previous next

Doc. 156.-battle of Bayou Metea, Ark.

Report of Colonel Glover.

headquarters Second brigade, cavalry division, Camp near Brownsville, Ark., Aug. 28.
Lieutenant: I have the honor to report that on the twenty-sixth August, 1863, two regiments of my brigade, the First Iowa and Third Missouri cavalry volunteers, and one section each of Lovejoy's and Clarkson's batteries, were ordered on a reconnoissance, and to “push the enemy as far as possible toward the Bayou Metea without bringing on a general engagement.” The First Iowa cavalry being in advance, a heavy line of skirmishers, in command of Captain Jenks, was thrown to the front. Some six miles from Brownsville struck his pickets and drove them about four miles back to their main body; some two miles east of the bayou, killing one rebel captain, (Powell, of Platte City, Mo.,) two privates, [487] and capturing one prisoner. Here the enemy opened artillery upon us, to which ours soon replied. After a considerable artillery duel, I ordered Lieutenaut Lovejoy to advance his section, in the doing of which he had one cannonier pierced through with a solid shot, and killed instantly, so well did the enemy have the range of the road. I then advanced in person, reconnoitred hastily the enemy's position, and determined to feel him further, and so ordered up Lovejoy's section, well supported with cavalry. In this position we stood face to face. After a more thorough review of the enemy's position and my own, perceiving his great advantage in this respect, and knowing his great superiority in numerical strength, and being satisfied a further offensive demonstration would result in a general engagement, in which all the advantages were against me, I deployed quite an amount of cavalry in front of my artillery, masking the same while it was rapidly taken from the field, and retired with my command to a safe distance. This done, I called off the force covering my rear, and withdrew the whole in good order and without further loss to my former encampment, near Brownsville.

On the morning of the twenty-seventh, at sunrise, the division moved out upon the road leading to the Bayou Metea Bridge, my brigade taking the advance, protected by a battalion of the Tenth Illinois, deployed as skirmishers, supported by two other squadrons, all in the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart. At some five miles from the bridge our advance skirmishers met those of the enemy. A brisk fire ensued, the enemy falling back. At some three miles from the bayou he made another stand, when he was again sharply encountered by the Tenth Illinois. At this place Lieutenant Kavanaugh was killed. Here the Commanding General ordered my whole brigade forward for action, in obedience to which I made the following dispositions, namely: Placed two battalions Third Missouri cavalry volunteers, dismounted, to fight on foot on the right of the road in order of battle. On the left of the road placed in order of battle one battalion of the Thirty-second Iowa infantry, as it was ordered to report to me during the day. On the left of this placed the Third battalion of the Third Missouri, dismounted, the artillery being in the centre. As a reserve, the First Iowa cavalry and four squadrons of the Eighteenth Illinois cavalry, mounted, were formed in the rear. Six squadrons of the Tenth Illinois were placed on the right flank. In this order, with a heavy line of skirmishers covering my whole front, the brigade moved forward. It soon met opposition from the enemy's small arms and artillery, but he was steadily driven from ridge to ridge through the thick brush on either side of the road by the firm and resolute advance of my brigade, assisted by the timely use of the artillery, back to a very strong and elevated position covered by extended “rifle-pits” on the left, where he made a more obstinate stand, holding my command in check for a brief period, when the Third Illinois cavalry on the right charged and drove back the enemy in their front, thus flanking his rifle-pits on the left, and compelling him to abandon them under a simultaneous charge on the left of the line, when the whole force of the enemy gave way and fled in the greatest disorder and confusion toward the Bayou Metea.

The artillery was now ordered up and poured a heavy bombardment with their fleeing columns for twenty-five or thirty minutes, when the bridge was seen to be on fire. The General Commanding then directed that the Iowa First cavalry should charge and save the bridge if possible. Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, at the head of his regiment, led a gallant charge in the face of a terrible fire of artillery and small arms, having his own horse shot under him, his command suffering considerably. From the intensity of the fire in the direction of the First Iowa cavalry, it was evident they needed support. I suggested that a new position be selected for our batteries to cover and relieve the First Iowa cavalry, now dismounted and sharply engaged with the enemy. Receiving permission, I hastened to the front amidst a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery, reconnoitred and selected an excellent position overlooking and commanding his. Our artillery was instantly ordered up with supports, and placed in position under a continued fire from that of the enemy. Our batteries, in position, opened a tremendous fire, soon silencing the enemy's guns and driving them from their position. The Third Missouri cavalry and Thirty-second Iowa infantry had now boldly forced their way to the bank of the bayou on the left, pushing the enemy across it — it now being evident that there was a strong force of the enemy on this side the bayou on the right of our line. After taking proper precaution for the safety of my right flank, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart, of the Tenth Illinois, with a portion of his regiment, to drive them back, which this excellent officer promptly executed, putting them across the bayou after a very hot contest. The purpose of the Commanding General now having been consummated, and the evening far advanced, I was ordered to retire with-my brigade to my former camp near Brownsville, as there were no comforts for man or beast short of that point.

I now desire to speak in the highest terms of Lieutenant-Colonel Black, of the Third Missouri, Stewart, of the Tenth. Illinois, and Anderson, of the First Iowa, my regimental commanders, for coolness, daring, and good judgment, cheerful and prompt in obedience to orders. The efficiency of our dismounted cavalry was to-day thoroughly tested. Of the Third Missouri and Tenth Illinois I must say they fought with the confidence of veteran infantry. I desire to bear testimony to the universal good conduct of officers and men. It is due to Major Eberhardt and his battalion of the Thirty-second Iowa infantry to say, they gave a hearty and efficient cooperation. Although the artillery was not formally [488] under my command, yet circumstances sometimes times placed it there. I am gratified to acknowplaced it there. I am gratified to acknowledge the cheerful obedience to orders, and the fearless conduct of the officers in charge; especially in the case of Lieutenant Clarkson, whose battery was in the advance during the day. The earnest but honorable competition between the three regiments of my brigade resulted, as it is likely to do in the future, in the complete rout and defeat of the foe.

I must express my admiration for the coolness, bravery, and efficiency of my staff officers. Captains Freeman, Snelling, Lieutenants Haine and Johnson, who were exposed to the hottest of the fire and thickest of the danger, have my sincere thanks for their cordial support. Casualties, forty-three killed and wounded in my brigade proper. I have the honor to be,

Respectfully your ob't servant,

J. M. Glover, Colonel Commanding Second Brigade, Cavalry Division. Robert L. Freeman, Captain and A. A. A. Gen. Second Brgade Cavalry Division.

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 Places (automatically extracted)
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.
Alexander Stewart (3)
Lieutenaut Lovejoy (3)
J. M. Glover (2)
Robert L. Freeman (2)
Clarkson (2)
W. P. Anderson (2)
Snelling (1)
Powell (1)
Kavanaugh (1)
Bushrod Johnson (1)
Jenks (1)
Haine (1)
Eberhardt (1)
Doc (1)
Black (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.
August 26th, 1863 AD (1)
August 28th (1)
27th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: