4th Missouri Company E, CSA/MSG

 

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This is a long correspondence. It contains my, Scott George, and Jim Bearden’s AAR.

Bentonville battle of Elk Horn Tavern was a great way to finish the season. I hope everyone attending enjoyed it as much as I did. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everyone’s attendance. It made for a wonderful event.

The Good:

  1. Attendance. Our numbers kept growing as the weekend went on. Even after people left our numbers increased as more arrived.
  2. Drilling: Even though we did a lot of drilling which is harder on you than it is on me, no one complained.
  3. Period experience. Everyone had their period personification going when the fighting began.
  4. We fought hard and stayed our ground. The second battle on Saturday we showed the Yanks how to fight. I thought they would never come out those woods. I don’t think anyone had any ammunition left at the end of that battle.
  5. Sunday’s battle was grand. Even though we had to charge up that hill three times and the officers on the horse weren’t getting tired.
  6. I liked how every one of us and the 9th Texas would duck instinctually when the Yanks would fire. It looked great. The whole right wing of the battalion would duck at once. You gentlemen did great.
  7. Music around the campfire. It doesn’t get better than that.
  8. The weather was perfect.
  9. Brevet appointments. Everyone did an exceptional job taking on the duties of the rank above them.

The Bad:

  1. Wearing blue.
  2. Me trying to keep beat to Jake’s fiddle playing.

The Ugly

  1. Wearing blue for the 3rd time this year.

Picture courtesy of Captain Brian Cox.

 

Major Sam Looney,

 

In our last engagement near Pea Ridge the lads performed with great distinction and honor.

The majority of the 4th Missouri arrived in good order Friday night. Amazingly enough our wagons arrived at the same time and most of the men had tents to sleep in. Saturday morning after a fine breakfast the company was inspected and drilled. The men did a fine job. At or about 1PM the battalion formed and moved out to meet an enemy force attacking the rear of our camp. The 4th MO was chosen to be the number one company. As the enemy approached we where asked to form up as skirmishers. Being long out of practice we still accomplished our task. The after a few volleys with the enemy we where required to retire to form up with the battalion. The Yanks pushed us back until we had had enough and then we pushed the Yanks off the field. We had one officer and 6 men killed.

We went back to camp and cleaned our weapons and restocked our ammunition.

At 4PM we again where called on to face the enemy. As a small detachment stalled the enemy on the bridge to cross over, our battalion prepared ourselves for a heavy fight. With more troops stationed in the woods to the enemy’s right and our left we drew them into our trap. Although we took heavy losses the in a withdrawal the enemy was able to ascertain that we weren’t the full army facing them. Three of their scouts where captured. Our supporting guns where captured and turned on us. As our losses mounted and ammunition depleted and we where in a most desperate situation the trap was finally sprung. The enemy was hit in their right flank while we continued to hammer them head on. It proved too much for them and they broke. As we pursued we took some canister from the enemy’s guns. Losses where high. Even though we won the battle it wasn’t worth what we went through to fight the battle. We lost 13 men.

After the battle we returned to camp to eat supper and clean our weapons. We had a fine meal with much to share with our comrades in arms. Heard some fine music and headed to bed. A small engagement was held that evening but the 4th MO was not asked to participate so we didn’t.

After a fine breakfast Sunday Morning we had a church service. Several men of the 4th volunteered for a game of rounders. By my understanding a combined team of Missourians and Arkansans wiped a group of Yanks.

Our final battle was to march across an open field and charge up a hill by Elkhorn’s Tavern. The men preformed bravely and beautifully. We march across the open field with out a single causality. We maneuvered to right of the dastardly Yanks. With each charge up the hill we took more and more causalities. We did reach the fence and drive the Yanks up into the woods. But they mounted a counter attack that drove us from their works. I lost 11 men, 4 wounded, 2 mortally, and 5 dead.

As we march toward Mississippi it is difficult understand how we could lose such a fight. I am sure we will have plenty of time to prove ourselves again.

Men in Attendance:

Capt. Daniel Keith

1st Sgt Jim Moran

2nd Sgt Scott George

1st Cpl Charles Gentry

2nd Cpl Chris Warwick

Pvt Travis Archie

Pvt Kellyn Bailey (Sun)

Pvt Diz Carver

Pvt John Duff

Cpl Travis Franklin

Pvt Wes Franklin

Pvt Gregg Gentry (Sat)

Pvt Ed George

Pvt Gary "Goobs" Gibson

Pvt Justin Hall (Sun)

Pvt David Hunt

Pvt Scott Holloway (Sat)

Pvt Dan Keesler

Pvt Robert Martineau

Pvt Joel Messina (Sun)

Pvt John Morrow

Pvt Joel Sappington

Pvt Robert Serio (Sun)

Pvt James Schatzely

Pvt Jacob Simpson

Women in attendance:

Kim Brueggemann

Carolyn Carver

Debi Cornog

Heather Duff & Family

Cheryl Franklin

Michelle Hilderbrand

Carol Price

Terri Spencer

 

Scott George’s AAR edited by Daniel Keith

 

Captain Keith,

Co. E of the 4th MO Inf advanced to Pea Ridge in good order with few stragglers. Saturday morning saw soldiers with more expected as the day progressed. Very pleased. Several soldiers returned to action after convalescing for a number of years. We were glad to welcome them back into the ranks. Travis and Jake, after serving years as musicians, carried rifles with honor and great skill. In addition, several new recruits saw the elephant in a major action. James, a friend of Joel, joined on the spot, was outfitted with spare uniforms and weapons, and went into action in the second battle.

On Saturday morning, the Company performed company level drill resulting in outstanding performance during battalion level drill later that morning.

After a hearty lunch, the brigade began a march to seek out the enemy. The 4th MO had the honor of being the first company in the column. We bumped into the Yankees in a meeting engagement from our right flank. The brigade performed By Right of Company into Line in good order facing the enemy. Artillery deployed and began to soften up the enemy positions. Cavalry kept the enemy cavalry at bay. The 4th was deployed as skirmishers screening the brigade as it deployed and forcing the enemy to deploy his troops. The brigade attacked with élan and drove the enemy from the field. Unfortunately, our good Captain was a casualty during one of the assaults forcing Brevet 1st Lt. George to assume command. I’m pleased to report the Company continued to fight as a unit conducting itself with honor until the enemy was driven from the field. To show our stamina and spirit, the General ordered the brigade to conduct a demonstration for supportive spectators, from the nearby town of Bentonville, including a bayonet charge. We returned to our camps for much needed rest.

Later that day, the 1st MO Battalion was ordered to galvanize. (Spit here.) We marched out of camp to join with another battalion. This General is a crafty fox. He ordered the other battalion into the woods and up a ridge. He then ordered us to deploy at intervals to cover the entire brigade front giving the appearance that both battalions were present. As the enemy attacked across a creek, they drove in our pickets capturing some who did not give way as ordered. The battalion, now facing an entire brigade, gave way slowly drawing the enemy down the field. The cavalry did something for once capturing some field grade officers who came out too far to reconnoiter our positions. Outnumbered three to one, we were pressed hard and lost a battery of guns that were later turned on us. I regret to report that one soldier broke and ran. He was shot and wounded; but, managed to escape. Later reports stated that he was captured by the enemy and subsequently executed. Such is the fate of all who fail to do their duty. As the enemy continued to press our outnumbered forces, we fell back on a second line of guns allowing us to stabilize the position. Suddenly, the other battalion swung out of the woods falling on the enemy’s right flank with a fury. That was our signal to attack with our remaining forces causing the enemy to retire with haste. Unfortunately, a final blast of canister, from the captured guns, decimated our ranks. We limped back to camp to lick our wounds. A hollow victory indeed.

Sunday morning dawned with new recruits and returning veterans, including, Justin Hall and Robert Serio, swelling our ranks. After a sumptuous breakfast, we attended a church service headed by our dear Captain recovered from his wounds. There was a good turnout as many soldiers and nearby civilians heard the Good Word and received assurance of our Salvation. Much refreshed, we formed for battle to drive the enemy from our soil. Once again, the blue bellies were on the strategic offense and tactical defense by cowardly hiding behind a barricade on the side of the hill. Anchoring their left was the Elk Horn Tavern along the Old Wire Road. At the top of the hill, we could see a prosperous farmer’s home complete with a private swimming hole. No doubt the blue bellies had driven the good farmer from his home while despoiling everything they touched. Every soldier was promised a refreshing dip in the swimming hole once we drove the Yankees out and reached the hilltop. We attacked in good order making several assaults before driving the enemy away from the barricades. Unfortunately, they reformed, at the edge of some woods, pouring a withering fire down on us just as we ran out of ammunition. We slipped away to re-supply and resume the campaign another day.

