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May 2-9, 1862.-expedition from Trenton to Paris and Dresden, Tenn., with skirmish, May 5, near Lockridge's Mill.


No. 1.-Col. Thomas Claiborne, Sixth Confederate Cavalry.

No. 2.-Col. William W. Lowe, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

No. 3.-Capts. William A. Haw and Henning von Minden, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

No. 1.-report of Col. Thomas Claiborne, Sixth Confederate Cavalry.

Spring Creek, Tenn., May 9, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to report that I left Trenton on May 2 and encamped at King's Bridge. On the 3d encamped at McKenzie's Station, waiting Jackson, who joined me on the 4th, and we marched (whole force about 1,250) to attack a force reported to be at Paris, 250 to 500 strong. I separated into three columns, to surround it and intercept them toward Fort Heiman.

At about 4 p. m. entered Paris. The enemy had moved at 10 a. m. toward Dresden. I immediately detached one column, under Lieuten. ant-Colonel Pell, to Boydsville, and with my own joined Colonel Jackson who was on the Dresden road, 2J miles. We pushed on vigorously, contending with a night of unusual darkness and rain, until reaching Cowan's house (Union). [880]

At about 1.30 a. m. I halted to wait for light. I deceived Mrs. Cowan by passing for a Federal officer, and got certain intelligence that James Allen had brought the news to Major Shaeffer that a force of nearly 3,000 was passing up to Paris; he instantly sent off on the fastest horses couriers to Hickman, Mayfield, Paducah, and elsewhere, that all the neighborhood had gone, and much more not necessary to relate. I got all her news, and then her negro boy William was even more confidential toward a supposed Abolitionist. I saw that my plans were thus frustrated beyond a doubt, in which opinion Colonel Jackson agreed, as did Major Wicks. I then determined to pursue Major Shaeffer and catch him at any rate. I accordingly waited a sufficient time to let him satisfy himself I was going to Dresden, and I took a by-road through Palmersville to cut the Dresden road to Boydsville.

I got at 5 p. m. certain information of him, but not his exact whereabouts. I pushed on to Stephenson's Mill, 1½ miles across the road, on Obion River; then 3 miles toward Lockridge's Mill; saw his picket; halted, and conferred with Colonel Jackson. As night was fast approaching there was no time to delay. Captain Ballentine, of Colonel Jackson's cavalry, was acting field officer, with five companies, at the head of the column. His first company was deployed as mounted skirmishers and dashed on the pickets. The pickets were astonished and let us approach to 70 yards, then fired and turned to flee. A yell and charge blown, a picket killed, and the five companies, followed by the whole command, swept the 2 miles away in seven minutes or less over the enemy, who had been in vain urged to rally, as I learned afterward, by their major, through deep mud holes and the worst of roads, and on for 14 miles, until pursuit exhausted the horses and those who had so gallantly kept up the fire on them, Captain Jackson, of my regiment, with a few men, ceasing the race.

Captain Ballentine was most of all conspicuous for his gallant bearing and use of his saber and pistol. He fired on and mortally wounded Major Shaeffer. He engaged in a saber hand-to-hand combat with a brave fellow named Hoffman, who several times pierced the captain's coat, but was forced to yield. Captain Ballentine was also attacked by blows of a carbine and quite severely bruised. The dispersion was complete. Killed 6, wounded 16, and captured 4 officers and 67 noncommissioned officers and privates. Paroled Major Shaeffer and 4 wounded-unable to march-and detailed Private Henry Schlopp, prisoner. I paroled him to serve the wounded. The 2 wagons of the enemy, with about 56 horses, saddles, and a good many arms, were taken. I divided the horses with Colonel Jackson, who takes also the wagons. I distributed the arms to both regiments, &c. The loss on our side was not one; a few scratches were received.

The conduct of the command was excellent, with few exceptions.

I marched on the 6th 4 miles; on the 7th, having information that a large force was concentrating from several quarters to movo against me, with artillery, I determined to secure my prisoners. I marched to Como at 1 p. m. and fed; marched to within 5 miles of Caledonia and halted. At midnight I got a dispatch from Colonel Pell, who, having joined me from Boydsville, was again sent toward Conyersville, to attack a reported force of 150. At a certain point he obtained some news that the enemy, near 1,000 strong, had encamped at dark 6 miles from Paris, and that they would be joined in the morning by 500 more. I moved at once to cross the Obion before King's Bridge could be seized. (It was the only one.)

I encamped last night at McLemoresville, and satisfied myself that the [881] enemy had that morning entered Paris with artillery, foot, and horse, but there he would remain. I left Colonel Pell at or near McKenzie, with orders to observe the enemy and keep posted as to his movements, and to-day, leaving orders for Pell to take a position between McLemoresville and Huntingdon and keep me informed, I moved to this place, my horses very jaded, my men having suffered for food, having no means to prepare nor haversacks to carry with them food for a day even. We subsisted with great difficulty and by getting people for miles around to cook for us.

It is well to add that the person — an Englishman, of Paducah-sent to me to act as guide, without my request, by Provost Hayes, at Jackson, Tenn., who seems to have known my destination, called to see me, but left for Paducah, telling two persons, of my knowledge, where I was going. This is certain. The notorious spy and guide Farris, a citizen of Paris, who led the enemy to King's Camp, and has since figured conspicuously in pointing out our friends, was captured, and deserves to be shot; also Rose, of Paris Landing, taken wounded; he has been also a guide for them.

The conduct of Colonel Jackson was, as usual with him, such as to merit your highest approval, and the good conduct of his regiment on the march and in the affair excellent.

