Report of Gen. John B. Clark, Jr.

Price's 1864 Missouri Expedition

HEADQUARTERS MARMADUKE'S DIVISION OF CAVALRY,
Camp on Red River, Ark., December 19, 1864.


COLONEL: I respectfully submit the following as my report of the part taken by my brigade in the late Missouri campaign:
My command, known as Marmaduke's cavalry brigade, consisting of Greene's, Burbridge's, Jeffers', Kitchen's, and Lawther's regiments, Wood's battalion of cavalry, and Pratt's battalion of artillery, numbering in effective strength 1,200 men (equipments fair and horses in moderate condition), marched from Tulip, Ark., on the morning of the 31st of August at sunrise on the Benton road as the advance guard of the Army of Missouri. Arriving at the Arkansas River on the morning of the 6th of September, Lawther's regiment in advance, after a slight skirmish with a small detachment of the enemy's cavalry crossed the river, encamping on the opposite shore. On the morning of the 7th the line of march was resumed, the army moving in the direction of Southeast Missouri; crossed the Arkansas and Missouri line on the 20th; passed through Poplar Bluff, Mo., on the 21st; Saint Francisville on the 22d; Dallas County on the 24th; Fredericktown on the 26th, making a junction at this point with Generals Fagan's and Shelby's divisions, which had moved by routes to the west of my line of march. The entire army arrived at Ironton, Mo., on the 27th of September.

Before arriving st Pocahontas, Ark., Jeffers' regiment, of my brigade, under orders from the major-general commanding, proceeded to Southeast Missouri, arriving near Bloomfield on the 22d of September. The Federal garrison hastily evacuating that post, he attacked their rear with great vigor, killing a number, capturing 75 stand of small-arms and 6 wagons and teams loaded with army and sutler's stores, reporting to the brigade September 24, but detached again on the 25th. After a spirited charge he drove the enemy and captured the town of Old Jackson, Mo.; but the enemy having been apprised of his approach removed everything of value before his arrival. He rejoined the brigade September 26.

The army being in front of Ironton, Mo., on the 27th, Fagan's division drove the enemy from that town, forcing him to take refuge behind his fortifications at Pilot Knob. I received orders to occupy Shepherd's Mountain with my brigade, which was done without opposition. During all this time, however, volleys of musketry and the roar of artillery gave us notice that a spirited engagement was progressing on our right, the position occupied by Fagan's division. The enemy having taken refuge within a strong redoubt, and showing no disposition to skirmish with us beyond its protection, it was determined to bring the artillery to bear upon the enemy from Shepherd's Mountain and at the same time make an assault, my brigade on the left and Fagan's division on the right, Freeman's brigade, of Marmaduke's division, having been sent against the enemy in some other direction. The signal for the assault was the opening of artillery on Shepherd's Mountain. The fort lay directly in my front (as was supposed) one-half mile, but found the distance to be at least three-quarters of a mile upon examination afterward. The descent from the top of the mountain was as rugged as can be imagined, and it was impossible to move the troops down it in any order, huge bowlders, fallen timbers, deep and almost impassable ravines confronting the troops at every step, and the enemy's artillery opening with great accuracy at this moment upon our disordered ranks, I would not have been surprised to have seen all break in confusion; but with unfaltering courage they pressed forward, each one seeming eager to reach the enemy's intrenchments first. Owing to the irregular descent upon emerging into the open space around the fort the brigade was found divided, Burbridge and Jeffers on the left and Greene, Lawther, and Wood 150 yards to the right and connecting with Cabell's brigade. Thus disconnected (it being impossible to bring them together without great loss of time as well as life) the advance was continued. Greene's, Lawther's, and Wood's commands, with Cabell's brigade, advancing to the very muzzle of the enemy's guns, found a deep ditch yawning before them impossible to cross. After some hesitation they recoiled before the terrible fire that was continually poured into their ranks, falling back from 75 to 100 yards from the fort under cover of a small natural embankment, and remained until after night-fall, when they were quietly withdrawn to an encampment one mile distant. Burbridge's and Jeffers' regiments being upon my left in the charge did not get nearer than seventy-five yards to the fort, and seeing the others repulsed took refuge in a ravine and remained until withdrawn after night. Thus ended one of the hardest fought small engagements of the war, as the list of killed and wounded will attest, the officers and men of my command behaving with a spirit that well became the reputation they had won upon many fields under the command of General Marmaduke and Colonel Greene as brigade commanders. I hope it will not be considered out of place for me to call attention to the dashing gallantry displayed by General Cabell in leading his troops to this terrible assault.

