4th Missouri Company E, CSA/MSG

 AAR for Prairie Grove, AR December 6th & 7th 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen:

What a great weekend. This was a great way to finish the year. From Colonel (Ret) Ted Prater leading the company into battle, to beautiful weather, to a great Christmas party, to good times with my friends and pards, it truly was a fine event.

Colonel Prater showed up just to watch and enjoy the show. He finally relented to my constant request to lead the company into battle. From the moment he said “Attention! Company!” his eyes lit up. He never missed a step and the men responded to him beautifully. I must take a moment here and commend 1st Lieutenant Scott George for easily stepping back into the role of 3rd Sergeant without hesitation. He was slated to march on the field as 1st Lieutenant and it was one of the few times this year what we would have the number of troops for him to do that, yet with ease he graciously relinquished the role so that we could have the Colonel lead us into battle.  Colonel Prater commended the entire company on our drill and look. It was high praise.

The Christmas party was a joyous occasion. Debie, Michelle, Carolyn, and Cheryl worked very hard to make it happen. We had numerous comments about our Christmas tree and few men from other companies came over and took their picture beside it after it was decorated. I did appreciate everyone stepping in and helping with the decorations.

The battles where fine and it is always good to march on the original battle field.

The Good:

1.       Colonel Prater taking command.

2.       The Christmas party

3.       The presents presented by the ladies

4.       How well the 4th Missouri responded to each command.

5.       Just being with the men of the 4th.

6.       Being on the actual battle field

7.       Enjoying the company of the ladies around the camp fire.

The Bad:

1.       It was a wee bit cold at night.

2.       Me not taking a hit Saturday so I could say, “Forest, I am supposed to die on the battle field!” Then someone else saying, “You ain’t got no legs Lt Dan!”

The Ugly:

1.       Saturday, I was struggling to get up the hill half way and then looking and seeing at the top of the hill Col Prater saying “Come on 4th Missouri! Let’s Go!”

2.       Two men from the Missouri battalion actually being hurt. Both men are fine now but that is never a good thing.

 

Major Looney,

My compliments!

As you are well aware the battle for Prairie Grove, Arkansas was a desperate affair. Although we fought bravely in the end the field giving over to the enemy. It saddens my heart to once again fight bitter and to have victory with our grasp and in the end have to give up the field in which our blood was literally spilled.

On Saturday early morning we woke to a crisp clear day.  The 4th drilled early and then the battalion was asked to drill as a whole. After our drilling I asked Col (ret) Ted Prater to take command of the company for the coming day’s battle. Right after taking control of the company the Colonel was right at home. The men knew they had commander made of iron. The 4th Missouri was placed at the head of the column of the battalion. I, acting as Lt. for the 4th, gave much thought to the ease of said role.  The Missouri battalion was placed to east of the main army. As our Arkansas brethren hammered the unionist from the front we held back and waited. After a short wait enemy cavalry engaged us. They quickly fell back to their own lines not wanting to tangle with an entire battalion. To their infantry counter parts dismay they actually masked our approach. We quickly enveloped the Yankee’s left flank. They determining the hopelessness of their position and smartly pulled back away from the homestead. We pushed them down the hill until cannon fire bid our stoppage. Our causalities where 3 enlisted men killed, 1 wounded and 1 deserted.

Saturday evening the battalion officers met for a fine chat and toast to our battalion and our great cause. After we broke the 4th Missouri itself had its own Christmas party.  We had fashioned a tree that was the envy of the battalion. Then we decorated it. Then the presents where exchanged. A fine meal was served. The party was finished with the singing of come carols. I personally, later attended the dance put on by the locals and much fun was had by all.

On Sunday morning we had another fine breakfast then the men where drilled by Lt George. Our Sunday battle was one of surprise and heartache. First our colors fell by cannon fire. Then the enemy hit our flank as we approached the unprotected guns of the federals. The entire battalion was quickly called to check the advance of the blue. A truce was called to extract some wounded, then the battle continued. At first we stood our ground but slowly had to give way back up the hill.  It was devastating to loose such hallowed ground bought with such valiant blood. Our causalities where 1 officer killed, 8 enlisted men killed, 4 wounded, one of the 4 deserted.

After the battle General Huckabee gave the men a rousing speech and we dispersed to our homes and winter quarters.

We await further command from the Colonel Amend on operations to commence this coming year. On the 3rd weekend of March of this new year the 4th will gather at the Nathan Boone homestead near Ash Grove, MO for drilling and the like.

Your obedient servant,

Captain Daniel Keith

4th Missouri, Company E Infantry CSA

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