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Sesquicentennial of Marmduke's 1st Missouri Raid/Expedition

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Red Harvest, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Apr 10, 2012
    January 8 and January 11, 1863 marked two key dates in the first of the great cavalry raids into Missouri. On January 8 one wing of the the raid under Marmaduke and including veterans under Shelby was repulsed by a hastily gathered force of Union soldiers, local militia, militia cavalry and convalescents at the Second Battle of Springfield, Missouri. On January 11, the other wing was heavily engaged at Hartville, Missouri with both sides claiming victory. With Union forces gathering, Marmaduke began an arduous retreat into Arkansas.

    Following the defeat of Hindman's forces in Northwest Arkansas in December 1862 at Prairie Grove, the Confederates fell back to winter quarters in Lewisburg, Arkansas leaving a small force in Van Buren. Hindman was soon surprised to find the Federals pushing toward Van Buren and Fort Smith. He assigned his cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Sappington Marmaduke the task of relieving the pressure by striking the Federal supply line between Springfield and Rolla, Missouri (the railhead.)

    Marmaduke set out on December 31, 1862 from Lewisburg with 1600 troopers of Colonel J.O. Shelby's Iron Brigade, 270 men of Colonel Emmett MacDonald's regiment, and a section of artillery under Collins. The other prong of the attack was launched from Pocahontas, Arkansas consisting of Col. Joseph C. Porter's command of 825 men and a section of artillery. Porter's orders were to link up with Marmaduke in Hartville.

    As the mounted Confederates set out through northern Arkansas they swept up Unionist forces and guerrillas in their path. A number of small isolated garrisons and blockhouses were overwhelmed along the way, including at Lawrence Mill and Ozark. However, the big prize was the supply depot at Springfield, Missouri. This was the launching point for the projection of Federal control into southwest, Missouri and into northwest Arkansas.

    Unfortunately for the Trans-Mississippi Confederates, an accomplished 14th Missouri State Militia cavalry commander, Capt. Milton Burch, became aware of the raid, and began withdrawing, sending word back to the Federal district commander in Springfield that a large mounted army was on its way.

    The Second Battle of Springfield
    Brig. Gen. Egbert Brown (yes, that is really his name...see his picture, his head sort of resembles an egg) had to determine whether to meet the onslaught or withdraw his command while he still could, and destroy the depot. He chose to fight. Miscellaneous elements coalesced in the incomplete Springfield fortifications. The 72nd and 74th Enrolled Missouri Militia were ordered to report. And from the 1200 sick and wounded in the Union hospitals, 400 convalescents formed into four companies which they referred to as the "Quinine Brigade." These were armed from the arsenal. The more traditional forces consisted of the 3rd Missouri State Militia cavalry, a battalion of the 14th MSM cavalry, the 4th MSM cav, and several companies of the 18th Iowa infantry. In all Brown could muster 2099 men and five pieces of field artillery...three of them improvised.

    Several forts in various states of completion protected the town from attack primarily from the South. One of the convalescents, a Lt. Hoffman from Backoff's 1st Missouri Light Artillery supervised construction of a crude battery from two old iron howitzer tubes and one six-pounder gun. He then began training gun crews pulled primarily from the infantry to man the improvised pieces.

    Brown deployed his cavalry to the south of the town on the morning of January 8, awaiting the raiders. Shelby approached and deployed a dismounted battle line of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Missouri cavalry (500 men each) with the 100 men of Elliot's Scouts held in reserve. The section of Collin's artillery awaited in the center of the line. At 10 am MacDonald's command arrived and deployed on the left.

    Brown recognized that about a dozen homes south of Fort No. 4 could be used as outposts to sieze the fort, so he had them burned.

    By 1 pm firing was occurring across the line. MacDonald's forces pushed back some infantry from some homes and began applying pressure. Brown responded with mounted charges at various points on the line that pushed the rebels back briefly but were soon being repulsed. Realizing that his mounted force could not dislodge the rebels, Brown recalled them to take their places in the incomplete rifle pits and line.