During the night the enemy blew up his fortifications and fled in the direction of the Southwest Branch Railroad. A rapid pursuit was commenced on the 28th, but we did not come upon his rear until the 29th, having continued the pursuit through the night preceding without halting. We pressed him hotly, but owing to the topography of the country it was impossible to deploy rapidly, and in consequence failed to bring him to a general engagement. Having already been in the saddle forty-eight hours, exclusive of the fatigues from the battle of Pilot Knob, my command was relieved from active pursuit in the advance by General Shelby's division, who pressed the enemy hotly until night-fall. Taking advantage of the darkness and the facilities afforded by the railroad at the station of Leasburg, the enemy protected himself behind formidable fortifications, and considering that it would occasion too great loss of life to make the assault, Generals Marmaduke and Shelby decided to withdraw on the 30th and move down the railroad some twelve miles, camping at Sullivan's Station. On the 29th Colonel Burbridge's regiment and Wood's battalion, of my brigade, under orders from General Marmaduke, were detached (Colonel Burbridge commanding) to destroy the railroad depots, &c., at Cuba, eleven miles from Leasburg in the direction of Rolla. The order being satisfactorily executed they rejoined the brigade on the 30th.

We arrived at Union, Franklin County, October 1; found a small body of the enemy, some 200 strong, posted in the town to dispute our entrance. Dismounting my command and opening my artillery I moved forward rapidly to the attack, routing the enemy, killing 32, and capturing 70 prisoners. At 12 o'clock that night Lawther's regiment, of my brigade, was sent forward in the direction of Washington as an advance. I was ordered to join him with the remainder of my command, and did so at 8 o'clock the next morning (October 2) one mile from Washington. The enemy having fled the night before, took possession of the town without opposition, destroying a bridge on the Pacific Railroad two miles below the town. On the 3d of October captured a train at Miller's Station, with a large amount of clothing and 400 Sharps rifles. Same evening captured Hermann after a slight engagement with the enemy, Greene's regiment in advance, which captured one 12-pounder iron gun. The train captured at Miller's Station was run up to Her mann, where stores, arms, &c., were distributed. On the 4th Wood's battalion, with four companies under Major Parrott, and one piece of artillery, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, were sent by order of Major-General Marmaduke with the train up the railroad to destroy the Gasconade bridge, which was accomplished without resistance, rejoining the brigade on the 5th, and on the 6th formed a junction with the main army at Linn.

From the time the pursuit commenced at Ironton to the arrival at Linn, Freeman's brigade, of Marmaduke's division, was detached as a guard to the general train, and marched under Major-General Price's orders with the main column. On the 7th of October Shelby's division (in advance) drove the enemy from the crossing of the Osage, and Fagan's division moving up to his assistance drove the enemy within the fortifications around Jefferson City. Marmaduke's division being in rear did not engage the enemy. Moved in direction of Russellville on the 8th, Fagan's division skirmishing with the enemy in rear. Moved to California on the 9th, Marmaduke's division in rear, my brigade in rear of the division, Greene's regiment skirmishing with the enemy. At California the enemy suddenly dashed in upon the flank, but opening upon him with Pratt's battalion of artillery checked his attack, and under its cover passed the brigade, leaving Lawther's regiment in rear skirmishing with the enemy. They followed, however, only a short distance from that point.

Arrived at Boonville on the 10th, that place having been captured the day before by General Shelby's command. On the 11th a picket of 100 men, commanded by Captain Hicks, of Burbridge's regiment, was attacked by a heavy force of the enemy and rapidly driven in. Marmaduke's and Fagan's divisions, moving rapidly to the front, offered battle, the enemy retiring after a slight skirmish, the principal loss being in Hicks' picket, that officer handling it with great judgment and gallantry. Left Boonville on the night of the 12th; arrived at Arrow Rock on the 14th. On the 14th received orders from the major-general commanding army to cross the Missouri River at Arrow Rock with my brigade and 500 men of Jackman's brigade, attack and capture the Federal post at Glasgow. I succeeded, after considerable difficulty, in crossing my command, but not as early as was expected. General Shelby, with two guns and one regiment, was ordered to assist in the capture from the south side of the river, the attack to begin at daylight, but owing to the delay in crossing the river I did not arrive at Glasgow at the appointed hour, Shelby's artillery opening at the appointed time, my command being some three miles distant. Pushing rapidly forward we soon came in sight of the town, finding the enemy in line of battle to receive us. Colonel Greene, commanding brigade, was ordered to make the attack on the enemy, who were directly in his front and in rear of the town; Jackman to attack the enemy on his right flank. After several shots from Pratt's artillery, which was posted on the heights south of Glasgow, the dispositions for the attack being made as indicated, both commands advanced to the attack in a spirited manner and soon drove the enemy within his works, which were constructed upon a commanding hill in the heart of the town, from which they poured a destructive fire of small-arms in our ranks; but nothing daunted, they advanced under cover of houses, fences, and other obstructions to within a short distance of his works, preferring to force his surrender by a continuous fire from sharpshooters rather than take him by assault. After a fire of small-arms and artillery for two hours Colonel Harding, commanding Federal forces, sent out a flag desiring to know what terms would be granted to him in case he surrendered. He was answered that they should be treated as prisoners of war, private property should be respected, and officers permitted to keep their  side-arms. Accepting the terms the entire Federal force was surrendered, consisting of Colonel Harding's regiment and four companies of militia, numbering between 800 and 900 men, 1,200 small-arms, about the same number of overcoats, 150 horses, 1 steam-boat, and large amounts of underclothing.

The capture was complete in every respect, and made with much less loss than could be expected when we take into consideration that the disproportion in force was not more than two to one, but the rapidity with which Colonels Greene and Jackman moved their troops to the attack, and following the enemy so closely in his retreat to his intrenchments that they had no opportunity to punish us severely. Notwithstanding, we sustained considerable loss in gallant officers and men in crossing the open fields and before we could get under cover of the houses around the fortifications, the loss in this action being -- killed and --wounded.

Colonel Harding, after consulting his officers and investigating the laws, orders, &c., of the United States in regard to paroling prisoners, determined to accept a parole for himself, officers, and men that I had offered him, having stated to me previous to this that he would not accept the parole unless he felt sure that it would be regarded by his Government. All were accordingly paroled and sent to Boonville under the escort of Lieutenant Graves with his company. He delivered them at Boonville. (See complimentary letter to Lieutenant Graves from General Fisk.)

I do not hesitate in complimenting the gallantry and good behavior of officers and soldiers in this action, but call your attention especially to Colonels Greene and Jackman, commanding brigades. General Shelby gave me material assistance in the reduction of the town by a judicious use of his artillery and sharpshooters from the opposite side of the river.

After a distribution of as much of the property, ordnance, &c., captured as the troops could conveniently carry, I had the steam-boat which was captured at the wharf burnt, evacuated the town, and recrossed the river on the 17th and rejoined the main army on the 18th, not coming in contact with the enemy again until the 21st at the crossing of Little Blue River, in Jackson County. My brigade being in advance, Captain Stallard's escort (Marmaduke's advance guard), came upon the enemy's pickets one mile from the bridge on Little Blue on the Lexington and Independence road. Stallard soon drove them across the bridge, which they burned to prevent a rapid pursuit. Under instructions from General Marmaduke I sent Burbridge's regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel Preston in command) to secure the ford one mile above the bridge, and Colonel Lawther with his regiment to secure the ford one-half mile below, who soon reported the lower crossing clear, the enemy retiring toward Independence. I moved the brigade to the lower ford, but found the crossing very difficult and slow. Hearing quick firing to the front I hastened forward with Greene's regiment, leaving orders for the command to follow as rapidly as possible, and found that Colonel Lawther had indiscreetly attacked a very heavy force of the enemy posted behind some stone fencing which ran at right angles to the road and afforded complete protection against small-arms. He was driven back and in his turn assailed by the enemy, when I arrived with Greene's regiment. General Marmaduke having ordered Captain Stallard to support Lawther's regiment, Colonel Greene formed his regiment in line of battle, flanked by two pieces of artillery from Pratt's battalion, which was soon hotly engaging the enemy, Lawther having fallen to his rear in confusion. Owing to the difficulties of crossing at the ford Greene's regiment fought at great odds unsupported, but they contested every inch of ground with stubbornness until the arrival of Wood's battalion, when the enemy gave way, but receiving re-enforcements drove us again to our original position. We were almost out of ammunition and the day seemed lost, but Kitchen's regiment, including Davies' battalion (Davies' absence from his regiment not accounted for), came up at this moment in as gallant style as veteran infantry and turned the tide of success, the enemy breaking and falling back toward his first position. A part of Shelby's division (Gordon's regiment, I believe) joined on the left of Kitchen and pushed hotly after the enemy, who, taking position behind the rock fencing spoken of, stubbornly contested the advance of Marmaduke's and Shelby's divisions for at least an hour, but finally gave way, Shelby in pursuit.

In this action Major Pratt, with one section of his artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Williams, did excellent service, and at a time of great emergency manned the guns themselves. Company B, Greene's regiment (Captain Polk), behaved with distinguished gallantry, resolutely supporting the artillery with only one round of ammunition for close quarters with the enemy. Colonel Greene distinguished himself above any other officer in the engagement. Loss in this action: killed, -- wounded.


On the same evening Independence was captured, my brigade encamping two miles beyond the town on the Westport road. On the morning of the 22d, Fagan's division being hotly pressed from the rear, General Marmaduke sent me an order to form line of battle at some suitable point near my encampment, some two miles from Independence, as a support to Freeman's brigade, which was formed in my front some half a mile, Fagan's division having been pressed back, then Freeman's brigade, the enemy came within range of my artillery (Pratt's) half an hour before sundown, which immediately opened and checked his advance. Then falling back probably a mile, under directions from Major-General Marmaduke I formed my brigade in order of battle by columns of regiments as follows, Wood's battalion, Bur-bridge's regiment, Lawther's regiment, Kitchen's regiment, and Jeffers' regiment, to await the advance of the enemy. I was advised that the resistance must be stubborn, as there was heavy fighting in front, and the rear of the train was only a short distance in advance. The enemy having now engaged the army both in front and rear, and possibly elated at having driven the rear of the column over twelve miles of hard-fought ground, and knowing from the report of their guns in the advance that the relative position of the contending forces had slightly changed, notwithstanding the almost impenetrable darkness of the night, they rushed upon us with a reckless fierceness that I have never seen equaled, giving us warning of confidence reposed in the efficiency and number of their troops in case we were pressed to a general engagement. First Wood's battalion was driven back, then Bur-bridge's regiment, then Kitchen's, then Lawther's, and last Jeffers', who contended longest and last with this fierce advance. Thus passed this long and never to be forgotten night of the 22d. The dark obscurity that enveloped friend and foe alike was only relieved by the bright flash of our guns, and the deathlike stillness that reigned in the forest around us was only broken as volley answered volley from the contending forces. Our loss was heavy, but especially in the regiment of the gallant Jeffers.


The enemy being satisfied with the reception, or having spent his energies in.his furious onslaught, halted the pursuit at 2 in the morning.

On the 23d Marmaduke's division, again in rear, were attacked at an early hour by the same enemy and with the same spirit as before. Greene's regiment, commanded by Captain Johnson, and Burbridge's regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Preston, with Freeman's brigade, met him first, my brigade being formed in his rear 500 yards. He contended manfully for the crossing of the Big Blue, but was forced back after having repulsed the enemy several times. Falling back through my brigade the enemy came upon me in the full enthusiasm of pursuit, and though my brigade contended nobly with the foe for two hours and strewed the open field in our front with his dead, our ammunition exhausted, we were forced to leave the field again to the enemy, our dead in his hands. The booming of Fagan's and Shelby's guns were heard all this time in the direction of Westport heavily engaging the enemy. At this time I was directed by General Marmaduke to pass the train and protect its left flank from a threatened attack from cavalry. I found them advancing upon the flank, but halted without coming to an engagement. Continued to retreat that night until 1 o'clock. Resumed the march southward on the 23d; crossed into Linn County, Kans., on the 24th. Resumed the march southward on the 25th, Marmaduke's division being in the rear.

