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OCTOBER 15, 1863
SKIRMISH AT CROSS TIMBERS

Reports of Col. M. La Rue Harrison, First Arkansas Cavalry (Union), to Brigadier General John McNeil, Commanding District of Southwest Missouri

HEADQUARTERS,
Cross Timbers, via Cassville, October 15, 1863.

GENERAL:  Brooks and Brown attacked our train this morning at sunrise with a large force, claimed by rebels to be 1,000 men, but estimated by citizens to be 600.  They were gallantly repulsed by Major [E.] Fitch, commanding escort.  He was supported by Captain [J.] Ray, with his company of Eighteenth Iowa Infantry, and Lieutenant [William] Mayes, with one section of Stark’s battery, all of whom behaved nobly.  I had already started for Fayetteville, with two battalions of the First Arkansas Cavalry, Captain [D. D.] Stark, and one section of his battery, and the First Arkansas Howitzers.  After having marched 7 miles, on hearing the firing, I returned rapidly, but arrived about fifteen minutes after the enemy had retreated.  Our loss, 1 sergeant and 1 private killed, 1 private mortally wounded, and 1 taken prisoner.  Enemy’s loss not known.  I shall retain my whole command as escort to the train, and move as rapidly as possible to Fayetteville.

M. LA RUE HARRISON,
Colonel, Commanding Arkansas Volunteers

HEADQUARTERS
Fayetteville, Ark., October 21, 1863, 6 p.m.

GENERAL:  After the attack by Brooks and Brown, on the 15th instant, at Cross Timbers (in which the enemy lost 15 killed and quite a number wounded), I remained with the whole command, escorting the train to this place, where it arrived on the 18th instant.  Learning on that day that Brooks and Brown had passed Elm Springs early in the morning, with about 1,000 men, and that they would probably camp at Brown’s Mill, 5 miles northwest of Elm Spring, I immediately ordered out 300 dismounted men, 280 mounted men,and four pieces of artillery, and started in pursuit at 1 a. m. of the 19th, expecting to strike the enemy at daybreak.  I reached Brown’s Mill (17 miles) at sunrise, and found that the enemy had moved toward Maysville by a neighborhood road at noon of the day previous.  So many men being dismounted, and both men and horses being completely exhausted by the eleven days’Missouri expedition, I was forced to abandon the pursuit until I should be able to renew it with mounted men on fresh horses.  I learn since that the enemy left the Maysville road on our return and went toward Huntsville, by way of Black’s Mill.  They are well mounted.  I have tried in vain to force them to an engagement.  They will not fight, and never intend to.

My horses must have a little rest before doing much duty.  I have nearly 100 men unfit for duty from the effects of the 34-miles march of Sunday last.

I hardly know which way you wish my men to move to-morrow.  You will please send a messenger to them at Black’s Mill to-morrow noon with orders.  You will probably find Brooks (if he does not run) in camp, 4 miles east of Huntsville.

I remain, general, your obedient servant,

M. LA RUE HARRISON,
Colonel, Commanding Arkansas Volunteers

SOURCE:  OR, Series I, Volume 22 (Part I), Pages 660-661.

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