegel's official report.

Headquarters Colonel Siegel's command, Springfield, Mo., July 11, 1861.
To Brigadier-General Sweeny, Commander South-west Expedition:
Having arrived with my command in Sarcoxie, twenty-two miles from Neosho, on Friday, the 28th ult., at five o'clock P. M., I learned that a body of troops under General Price, numbering from eight to nine hundred, were encamped near Pool's Prairie, which is about six miles south of Neosho. I also learned that Jackson's troops, under the command of Parsons, had encamped fifteen miles north of Lamar, on Thursday the 27th, and that they had received the first intimation of the United States troops in Springfield being on their march to the West. Concerning Rains' troops, it was reported to me that they had passed Papinsville, on Thursday evening the 27th, and were one day's march behind Jackson on the 28th. I at once resolved to march on the body of troops encamped at Pool's Prairie, and then, turning north, to attack Jackson and Rains, and open a line of communication with Gen. Lyon, who, it was reported, had had a fight on the 28th ult. on the banks of Little Osage River, near Ball's Mills, about fifteen miles north of Nevada City.

I will remark, in passing, that I had sent several scouts in the direction of Ball's Mills, but only one of them returned, and he had no reliable news.

Scarcely had our troops left Sarcoxie, on the morning of the 29th, when I received news that the camp in Pool's Prairie had been broken up the same morning, and the troops had fled to Elk Mills, thirty miles south of Neosho, in the direction of Camp Walker, near Maysville, which place is not far distant from the southwestern extremity of the State. It now became my duty to direct my whole attention to the hostile forces north of me. Supposing that they would try to make their way into Arkansas, I ordered a detachment of two companies, with two field-pieces, under command of Captain Grone, to proceed to Cedar Creek and Grand Falls, in order to occupy the road and collect whatever news they could concerning the movements of the enemy.

I furthermore ordered the battalion under Colonel Solomon, just then under march from Mount Vernon to Sarcoxie, to join the force under my command in Neosho, by forced marches.

As soon as this battalion had arrived and our troops were sufficiently prepared for the movement, I sent them from Neosho and Grand Falls to Diamond Grove, (seven miles south of Carthage,) where they arrived about noon, advancing in a northerly direction. I ordered one company, under Captain Hackmann, to make a forward movement from Mount Vernon to Sarcoxie. I also ordered Captain Conrad, of Company B, (Rifle Battalion, Third Regiment,) to remain in Neosho, in order to afford protection to Union-loving citizens against the secession hordes, and if necessary, to retreat to Sarcoxie. Company H, Captain Indest, was one of the two companies which I had sent to Grand Falls. It had not returned when the battle commenced.

On the evening of the 4th of July, our troops, after a march of twenty miles, encamped southeast of Carthage, close by Spring River. I was by this time pretty certain that Jackson, with four thousand men, was about nine miles distant from us, as his scouts were seen in large numbers coming over the great plateau as far as the country north of Carthage, and conducted their explorations almost under our very eyes.

The troops under my command who participated in the engagement on the 5th of July, were as follows: Nine companies of the Third Regiment--in all, five hundred and fifty men; seven companies of the Fifth Regiment, numbering four hundred men; two batteries of artillery, each consisting of four field-pieces.

With these troops, I slowly advanced upon the enemy. Our skirmishers chased before them numerous bands of mounted riflemen, whose object it was to observe our march. Our baggage train followed us, about three miles in the rear.

After having passed Dry Fork Creek, six miles beyond Carthage, and advanced another three miles, we found the enemy drawn up in battle array, on an elevation which rises by gradual ascents from the creek, and is about one and a half miles distant. The front of the enemy consisted of three regiments, deployed into line and stationed with proper intervals of space. The two regiments forming the wings consisted of cavalry. The centre was composed of infantry, cavalry and two field-pieces. Several other pieces were posted at the right and left wings. The whole number of troops which thus came to our view may be computed at two thousand five hundred, not including a powerful reserve which was kept in the rear.

My rear guard being already engaged, I sent two cannon, together with two companies of the Third Regiment, for its support. Another cannon and a company of the Third Regiment I ordered to a position behind the creek, so as to afford protection to our baggage and the troops in the rear against the movements of the cavalry. The remainder of our troops I formed in the following manner:

On the left the second battalion of the Third Regiment, under command of Major Bischoff, in solid column with four cannon. In the centre the Fifth Regiment in two separate battalions, under Col. Salomon and Lieut.-Col. Wolff. On the right, three cannon under command of Capt. Essig, supported by the first battalion Third Regiment, under Lieut.-Col. Hassendeubel.

Having made these dispositions, and advanced [272] a few hundred paces, I commanded Major Backof to open fire upon the enemy with all the seven field-pieces. The fire was promptly answered. I soon perceived that the two mounted regiments of the rebel army made preparations to circumvent our two wings. They made a flanking movement, and, describing a wide semicircle, caused a. large interval of space to be left between them and the centre. I forthwith ordered the whole fire of our artillery to be directed against the right centre of the enemy, which had the effect in a short time of considerably weakening the fire of the rebels at this point.