Good

v   The weather. Absolutely wonderful. Hunter’s moon for hunting blue bellies.

v   Outstanding camp site close to parking and sutlers.

v   Two battalions of Ark. Boys. Very cool.

v   Outstanding turn-out by the 4th. We had 22 on Sunday. Can you believe it?

v   Three recruits saw the elephant.

v   Dobber, returned to action

v   The food was great. Saturday lunch was outstanding.

v   Outstanding casualty presentations by the Travis’s (Franklin and Archie)

v   As our ranks swelled, the NCOs’ stepped up to ensure safety and train the soldiers properly.

Bad

v   Too close to Yankee camp. And, they were up wind. Whew.

v   Long walk to port-a-johns. Hey, the General was close to them. That’s something, isn’t it?

Ugly

v   Wearing blue for the THIRD time this year. Enough already.

 

Your Most Obedient Servant,

 

Brevet 1st Lt. Scott George,

 

Co. E, 4th MO Inf.

 

AAR by Cpl Jim Bearden of the 1st MO Dismounted.

Captain, this report was delayed cause our army retreated after the battle.  This Cpl. arrived in camp Friday evening after a long day of travel.  Numerous Federal patrols were avoided in order to reach our campsite and prevent alerting the Federals of our position and numbers.  This Cpl. expected our small company to be combined with another company for the coming battle.  You can imagine my surprise to learn that other companies would combine with our company instead.  Further, this Cpl. was promoted to First Sgt. for the combined company.  The following companies formed this unit, 1st. MO. Dism., 2nd. MO., 3rd. MO., and 16th. MO.  The company consisted of 2 Officers, 2 NCO's, 12 Privates, and 1 lad.  All in all the men performed well for not having worked together before.  Friday night was a cool night and the fire was kept burning all night.  Saturday morning found fog in the valley of our camp.  Morning reports were given to the battalion, breakfast eaten, and the company fell in for battalion parade.  After parade and battalion drill, the company returned to camp and prepared for battle.  Two battles were fought on Saturday.  In the first, our forces greatly outnumbered the Federals.  They were soon forced to retreat and we held the field.  After the battle, our brigade showed some of the locals what a bayonet charge looked like up close and personal.  Later after lunch, by some strange turn of events our battalion went from gray to blue.  This made the afternoon battle more even in numbers.  Our battalion fought hard and showed the other Federals how good Missouri troops perform in blue or gray.  Evening was spent cleaning weapons, and preparing supper.  The night was cool again and the fire felt good to everyone. 

Sunday morning started at 7AM.  Morning reports, breakfast, parade and church.  I am hurt to report that some of the men chose not to fall in with the company on Sunday.  They may have had reasons but they were missed in the ranks.  I am proud of the rest of the company for their dedication and service to the cause.  After lunch, we fought the afternoon battle.  The Federals held the high ground and we were determined to drive them off.  Our company was given the honor of going forward as skirmishers.  We moved forward to the base of the hill and kept up a hot fire on the Federals.  The Brigade moved forward and we moved up the hill as well.  Several charges were made and one reached the fence pushing the Federals back.  The Federals counterattacked and pushed us back.  We wanted to hit them again but our General would not allow it.  We retreated.  That retreat delayed this report, my sincere regret.

The good. 

 

  1. Location-beautiful area
  2. Numbers-the battalion was well represented and combined with the other battalions the brigade looked good.
  3. Weather-about as good as it gets.
  4. Our company-our men did us proud.  They worked well with the other companies and fought hard in all the battles.
  5. Captain Cox of the 9th. Texas.  Wounded during Saturday battle he returned to lead his company on Sunday.

The bad

  1. The water-wish they could come up with something besides plastic jugs.
  2. Attitudes-folks need to leave them at home.  We are in this because we want to but we are part of a military unit.  We must conduct ourselves as soldiers and follow the orders of our NCOs and Officers.  Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way.

Yours in the service of the cause

Corporal Jim Bearden

 

 

Captain Daniel Keith

4th Mo Co E, Inf

Missouri State Guard

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