Today in History:

19 Series I Volume XLI-I Serial 83 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part I


the enemy, who repeatedly obstructed their path with superior numbers. We have paid the last honors to the dead. Their memories will never perish.

By order of Brigadier General N. B. Buford:


Assistant Adjutant-General.

No. 7. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Moses Reed, Fifty-sixth U. S. Colored Troops.


GENERAL: I have the honor to communicate to you the following report of an engagement at Wallace's Ferry, on Big Creek, twenty-two miles south of west of Helena, Ark., on the 26th day of July, 1864, between a Federal force consisting of 315 infantry, two pieces of artillery, and 130 cavalry,all under the command of Colonel W. S. Brooks, Fifty-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry, and a Confederate force under the command of General Dobbin, numbering at least 1,500 cavalry and mounted infantry:

We arrived within three-quarters of a mile of Big Creek at 3 a.m. of the 26th instant. Made a reconnaissance across the creek at daylight, but failing to find an enemy there, and gathering from citizens and negroes the information that the enemy had left the day before in the direction of Cotton Plant, we recrossed the creek, threw out pickets, and in an hour were unexpectedly attacked by an enemy largely our superior in numbers, who advanced upon us from three sides at the same time. We formed our lines and held our position for about four hours under a severe and continuous fire from the enemy, their lines being in some places not more than fifty yards from our own. The fight was severe until about 10 o'clock, when a detachment of the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry,under Major Carmichael, came to our assistance, cutting their way directly through the enemy's lines to reach us. On their arrival the enemy gave way on our right, and, after consultation with Major Carmichael, who represented that Shelby's command was in our rear with from 4,000 to 6,000 men, that could be concentrated in an hour or two, and brought to bear upon us, I determined to retreat, which was effected by officers and men of the command in a gallant and successful manner. The enemy continually pressed us on all sides, we marching in line of battle, keeping up a constant running fight to within eleven miles of Helena, where we found them in force on our front white they were also pressing us heavily from the rear. We immediately engaged them in front, driving them handsomely for two miles, when they withdrew and did not again molest us. The enemy here lost 7 killed.

I regret to state that a few minutes after the fight opened, Captain J. F. Lembke, Second U. S. Colored Artillery (light), was killed, and Colonel W. S. Brooks, Fifty-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry,and Adjutant Pratt, of the Sixtieth U. S. Colored Infantry, both fell mortally wounded and expired on the field. Soon after, Surg. J. C. Stoddard, Fifty-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry, while examining the wound of Colonel Brooks, was instantly killed,and First Lieutenant A. B. Crane, Fifty-sixth U. S. Colored Infantry, commanding Company D, fell severely wounded. These