Sunday, May 25, 2003

Official Records : Page 244 | OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

BATTLE OF BECKWITH FARM

CAMP LYIN, BIRD'S POINT, MO., October 15, 1861.
SIR: Pursuant to orders, I proceeded, with 26 men of my company (Captain Noleman's Centralia Cavalry), on a scout out upon the Rushes Ridge road, taking a direction towards the Beckwith farm. When mounted rebels, about 100 strong, supposed to be Mississippi or Tennessee Mounted Rifles, armed with breech-loading rifles and revolvers. My advance guard, after giving the usual signal (the enemy continuing to advance), discharged their carbines and fell back upon the column. We were moving down the road through a clearing, the enemy being in the timber. I immediately ordered the advance, and advanced into the open timber, taking a position within 180 yards of where the enemy were forming, and engaged the enemy, who were partly concealed by dense underbrush and heavy timer. The enemy poured a rapid fire upon our position until we were nearly surrounded and our ammunition almost exhausted. We then retired, the enemy following close upon our rear, and engaged my rear guard for about 1 1/2 miles, when the enemy retreated. We brought our wounded men and horses off of the field, with the exception of Corporal H. H. Fletcher, his horse, equipments, and arms. Corporal Fletcher was shot in the temple, some distance in awards discovered still living by Dr. Baker, residing in the vicinity, and by him removed to his residence. Private Louis Krenyhoff received a flesh wound in the arm, the ball passing across the chest and lodging inside the shirt. Several others received slight scotches from shattered balls. The horses of Privates J. Copeland, S. T. Maxy, W. Hutter, and E. T. Amadan were mortally wounded and left on the road. Seven other horses were wounded more or less seriously. The enemy on their retreat stripped Corporal Fletcher of his arms and spurs. Two others lost their carbines. The loss of the enemy, as near as could be ascertained, was from 6 to 10 men either killed or seriously wounded, including the officer in command. Of their horses one was left dead upon the field and others taken off evidently wounded. My men deserve great praise for the coolness, bravery, and implicit obedience to my commands exhibited throughout the engagement, several of whom stood firmly, receiving the fire of the enemy, with by one shot held in reserve, and awaiting my orders. They retired in as good order as circumstances would permit, the rear guard contesting their ground nobly.

Respectfully, &c.,

S. P. TUFTS,

Lieutenant, Commanding Expedition.

Colonel W. H. L. WALLACE, Commanding.

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