Before I had gone a mile from the encampment (on the Marais des Cygnes) of the night before, I received an order from General Marma-duke to form my brigade in line of battle, as the enemy had again appeared in our rear. I remained in that position until 10 o'clock; no engagement with small-arms; retiring from that position in line of battle. The enemy, 800 or 900 yards distant in line of battle, followed us. We were now well out on a prairie that seemed almost boundless. At the distance of a mile General Marmaduke directed me to halt, which we did. The enemy coming on with a steady advance approached very near in largely superior force. We retired at a trot, the enemy in close pursuit. We continued this way, each holding about the same position, across a flat prairie some four miles, when we came suddenly upon the trains halted, the delay occasioned by a deep ravine, the enemy not more than 500 yards in our rear. There was no time to make any but the most rapid dispositions for battle. To attempt to dismount and send the horses to the rear was inevitable destruction, as the enemy in the confusion would have been upon us. There was no alternative but to abandon the train or to fight on horseback. In the hurried consultation between Generals Fagan and Marmaduke I understood this to be the view taken of the emergency. It was determined not to dismount, which met with my approbation. Skirmishing had already begun, the artillery in action, when the Federal force (I should judge 6,000 or 7,000) made a furious charge on the right and left flank. Both gave way in hopeless confusion. Every effort was made by appeals and threats to retrieve the rout, but it swept in an irresistible mass ungovernable. The Federal force and that mingled together until you scarcely knew who was friend or foe. Gallant spirits, however, were seen here and there in hand-to-hand conflict with the foe, in sad contrast to those who had ignominiously thrown away their arms. General Marmaduke in the vain effort to rally his troops was captured by the enemy. Every gallant spirit in my brigade remembers with affection the gallant and prudent commander of an hundred battles, and mourn that his valuable services are lost to his country in the hour of her emergency. The gallant Jeffers with Major Waddell, of my staff, and many other officers, were captured. I succeeded in forming I suppose 500 men on General Marmaduke's escort (which deserves great credit for being less demoralized than any troops I saw in the rout), all of which retired in some order to the main column. The retreat was continued with occasional skirmishing until we reached Newtonia, which was the last sight we had of the enemy. As I have heard that odium was cast upon the major-general commanding for adopting the line of retreat through the Indian Nation, I desire to say that that route was earnestly advocated by me in preference to any other.

Having assumed command of Marmaduke's division on the day and after the battle of Mine Creek, and Colonel Freeman, whose brigade composed a part of the division, never having made a report of the part taken by his command in the campaign, I am unable to call attention to it in a specific manner. It is in my knowledge, however, that he did good fighting at Independence and Big Blue. His brigade was detached from the division at Maysville, Ark., by orders from the major-general commanding, and sent to Northeast Arkansas. The retreat through the Indian Nation was attended with many hardships, particularly to the new recruits; but as the army was without meat rations only two days we encountered nothing like starvation.

My brigade staff were prompt and gallant in the execution of orders throughout the campaign, calling especial attention to Captain Kerr, ordnance officer of my brigade, who behaved with distinguished gallantry on many occasions.
The officers of my brigade with very few exceptions behaved well in every action and deserve high encomiums for gallantry, among whom Colonel Greene stands pre-eminent.

It is impossible to report the loss of the division on account of the absence of Colonel Freeman's report. The loss in my brigade can only be reported in the aggregate. Attention is called to list accompanying this and also Colonel Greene's report.


General Marmaduke's staff, who have been reporting to me since his capture, are surpassed by none in the army for activity, promptness, and gallantry. I regret especially my inability to do General Marmaduke justice in this report, as many things of moment were done by the division of which I was not cognizant. His command have the highest regard for him as a general and are anxious for his return, as only troops are who believe in their leader.


It gives me great pleasure to call attention to the gallant conduct of Private Adams, Company B, Third [Missouri] Regiment, of my brigade, during the battle of Mine Creek.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. B. CLARK, JR.,
 Brigadier-General, Commanding Division.
Lieut. Col. L. A. MACLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Price's Army.