Thursday, May 19, 2011

They Came in Time to Save Their Regimental Brethren

This entry comes from The War of the Rebellion:  A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,  Series I, Volume XIII.

Peter J. Osterhaus  participated as a leader in some notable battles during the War.  He is one of the lesser known Union generals, but considered one of the more competent ones.  A native German, he was a volunteer soldier.

Here Osterhaus describes a confrontation that men under his command were in, the Skirmish at Searcy Landing, Arkansas.   He was a Colonel at the time, but soon to become a General.

MAY 19 1862
Report of Col. Peter J. Osterhaus, Twelfth Missouri Infantry, commanding Third Division, to Maj. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, Commanding Army of the Southwest, in the Field.

GENERAL: After a very bloody skirmish I have the honor to report on the occurrences of to-day: 
. . . .Colonel Waring had detailed this morning a strong detachment of his regiment to protect a foraging party sent on the south side of Red River. Some infantry accompanied the expedition also. A few miles from the camp they fell in with a large force of the enemy. They opened fire at once, and the infantry (only parts of two companies of the Seventeenth Missouri Volunteers) stood their ground, notwithstanding they were completely wrapped up in the masses of the rebels. The lire attracted the attention of Colonel Hassendeubel, who had command at Searcy Landing, and he detailed at once all the companies of the Seventeenth Missouri at his disposal to succor their friends. They came in time to save the rest of their regimental brethren, and soon succeeded in driving the enemy from the field. 

Our loss is comparatively very large. The forces engaged on our side did not exceed 250 to 300 men, and the casualties amount in Companies A, F, G, H, Seventeenth Missouri Volunteers, to killed, 14; wounded, 31; missing, 2; total, 47. In the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, killed, 1; wounded, 1.

The fight having been at very close quarters, the wounds are mostly severe and dangerous. One man had sixteen buck-shot in his shoulder, and is still living.

The loss of the enemy, whose strength is differently reported by our men and prisoners at from 700 to 1,200, could not be ascertained. They left 18 killed on the spot. 

When, after the first encounter, our ambulances were sent out for the wounded, the atrocious enemy received them with their shots again, attacked them, took the mules, broke the ambulances, and made Dr. Krumsick, Third Missouri Volunteers, a prisoner. Immediately after my arrival I sent the available cavalry in pursuit of the retreating foe, and marched myself, with twelve companies of infantry, one light 12- pounder howitzer, and two companies of cavalry, toward Searcy and beyond, but the enemy had gone probably to his old camping ground, behind Bayou Des Arc, whence they had started this morning very early.. . .

From the Library of Congress Collection

No comments:

Post a Comment