90                                  HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.

more than one rod distant from them; next morning the rebels had retreated, and nothing more was heard of them.

           The following is the official report, which give the particulars of the affair in detail:

September 1, 1862. }

COLONEL M. M. CROCKER, Commanding Post:

           I have the honor to report that about 7 o'clock, A. M., of August 30th, I received from you orders to take a portion of my command, one section of the Ninth Indiana Battery, and two companies of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, and drive back a force of rebel cavalry, reported to be about four hundred strong, upon the Grand Junction Road and near our lines.

           Colonel Force, of the Twentieth Ohio, having received information that a small rebel force was menacing our pickets, very properly took the responsibility in my absence of sending out two companies, under Major Fry of his command, to guard the lines and feel of the enemy. On arriving at my headquarters I immediately sent forty-five of my mounted infantry to support the two companies sent out by Colonel Force, and followed as rapidly as possible with the balance of the Twentieth Ohio, and three companies of the Seventy-Eighth Ohio, leaving orders for the remainder of the Seventy-Eighth Ohio to be ready to march at a moment's notice. The cavalry and artillery had orders to meet me at the picket post on the Grand Junction road, but on arriving at that point I found that neither had got there. I left the infantry at that point under command of Colonel Force, to escort the artillery, when it should arrive. With my staff I pressed rapidly on to the front, to prevent if possible an engagement until my main force could come up.

           When I reached the advance I found the two companies of the Twentieth Ohio and the mounted infantry deployed in a piece of woodland on the Van Buren road, about five and a-half miles from Bolivar, and briskly skirmishing with the enemy. I immediately discovered that we had been deceived as to the number of rebels, and sent back for the balance of my command to come forward as rapidly as possible. Shortly afterward the two companies of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under Major S. D. Peterbaugh, numbering in all forty men, came up.

           The nature of the ground being such that the cavalry could not be used, some twelve or fourteen of those who had carbines, dismounted and formed with the infantry. After driving the enemy steadily but slowly for three-fourths of a mile, I gained a position where I had a distinct view of the foe, and found that I was contending with a force of over six thousand, instead of three or four hundred. I then notified you of the fact, and asked for reinforcements, which were promptly supplied - but the distance from camp being over six miles, it necessarily took several hours to get infantry reinforcements upon the ground. At this time I would have withdrawn my little force from the contest, having

Intro Previous Next ToC Index