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21 Series I Volume XLVIII-I Serial 101 - Powder River Expedition Part I


JANUARY 4-27, 1865. -Expedition from Brownsville to Augusta, Ark.

Report of Colonel Washington F. Geiger, Eighth Missouri Cavalry, commanding expedition.


Brownsville, Ark., January 29, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the general commanding, that, in obedience to orders received from Brigadier General E. A. Carr, U. S. Volunteers, at the time of their issue commanding the District of Little Rock, dated December 29, 1864, I started from Brownsville on Wednesday, the 4th instant, with a force composed of detachments of the Eighth and Eleventh Missouri and Ninth Iowa Cavalry; in all 1,050 effective men. The command commenced moving at 8 a. m. on the Brownsville and Austin road; reached Austin at 1. 30 p. m., when a short halt was made. The day's march was continued on the Searcy road to a point about four miles from the former place, where I camped for the night, halting at 4 p. m. The whole distance traveled was fourteen miles and a half. The roads were generally in good condition, no difficulty being had in crossing wagons, except in the wood near the outer edge of the prairie near Brownsville. The weather was pleasant. The next morning I commenced moving at 7. 30 o'clock, at which time it commenced raining, and continued to rain without cessation all day. The route traveled was rough and toward the latter part of the day's march exceedingly bad, the roads being entirely covered with water to the depth of from six to eighteen inches, with bogs and miry ground. Owing to the fact that the bridge over Bull Bayou o the main road was destroyed I was obliged to make a detour to the right of about three miles and to cross the bayou at a point by Davis' house, which was reached at 12 m. Much difficulty was experienced in crossing on account of the steep bank, muddy in high stage of water, and roughness of the bridge. The command reached Quarles' Bridge at 3 p. m., near which point the Searcy road wasd leading in an east-southeasterly direction was taken and followed till 5 p. m., when the command encamped for the night on Gooderidge's plantation. Owing to the unprecedented state of the to remain at Watkins', four miles from Gooderidge's. It rained and snowed incessantly all day and night, and the roads were in an almost impassable condition-entirely so, in fact, for the train. The distance traveled was seventeen miles. On the 6th of January, the third day out, the train, owing to the almost impassable state of the roads, was sent back to Searcy, and thence to West Point, at which point I arrived safely on the morning of the 7th instant. My advance left camp for West Point at 8 a. m., where it arrived at 10 a. m., at which hour also the steamer Ella, which had been sent to ferry the command across the Red River, arrived. The main column reached West Point at 3. 30 p. m., having left Gooderidge's at 12 m. The distance from this point to West Point is six miles and a half. The road was entirely submerged and the ground low, boggy, and swampy. Immediately on my arrival I made arrangements to cross the command the next day, which was successfully accomplished by 2 p. m. of the 8th instant. I then moved up the river road to Hitcher's place, two miles and a half from West Point, where I encamped for the night. The road was in good order and the weather excellent. On the 9th instant the march was resumed