Regretting the impossibility of getting to Paducah, in which Colonel Jackson and Major Wicks agree with me, I hope to have your approval of my course.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

No. 2.-report of Col. William W. Lowe, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

headquarters, Forts Henry and Heiman, May 12, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to report the result of an expedition sent out recently from this post in the direction of Paris and Dresden for the purpose of intercepting some supplies of medicines, &c., taken from Paducah for the use of the rebel army; also a brief statement of what has been done since the result of that expedition became known to me.

Having received information that the rebels were being supplied from time to time with various contraband articles, I sent Maj. Carl Shaeffer de Boernstein out with parts of three companies, in order to break up this trade. Failing to obtain any satisfactory information, he pushed on to Paris and Dresden. After passing through Paris Claiborne's command of rebel cavalry succeeded in getting in rear of him and pursued him to a point called Lockridge's Mills, when he was overtaken and a severe skirmish ensued, the rebels numbering 1,280, while the force under Major Shaeffer [de Boernsteinj consisted of 125 men.

Our loss in killed and wounded was as follows, namely: [882]

  Killed. Wounded.
Officers 1 3
Non-commissioned officers   1
Privates 3 2
Total 4 6

Our loss in prisoners cannot as yet be actually ascertained, but will, I presume, number about 60, as Captain Nlott has reached Paducah with 58 men and 48 horses.

The loss of the enemy is not known, but they were seen to haul off two wagon loads of wounded. They stripped our wounded and dead of all their clothing. Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] was robbed of his coat and boots while still living.

As soon as the news reached me I at once made preparation to go with the few remaining companies here in pursuit of the enemy, and, the Fourth Minnesota Regiment passing at this time, I took the responsibility, as indicated in my dispatch, of disembarking them, to aid me in the progress of the expedition.

I started on the evening of the 6th instant, and on the evening of the 7th encamped near Paris and within a few miles of the enemy. My purpose was to have gone on that night, but soon after going into camp I received a dispatch from the commanding general directing me not to pursue them.

The next morning I commenced my return, but sent several parties into and through Paris, without, however, being able to bring out the enemy in pursuit.

Since my return I learned that Claiborne has received a reenforcement of about 1,000 men, and is now occupying the country between Paris and Jackson with a view of entering this neighborhood for the purpose of procuring forage and rations. Under these circumstances I have thought proper to retain the Fourth Minnesota Regiment, and trust my course will be approved by the general. I have again to urge the necessity of having at this post a small additional force. With one more regiment and a battery I could easily hold and occupy the country for 30 miles back of the river, and as there are many good and loyal citizens in this vicinity, they should receive all possible assistance and protection. Should the rebels again get possession of this section of the country, it is their intention to take off everything in the way of forage and provisions.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

W. W. Lowe, Colonel Curtis' Horse, Commanding. Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Department of the Mississippi, Monterey, Miss.


No. 3.-report of Capts. William A. Haw and Henning von Minden, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.1

Spring Creek, Tenn., May 9, 1862.
The command started under the command of Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] (130 men strong), on May 2, toward Paris, where we were delayed until late in the afternoon of the 3d by shoeing the horses. Heavy rain was the reason we started on the 4th from Paris toward Como (13 miles), and passed the night 3 miles farther, at the farm of Mr. Erwin. There a report was made by a citizen coming from Caledonia that a large force of Confederate cavalry had passed, going toward Paris, which induced Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] to go to Dresden and possibly toward Mayfield and Hickman. We made a night march on a very dark and stormy night, and reached Dresden at about 1 a. m. Pickets were sent out toward Como, which reported (very late) that the enemy had his pickets at our last camping place-Erwin's farm.

We left Dresden at 1 p. m., taking the road toward Mayfield, 28 miles. It was about 6 p. m. when we reached a place called Lockridge Mills, on the Obion River, in Weakley County, Tenn., where a bridge (the North Fork) crosses the said river. Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] concluded to stop there for the night. I took the picket with my men (45), established three lines of them, because I was fully satisfied that we would be attacked, and knowing that we could not resist the expected force, I intended only to prevent a surprise. The pickets had not been set out more than twenty minutes when the enemy made his appearance. Drew back my first pickets, then the second line, and soon found us in great confusion, because the main body of us had unsaddled our horses. Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] ordered the command to fall back beyond the bridge in our rear; but it was too late. The enemy followed and occasioned a stampede, in which the speediest horse could only win the prize. 1 lost 4 killed and 34 prisoners, of whom 5 are wounded. I was wounded at the bridge in trying to make a stand; my horse, like the others, could not be held, because he was wounded, too, and ran with me. After a race of about 3 miles I fell from the horse from weakness and was taken. My wounds are not dangerous; one in the arm, two in the back, and one in the head. Captain Minden's horse tumbled down and fell on its rider's leg, hurting him badly. He, too, has been taken. He received a slight wound in his head. Lieutenant Vredenburg had the same fate. Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] was shot a few paces behind me and taken. Captain Nott, Lieutenants Wheeler and Smith I hope made their escape; the latter, I have heard, was wounded. To-day the rumor was spread out that Major Shaeffer [de Boernstein] died last night.

The commanding officer, Col. Th. Claiborne, allowed me to send this report to you; but I dare not misuse his kindness in stating the force against which we had to work. I only feel myself authorized to say that it was a large one-larger than we could and did expect. The commander, his officers, and even his men, treated us like true soldiers and gentlemen, which I take great pleasure to state.

W. A. Haw, Captain Company F, Curtis' Horse. H. V. Minden, Captain Company G, Curtis' Horse.


1 the address of this report not known. It was found in the Confederate archives as accompanying document to Colonel Claiborne's report of the affair. See p 879.

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