I now formed a chain of skirmishers between our cannon, ordering two of Capt. Essig's pieces from the right to the left wing, and gave my officers and men to understand that it was my intention to gain the height by advancing with my left wing, and taking position on the right flank of the centre of the enemy.

At this critical moment Capt. Wilkins, commander of one of our two batteries, declared that he could not advance for want of ammunition. No time was to be lost, as part of our troops were already engaged with the hostile cavalry at the extreme right and left, and as it seemed to me of very doubtful expediency to advance with the remainder without due support of artillery. The moral effect which the hostile cavalry made in our rear could not be denied, although the real danger was not great. The threatening loss of our entire baggage was another consideration not to be overlooked. I therefore, with great reluctance, ordered part of the detachment at Dry Fork Creek back, while Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel, with the first battalion of the Third Regiment and a battalion of the Fifth Regiment, under Lieut.Col. Wolff, followed by four cannon of Wilkens's battery, proceeded to the baggage train in order to protect it against the meditated attack.

The enemy slowly followed us to Dry Fork. Capt. Essig's battery had taken position behind the ford, assisted by Captain Stephany's company (Fifth Regiment) on the left, and two companies of the Third Regiment, Captains Golmer and Denzler on the right, while at the same time two companies of the Fifth (Captains Stark and Meissner) stood as a reserve behind the wings. At this point it was where the aforesaid companies and battery made successful resistance to the entire force of the enemy for two hours, and caused him the heaviest losses. By that time two rebel flags had been shot out of sight, each act being accompanied by the triumphant shouts of the United States volunteers. In the mean time the two cavalry regiments had completely surrounded us and formed a line against our rear.

They had posted themselves close by a little creek, called Buck Branch, over which we had to pass. In order to meet them, I abandoned my position at Dry Fork, and ordered two pieces to the right, and two to the left of our reserve and baggage, supported by the detachments of Col. Salomon and Lt.-Col. Wolff, in solid column. Lt.-Col.Wolff, seconding my movement with his accustomed ability, formed three companies of the first battalion, Third Regiment, into line, and made them take up marching line against the cavalry in front of the baggage. Behind these troops and the baggage, Lieut. Schrickel, with a portion of the first battery of artillery and two companies, took a precautionary position in view of that part of the enemy coming in the direction of Dry Fork.

After the firing of one round by our whole line, our infantry charged upon the enemy at double quick and routed him completely. His flight was accompanied by the deafening shouts of our little army.

The troops and baggage train now crossed the creek undisturbed, and ascended the heights which command Carthage from the north, this side of Spring River. Here the enemy again took position. His centre slowly advanced upon us, while his cavalry came upon us with great rapidity, in order to circumvent our two wings and gain the Springfield road. Deeming it of the utmost importance to keep open my communication with Mount Vernon and Springfield, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff with two pieces of artillery (Lieut. Schaeffer, of the second battery) to pass through Carthage, and occupy the eastern heights on the Sarcoxie road. Capt. Cramer, with two companies, (Indest and Tois,) was ordered to follow him, in order to protect the western part of the city against a hostile movement in this direction. Our rear took possession of the city, in order to give the rest of the troops time for rest, as they had marched 22 miles on the 4th, and 18 miles more during the day, exposed to a burning sun, and almost without any thing to eat or drink. The enemy, in the mean time, derived great advantage from his cavalry, being able to cross Spring River at various places, scatter on all sides through the woods, and harass our troops almost unintermittingly.

I therefore ordered a retreat toward Sarcoxie, under cover of both artillery and infantry. We first took position on the heights beyond Carthage, and then again at the entrance of the Sarcoxie road into the woods, about two and a half miles south-east of Carthage. From the latter place our troops advanced unmolested as far as Sarcoxie.

Our whole loss in this engagement amounts to thirteen dead and thirty-one wounded, among whom is Captain Strodtman, Company E, Third Regiment, and Lieutenant Bischoff, of Company B, same regiment. The first battery lost nine horses; the third one (Major Bischoff's) and one baggage wagon had to be left behind, in Carthage, for want of horses to pull it away.

According to reliable accounts, the loss of the enemy cannot have been less than from three hundred and fifty to four hundred men. One of their field-pieces was dismounted and another exploded. [273]

With the deepest regret, I have to announce to you the surprise and capture by the rebels, of Capt. Conrad and his company of ninety-four men, in Neosho. Officers and men were afterwards liberated, after taking an oath that they would not again take up arms against the Confederate States.

On the other hand, it affords me intense pleasure to be able to say, in justice to the officers and men under my command, that they fought with the greatest skill and bravery. Although threatened more than once on the flank and in the rear by powerful detachments of cavalry, and attacked in front by an over-whemingly disproportionate force, they conducted themselves like veterans,and defended one position after another without a man swerving from his place.

I would also specially acknowledge the services of the Fifth Regiment, under its brave commanders and adjutants, with heartfelt gratitude. They proved themselves to be true friends and reliable comrades on the battlefield.

The excellent artillery under Major Backof, who, like my adjutants, Albert and Heinrichs, was untiring from morning till night in his efforts to execute and second my commands, also deserves honorable mention.

I am, sir, with great respect, yours,

Franz Siegel, Commanding Officer.

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