Rockwell Rains

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Rockwell Rains (from http://www.missouricivilwarmuseum.org/documents/carthage-rains-july1861.htm, with a special thanks to the Missouri Civil War Museum Organization.) HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION MISSOURI STATE GUARD, July 20, 1861. SIR: I have the honor to report to you the action of my division in the several engagements of the 5th instant. About 1 o'clock on the morning of the 5th I received an order from your excellency to take up the line of march at 4 a.m. southward towards Carthage, assigning my command to the right front. My force consisted of the First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Weightman, of the First Cavalry. This brigade was composed of Capt. Hiram Bledsoe's company of artillery (three pieces---- one 12-pounder and two 6-pounders), 40 men, and Captain McKinney's detachment of infantry, 16 men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser, of the First Infantry; Colonel Graves' independent regiment infantry, 271 men; Colonel Hurst's Third Regiment Infantry, 521 men, and Lieutenant-Colonel O'Kane's battalion of infantry, 350 men, being in all 1,204 strong. The cavalry brought on the field Consisted of Companies A and B and part-of H of the Third Cavalry, 115 men, commanded by Colonel Peyton, to whom was attached the companies of Captains Stone and Owens. The First Battalion of the Independent Cavalry. 250 men commanded by Colonel McCown; Lieutenant-Colonel Boughan's battalion of the Fourth Cavalry, 200 men, and Capt. Joseph O. Shelby's company of Rangers, 43 men, making a total of 1,812 men. The remaining portion Of my command, being unarmed, was used to present the appearance of a reserve corps and baggage guard. My division took up the line of march as ordered, and most of them without having prepared any breakfast. About 7 a.m., having marched some 5 miles, our scouts reported the enemy in force 3 miles in advance. I immediately went forward with some of my staff to reconnoiter their movements and examine the ground. -Perceiving that they were descending a slope towards a creek skirted on both sides with timber, I sent orders to Captain Shelby, who was in the advance, to halt and detain the whole command out of view, hoping that the enemy would cross the creek, when I could oblige them to take position in the bottom, while I drew up my force on the height commanding it. My expectations were realized, and after the enemy had crossed the creek I ordered Captain Shelby forward to check their advance. I then directed Colonel Weightman to deploy the brigade in order of battle on the ridge of prairie overlooking the enemy. This order was executed with celerity and precision, he placing Colonel Graves on the right, the artillery in the center, and Colonel Peyton to take position on the right of the First Brigade, and extend over their line as far as practicable towards the timber, the other division taking position on the left of my command. The ground upon which our army was drawn up was a high ridge of prairie, gently sloping southward, with undulations to a creek about one mile and a quarter distant. In front of our right was a large field of corn extending to the timber on the creek. The enemy, under command of Colonel Sigel, apparently about 2,000 strong, with seven pieces of artillery, took up their position on the north side of the creek, about three-quarters of a mile from the timber, and threw a few spherical-case shot at Captain Shelby's company, which was ordered back to the main line. This movement, conducted in the face of both armies, was executed with a precision worthy of the parade ground. I then sent this company to the extreme right, to reconnoiter the timber and examine for a crossing. The action commenced by the enemy opening a heavy fire from their battery. This was promptly responded to by the artillery of General Parsons' command which had unlimbered on the left of my division. Captain Bledsoe, under the direction of Colonel Weightman, then opened a steady and well-directed fire upon the densest of the enemy's masses, forcing them to take refuge in the depression of prairie and finally to retire some 200 yards, when Colonel Weightman promptly and gallantly advanced his whole brigade in battle order and reopened his fire from Captain Bledsoe's guns. By this time I had led the cavalry on the right through the corn field with a view of our flanking the enemy, or, if the ground was suitable, of charging their battery. The enemy opened with some execution a well-directed fire of grape and spherical-case shot upon our advancing column, which sustained itself with much gallantry, and Colonel Sigel, fearing that his army would be outflanked, and suffering very much from the rapid and well directed fire from Captain Bledsoe's battery, retired under cover of his battery across the creek. Colonel Weightman, in his report, speaks in the highest terms of the coolness and steadiness of the First Brigade throughout this portion of the engagement, and I bear grateful testimony as to the eagerness with which the cavalry desired to charge over the most unfavorable ground. Our loss up to this time was very small. Colonel Weightman, now joined by Colonel Hurst's regiment, advanced, and perceiving the enemy posted on a ridge beyond the creek, unlimbered Within 400 yards of the enemy's battery and opened upon them with round shot and canister, while the infantry advanced to engage the enemy at close quarters. This point was severely contested and the loss great. The officers of Captain Bledsoe's artillery are reported to have most gallantly served their guns in person, two of them (Lieutenants Wallace and Higgins) after being wounded; the latter falling exhausted under the muzzle of his piece. Lieutenant-Colonel O'Kane, in the most gallant style, pressed forward with his command, and, aided by a portion of General Clark's division, repulsed the enemy from their position. Colonel Sigel again commenced a retrograde movement, and retreated across a prairie 5 miles to Spring River, closely followed by the infantry and artillery. The cavalry under my command, joined by a regiment of General Slack's division, commanded by Colonel Rives, endeavored to outflank them on the right, but the retreat was so rapid as to defeat our object. On nearing Spring River we attempted to intercept the enemy's crossing, but they again opened a heavy and destructive fire from their artillery, which compelled us to take a crossing higher up, and, pushing forward, endeavored to surround the town. For the details of the actions of the First Brigade in their several contests for the city I refer you to the able report of Colonel Weight-man. As I was enabled to reach the rear of Carthage, I dismounted the whole command, who eagerly pressed to the support of their comrades engaged in town, and just arrived in time to see the complete rout of the enemy. Our loss in these engagements amounts to 44 killed and wounded. Lieutenant-Colonels Rosser and O'Kane and Captain Bledsoe are favorably introduced to my notice by Colonel Weightman, and I take great pleasure in seconding his recommendation, and ask leave to add to the list the name of Col. Richard H. Weightman as deserving a brevet for gallant and meritorious [conduct]. To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for their, gallant bearing and their dauntless zeal for the cause so dear to us all. The great object of our march is about complete, and, though commenced under difficulties that discourage many, yet, with a column of veteran troops threatening our rear and powerful force of the enemy in front, we can congratulate Ourselves on a victory which is but the prestige of our ultimate success. To Colonels McMertre [McMurtry?] and Woodard, Assistant Quartermaster Barkery, and others of my staff, I am indebted for their aid in conveying orders, and to my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel Maclean, for his assistance in the disposition of the forces and arrangement of the line of battle. The report of Colonel Weightman and other officers, along with the list of killed and Wounded, is hereby attached and made a part of this report. I am, sir, with much consideration, your obedient servant, JAMES S. RAINS, Brig. Gen., Comdg. Second Division Missouri State Guard. Brig. Gen. W. HOUGH, Adjutant-General Missouri State Guard.
Jan 27, 2009 · posted to the surname Rains