    MacDonald's men had become disorganized from their own attack and were soon in trouble. Shelby sent two of his regiments (nearly two-thirds of his force) rushing to their aid at the same time Brown was withdrawing his cavalry. The momentum of the attack soon drew the antagonists in front of Fort No. 4 where some companies of the 18th Iowa and a single six pounder under Captain Landis awaited. The men of the 18th were soon dislodged and fled to the fort. But Landis and his crew remained until he was shot down by swarming Confederates, taking Confederate Major Bowman with him. The Rebels carried away the piece, minus the friction primers.

    The Confederates took several buildings around the fort, but could not take the fort. They shifted their attack and pressed ahead on the Union right. They took an old college that had been inexplicably left unmanned and used it as a strongpoint.

    The Quinine Brigade and the 72nd EMM advanced leaving their fortified brick buildings near the city square. They soon engaged Shelby's men and gave good account of themselves taking heavy casualties for a spirited stand. Eventually they fled to the rear with most of their field officers cut down, but amazingly they reformed and returned to the fight.

    Fighting now shifted to building-to-building exchanges and the rebel advance halted.
    At 3:30 pm with the situation critical Brown rode out in front of his men with his escort, brashly exposing himself to enemy fire before withdrawing. A short while later he was struck in the arm by fire from a building and dismounted. He turned over command to Col. Crabbe.

    Finally at 5 pm with nightfall approaching, Shelby attempted to break the stalemate by assaulting Fort No. 4 and along the entire line. The Federals wavered in several places, but at this moment, a portion of the 18th Iowa held in reserve in defense of the large "impregnable" Fort No. 1 to the northwest (where many of the stores had been moved) advanced and joined the fight at a yell. In the failing light the Confederates believed this might be a relief force, and their attack collapsed.

    As night set in firing diminished, the rebels withdrew from their advanced positions. Marmaduke now had reason to believe the enemy in his front had been reinforced, that a force marching from the Union Army of the Frontier might soon block his path south, and he had not yet heard from Porter's command. Early the next morning, Marmduke ordered a withdrawal to the northeast attempting to disrupt the telegraph and rail before moving toward Hartville to find Porter. Not all of his men got the message and several were captured in town, including a Lt. of Collins' battery.

    Brown had won an important victory with a scratchforce against seasoned veterans. The cost was 30 men killed or mortally wounded, 195 were wounded, 6 MIA. Uncharacteristcally, the 72nd EMM, a true part-time militia had suffered the most for its defiant stand, with 21% casualties. As was the norm, Confederate casualties are poorly documented. Marmaduke admitted incomplete records and 20 known killed, but various accounts of the dead and wounded left on the field show that to be only a fraction of the losses. Dr. Melcher stated that 80 rebels were eventually interred.

    ...next, to Hartville

    Source: Summarized version by myself of Frederick W. Goman's, Up from Arkansas, Marmaduke's First Missouri Raid Including the Battles of Springfield and Hartville, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation, 1999.
    Missouri 1st likes this.

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  3. kholland

    kholland Captain Forum Host Trivia Game Winner Retired Moderator

    Feb 13, 2011
    Howard County, Maryland
    Interesting post. I see that the south had an "Iron Brigade" also.
  4. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Apr 10, 2012
    I have to admit, I haven't yet tried to determine exactly when or how they gained the appellation...but you have my curiosity piqued now to find out when the name first arose. However, they were from late 1862 on the most formidable brigade fielded by the CSA in the Trans-Mississippi. Shelby's men saved Sterling Price's bacon several times in the massive 1864 Missouri raid.

    Egbert Brown beat Shelby twice in less than a year (if you count the Second Battle of Springfield which was under Marmaduke's overall command.) However, Brown was rather conventional/conservative in his opinion of how to combat guerrillas and raids, which put him in conflict with various other Union officers during the ACW and limited his efficacy. He was eventually relieved for lack of aggression and there is some legitimate support for the charge, although it is by nature subjective. He seems to have been a good man, not necessarily the best for prosecuting a war against guerrillas and raiders...but he also had some impressive successes.
  5. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Apr 10, 2012
    The other pincer of Marmaduke's expedition under Joseph C. Porter was delayed. Porter had learned of a Federal force gathering at Houston, Missouri and altered his route to avoid confronting it before he had gained contact with Marmaduke's command. While Porter's brigade originally consisted of 825 men and a section of artillery, along the march some of the unshod mounts had to be sent home reducing the force to 700.

    Porter was by this time an experienced and wiley officer who had served as a Lt. Col. in the Missouri State Guard in 1861, and had raised a large mounted force of recruits in northeast Missouri in the Summer and Fall of 1862. His recruiting command had been pursued by the MSM cavalry and other Federal regiments there, fighting several small but severe engagements. The force was finally dispersed at Kirksville in one of the largest battles in Missouri in 1862. The remnants eventually made for the Missouri River and many, including Porter reached Arkansas to fully organize the new recruits. The command Porter was now leading north consisted of Burbridge's regiment under Lt. Col. Wimer (former mayor of St. Louis), Greene's regiment under Lt. Col. Campbell, Jeffer's regiment under Col. Jeffers, and a section of Capt. Brown's battery.

    Porter's scouts reached Hartville on January 9 and the 37 man company of the Enrolled Missouri Militia promptly surrendered. Porter burned the blockhouse and awaited word from Marmaduke. Meanwhile Marmaduke had begun the march for Sand Springs and Marshfield, cutting the telegraph link between Rolla and Springfield. MacDonald's regiment arrived in Marshfield at 7 pm and destroyed its blockhouse fort. By 8 pm, Porter still had no news of Marmaduke's whereabouts, so he marched his command toward Marshfield, making camp only six miles from Hartville.

    On January 10 Marmaduke and Porter finally united. Porter's command was then ordered back to Hartville, where Lt. Col. Wimer of the advance guard intended to grind corn. But they would instead find a Federal force occupying the town. MacDonald's regiment followed Porter.

    Union Colonel Sam Merrill had been ordered to Springfield's relief on the morning of January 9. He set out with 880 men of the 99th Illinois Infantry, the 21st Iowa Infantry, detachments of the 3rd Iowa Cavalry, the 3rd Missouri Cavalry, and a section of Battery L of the 2nd Missouri Artillery. The infantry were carried by wagon to speed the march. The Federals arrived in Hartville on the evening of January 10 then moved West to Wood Fork to camp for the night.

    At 2 am on January 11 the two sides made contact and a sharp skirmish ensued between Merrill and Porter. Marmaduke came up in support with Shelby's brigade. An errant scout reported a Federal pursuit from Springfield was approaching their rear. This false report led Marmaduke to order Shelby's brigade south to outflank Merrill, secure a line of retreat, and march on Hartville from that direction. Porter was ordered to break contact and follow at 7 am.

    The Battle of Hartville
    Merrill learned from the several dozen prisoners captured at Wood Fork that Marmaduke's command was several times larger than his own. Realizing he was being flanked, Merrill raced back to Hartville and placed his small force in heavy brush west of town with his flanks refused. The Federal infantry had a good position on a hill and could observe the movements of the Confederates from cover, while the Federal cavalry guarded the Lebanon road, the escape route. The Federal artillery was to the rear and covered the approaches.

    Shelby's brigade deployed east of town at 10:30 am with Collins' battery on a bluff and skirmishers sweeping through town as Porter arrived. MacDonald’s command under Major Bennett had been sent along the road to Houston to prevent any retreat in that direction, MacDonald himself missed the turn and proceeded to Hartville.

    Collins engaged in an artillery duel with the Yankee gunners. Porter deployed on the right as the skirmishers reported the town clear and Federals in retreat. Porter's brigade advanced in the saddle approaching within 50 yards of the Union line. Porter discovered the trap too late, yelling for his men to dismount.

    Merrill's men opened fire and Porter's brigade fell back in confusion. Porter was wounded in two places and Wimer was killed. Porter managed to get Brown's guns unlimbered, but the horse teams stampeded carrying away the ammunition chests. The gunners abandoned their now useless pieces (although they were eventually recovered.)

    Shelby's brigade turned to attack the Federals but was repulsed multiple times. By 4:30 pm with limited daylight remaining the Union gunners were out of ammunition and the rebel advances were becoming bolder. Merrill began to withdraw his command, but neglected to inform the Lt. Col. of the 21st Iowa, so that regiment remained on the field fighting alone until after dark.

    Both sides would claim possession of the field at the end of the day, and therefore victory. At 2 am the Confederates departed toward Houston.

    The Federals at Hartville suffered 78 casualties while the Confederates admitted to 111. The Confederates lost heavily in their officer corps. Col. Emmett MacDonald was wounded in the thigh and died during the afternoon. Colonel Porter’s leg wound would also prove fatal a month later. Lt. Col. Wimer and Major Kirtley were killed. There were a number of captains wounded and killed. Even Shelby lost two horses that day. One of the artillery pieces was dismounted and would be left behind.

    Later in the morning of the 12th Marmaduke turned his command south toward Batesville, Arkansas. Federal pursuit was tardy, but a brigade of cavalry had been pulled from the Army of the Frontier in Arkansas to attempt to cut off the rebels.

    The raid had accomplished the goal of relieving the Federal pressure on northwest Arkansas and disrupting Federal operations in the region. A number of blockhouses, supplies, and weapons had been captured and/or destroyed. The vulnerability of Missouri to fast moving cavalry raids had been demonstrated.

    1. Frederick W. Goman's, Up from Arkansas, Marmaduke's First Missouri Raid Including the Battles of Springfield and Hartville, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation, 1999.
    2. Paul M. Robinett's, "Marmaduke's Expedition into Missouri: The Battles of Springfield and Hartville, January 1863", Missouri Historical Review Vol. 58, Jan. 1964.
    3. Joseph A. Mudd's, With Porter in North Missouri, 1909 reprinted by Camp Pope Bookshop 1992
  6. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Apr 10, 2012
    Although the battle was fought in January, there is a sesquicentennial re-enactment planned for April 26-28. http://www.hartvilleareacc.com/ It's a quaint little town and there is a new covered kiosk with battlefield interprative panels south of the highway intersection.

    When I checked a few months back there was nothing, but it looks like they finally got something going on this one. In fact they have events going on this weekend and had things this past week. New markers have been unveiled per this http://thelibrary.org/programs/documents/Battle of Springfield flier.pdf There is something here in this link www.springfield1863.org but the introduction doesn't work on my machine. And it doesn't display properly(clipped) if I close the intro and click on Fort No. 1. Looks like it is best to scroll the map in the lower right corner and select things. Appears to be a work in progress, but the overall map of period Springfield is helpful.
  7. James B White

    James B White Captain Trivia Game Winner Honored Fallen Comrade

    Dec 4, 2011
    Southeastern Missouri was a big iron mining area. Iron Mountain was a well-known motherlode of ore. Since it seems they were recruited from Missouri, I wonder if they came from that area and/or were named for Missouri's iron-mining fame?

    There's also a reenactment planned later this spring to commemorate the activities of Marmaduke's Raid in April of 1863. There's a bare-bones website at: https://sites.google.com/site/marmadukesraid150th/home

    The event isn't set up for public viewing (can't really maneuver accurately on rough terrain and have much be visible for ma, pa, and the kids) but if anyone is seriously interested in being part of it as a period civilian and getting a different kind of view of living history, I'd be willing to mentor them. Can't speak for the military, as I don't know anything about that side of it.
    Red Harvest likes this.
  8. Red Harvest

    Red Harvest 2nd Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

    Apr 10, 2012
    I've wondered the same, but it seems unlikely as I believe the bulk of his brigade's recruiting was in counties just south of the Missouri River in the central western portion of the state over to the Kansas/Missouri state line. This recruiting resulted in the battles of Independence and Lone Jack in 1862. However, there was some reshuffling/dismounting when they organized in Arkansas.

    Thanks for listing that. That's for Marmaduke's 2nd raid (as you know, but so that others understand the difference.) I need to brush up on that one as about all I have on it is Ponder's atrociously biased, self-published screed.
    James B White likes this.

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