Monday, August 6, 2012

Colonel Grenville M. Dodge to Samuel J. Kirkwood, Governor of Iowa, March 10, 1862

PEA RIDGE BATTLE GROUND, March 10th, 1862.

Gov. S. J. Kirkwood: We have fought a hard battle here, lasting two days; the first day's fight was terrible; it was mostly with the Fourth division, composed of Fourth and Ninth Iowa infantry, First and Second Iowa batteries, Thirty-fifth Illinois and Twenty-fifth Missouri. The loss in the division was 600 killed and wounded, mostly among the Iowa troops; they saved the day and made the victory the next morning easy; this division was opposed to Generals Price, Rains and McIntosh, with 15,000 infantry and 18 pieces of artillery. The Fourth division had only some 4,000 engaged, while our other forces were fighting McCullough, and the re-enforcements sent to us went to the First division, but we held the ground, whipped the enemy and Iowa got the glory of the fight. The Fourth Iowa lost 160 out of 548 engaged; Ninth Iowa lost 220 out of 700 engaged; First Iowa battery lost 16 out of 110 engaged, and Third Iowa battery lost 18 out of 140 engaged; they also lost 3 of their pieces. The second day we attacked early in the morning with our entire army, driving everything before us, and the enemy fled in all directions in great confusion, leaving several pieces of artillery, great quantities of small arms and at least 500 prisoners. Gen. Van Dorn attacked with 40,000 infantry and 70 pieces of artillery; we had 12,000, and 50 pieces of artillery. The fighting was terrible, especially among our troops. The Fourth Iowa fought all day steadily, and did not give an inch, although they had at one time concentrated upon them 12 pieces of artillery and six regiments of infantry; our ammunition gave out at night; when we fixed bayonets and charged across the field the enemy did not dare again meet us. It was a trying time for the Fourth; no ammunition and still under a galling fire. Every one gives great credit to the Iowa troops. No man from Iowa flinched. I saw some troops run; one or two parts of regiments came to our support, but fell back at the first fire. In my brigade there was not a field officer except one but was wounded. Lt.-Col. Herron, of Ninth Iowa, in Vandever's brigade, was wounded and taken prisoner. Our Iowa batteries did noble service; mine had two officers wounded in the morning. The Third Iowa cavalry suffered terribly in a charge; had 47 killed. They were put into it by a Dutchman, and out of all military usage. Lt.-Col. Trumbull was severely wounded in the charge. They had very few wounded; a large part of my wounded was from canister and grape; those of the Ninth Iowa from bullets. I was better protected from bullets, though under a hotter fire than any of them. I posted my men behind an open field and made the enemy cross it to reach us. They poured their grape and canister from 12 to 18 guns into us all the time, but could not get them to bear as well as on the Ninth Iowa. I never saw men fight as the Iowa troops did. I have sent a list of the killed and wounded to Adjt. Gen. Baker to have it published. A large number of my wounded will die; several have already, and it is impossible to get any accommodation; many lay on the field all night.

Colonel Fourth Iowa Infantry.

SOURCES: Samuel H. M. Byers, Iowa In War Times, p. 121

No comments: