if (function_exists('newsletter_info')) { newsletter_info('Newsletter','grogers(at)aphinity(dot)com',true,false); } Trans-Mississippi Musings
Trans-Mississippi Musings

Brigadier General William L. Cabell's "official report" from Price's 1864 Missouri Expedition

Posted by The Muse (themuse) on Nov 24 2014
TMM Blog >>

During Sterling Price's 1864 expedition into Missouri, Brigadier General William L. Cabell, commanding Cabell's Brigade, was captured by Federal troops during the Battle of Mine Creek on October 25, 1864. Never having written an official report, Cabell was encouraged by his fellow veterans to write a report describing the exploits of Cabell's Brigade during the 1864 expedition. Cabell published that report in January, 1900.

Brigadier General William L. Cabell's "official report" from Price's 1864 Missouri Expedition

William L. CabellHeadquarters, Trans-Mississippi Department, Dallas, Texas, January 1, 1900.

Dear Sir: After the spring campaign in 1864 had closed so gloriously; after fighting so many hard battles in the State of Arkansas, viz: Arkadelphia, Rockport, Saline, Spoonersville, Okolona, Wolf Creek, Elkins' Ferry, Little Missouri, Moscow, Prairie D'Ane, Poison Spring, Marks' Mills and Antoine, which resulted in forcing General Frederick Steele who was shut up in Camden, to abandon that place and return to Little Rock, Cabell's Brigade, which bore the brunt of every fight mentioned, needed rest for both horses and men, and was ordered to the Arkansas River, where there was an abundance of corn and fine grazing in the bottoms and on the levees. I was placed in command of all of the country bordering on the Arkansas River and east of Pine Bluff, as far as the Mississippi River, in order to prevent any farther advance of the Federal Army, and at the same time to recruit my horses and mules, which had been much reduced for the want of forage during the spring campaign through a country perfectly destitute of supplies of every kind both for men and horses, and to recruit men to replace those killed and wounded, as my loss was very heavy in every one of the battles mentioned, especially at Marks' Mills, where I had thirty-five officers and men killed and 190 badly wounded and left in the hospital at that place, a large number with slight wounds.

My Brigade Headquarters was near Douglas Landing on the Arkansas River, and Fagan's Division Headquarters at or near Monticello. On the August 4, 1864, I was relieved from command on the Arkansas, and ordered to call in all detachments—to concentrate at Princeton, Arkansas, and get the brigade in readiness to go with the division on the contemplated raid into Missouri and Kansas under General Sterling Price, in obedience to orders that would be issued in a few days by General [Kirby] Smith, commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department.

On August 11, 1864, the orders were issued, directing General Price to move into Missouri with the whole of the cavalry in the District of Arkansas, which was then under his command. Fagan's Division was to be a part of the invading column.

After receiving a copy of this order, I made every preparation to put my brigade in good order and to be ready whenever the order of "March" was given. I had my horses and mules shod, wagons repaired, commissary stores gathered, issued all the shoes and clothing 1 could get, replenished my stock of ammunition of every kind, both artillery and musketry. On August 28, orders were issued to move from Princeton early on the morning of the 29th. As ordered, I left Princeton on the morning of August 29 with my brigade of Arkansas troops, composed of six regiments well mounted, armed with Enfield rifles and a few carbines, and a battery of four pieces of artillery, under the command of Captain W. M. Hughey, a very fine artillery officer—men and horses in fine health and condition. The different regiments were; Monroe's Regiment, commanded by Colonel J. C. Monroe; Gordon's Regiment, commanded by Colonel Anderson Gordon; Morgan's Regiment, commanded by Colonel [Thomas J.] Morgan; Hill's Regiment, commanded by Colonel John F. Hill; Gunter's Regiment, commanded by T. M. Gunter, composed of Woosley's Battalion, Witherspoon's Battalion and Proctor's Company, Harrell's Battalion, which was formed into a regiment after these companies that were in North Arkansas had joined.

My brigade had about 2,500 armed men, and between 200 and 300 unarmed men who joined the different regiments a few days before leaving for Missouri.

Most of these men had been wounded. They were number one soldiers, and did their duty as such in every fight which was not the case, I am sorry to say, with a great number of unarmed men belonging to other regiments and brigades.

Cabell's Brigade composed nearly one-third of the armed men in Price's Army of invasion, which will account for the number of killed, wounded and captured on that expedition, to the date of my capture, October 24, in Kansas.

The first day, August 29, marched ten miles and camped at Tulip that night. Camped next day near Clardy's on Benton Road, where two pieces of artillery were left and sent to Princeton. Thence went over one of the roughest roads in the valley of the of the La Fourche, climbing over the La Fourche Mountain, as it is called, to Dardanelle, guarding our supply train and a pontoon train of twenty-five wagons, each wagon having a pontoon twenty-five feet long. Reached Dardanelle on September 6 and remained there two or three days waiting for the different brigades of the division to join Cabell's Brigade.

General Price ordered me to take charge of the crossing of the river, which 1 did; and within a few hours, after preparing the wagons by raising our ammunition and commissary stores sufficiently high on the wagon bodies to prevent injury from water, the whole command moved across the Arkansas River, the artillery by sections in column above the column of cavalry which marched by fours in close order.

The wagon and ambulance train moved rapidly behind the artillery. Never did anyone see a grander or more imposing sight. I sent two companies in advance over the river to drive off any Federals that might be on the other side to interfere with our crossing. They soon drove off a small squad that presented themselves, killing and wounding four or five and capturing eight or ten good horses.

After crossing the river, Fagan's Division separated from [John S.] Marmaduke's command. Fagan, with Cabell's Brigade in the advance, took the road leading to Springfield and Glass Village, Marmaduke going farther west on the Clinton Road. At Glass Village or Point Remove, met six companies of the Fourth Arkansas Federal cavalry under Colonel [Irving W.] Fuller, who came up following a small detachment I had sent out to obtain information of the enemy, with orders not to engage the enemy if he appeared in large force, but to fall back to the main body. The officer in charge of the party was a bold, shrewd officer, and he so managed as to make Colonel Fuller believe that he would soon capture this small command and he came dashing up and, to his great surprise, found Gordon's Regiment and Hughey's Battery ready to receive him. He was soon repulsed and put to flight, with a number of dead men and horses lying on the ground, and about twenty prisoners, which I paroled and let them go home.

Sent Gordon to follow Colonel Fuller and drive the Federals out of Lewisburg and capture their stores.

Colonel [Anderson] Gordon found that the other four companies left behind had retreated and joined Fuller's command, going towards Little Rock. Captured several good horses and a number of carbines. Sent Colonel [John M.] Harrell in pursuit and he followed them to the Cadron, killing and wounding several of the regiment.

Moved the next day with Cabell's Brigade in front. Colonel Harrell's Regiment was detached here and ordered into Northern Arkansas to get his companies in Carroll and Boone Counties and to then join his brigade as soon as he could. Harrell never joined his brigade until they returned to Arkansas.

My advance exchanged a few shots with the bushwhackers who were a long way off. Crossed Red River without any difficulty and then crossed White River, near Batesville, about September 13. From Batesville went to Pocahontas; met with no opposition, reaching there on September 16, where we rested, getting ready to invade Missouri. On September 19 we crossed the Missouri line, Fagan's Division in the center, Marmaduke's on the right and [Joseph O.] Shelby's on the left, Cabell's Brigade in advance. As soon as we crossed the line between the states into Missouri, firing was heard on each side of the road and in front. The woods were full of bushwhackers, and the mounted militia on fine horses, moved rapidly in our front, burning houses and destroying the property of all Southern sympathizers and especially, of those good women who had husbands, sons or brothers who had left Missouri to join the Confederate Army. It was truly a sad sight to see those noble women, both old and young, looking on the destruction of their homes, their houses, furniture, clothing, bedding and cooking utensils, as they were not allowed to take out a single article of clothing or a chair to sit on.

The mounted militia were soon stopped in their cruelty to these good people. I sent a squadron of picked men and horses with orders never to stop until they were driven off, killed or captured. The morning of the second day, Colonel [A. V.J Reiff [Rieff], who was in command, ran on them just as they were cooking breakfast and killed and captured two-thirds of these cruel monsters. The report of the other division commanders will show that the citizens who sympathized with the South had their houses burned and their property destroyed by the same class of mounted militia, who carried on a war more cruel and destructive to life and property than the Comanche Indians ever waged against the defenseless citizens of Texas. On September 22, we had a slight skirmish in the neighborhood of Fredericktown.

On the morning of September 26, Cabell's Brigade moved early in the morning in the rear, [William F.] Slemons' Brigade in front, and ordered to take a pass through the mountains a few miles from Ironton, and to drive in the pickets at Arcadia.

The next morning I drove the enemy from Arcadia, capturing a major and ten soldiers, and made them take shelter in the fort (Davidson as I understood it was called), at Pilot Knob. After arriving at the entrance to the valley, I carried no artillery to the top of Shepherd's Mountain, hoping that I could force them with my artillery to evacuate the Fort. My battery was on the same ridge with General Marmaduke and on his right. Before I had time to learn the effect of my artillery firing, and within less than half an hour after firing commenced, I received an order from General [James F.] Fagan to charge the fortifications. In conjunction with General Marmaduke, I moved to the charge on Marmaduke's right, as directed. My men had no shelter, but were in open ground for 1.200 yards. Marmaduke's men took shelter in a creek with high banks. My brigade was left without any support, and on reaching the Fort, found the ditches deep and so wide that they could not scale it without ladders and seeing that I had no support from Marmaduke's or any other command, I ordered my men to fall back to shelter under a murderous fire from two 72-pounders and one 34-pounder, firing canister at us at short range, and subject also to the fire of an infantry regiment greater in numbers than my own. My horse was killed at the edge of the ditch. My loss was heavy in both killed and wounded, forty-five officers and men killed, 190 badly wounded and a large number slightly wounded. I left about 125 badly wounded men in our hospital at Arcadia. The brave Colonel [Oliver] Basham, of Hill's Regiment, Lieutenant [A. C] Walker and other brave officers and soldiers, were killed, whose names I do not now recollect. These were buried the next day, wrapped in their old gray blankets, on the plain in front of the Fort.

I was opposed to making the charge when we did, and so informed the staff officer who delivered the order, as we did not give our artillery time to drive them out or to demoralize them as we should have done. A great mistake, which I tried to prevent, had been made, and my poor men were unnecessarily sacrificed. It made me feel sad to think that so many brave men had sacrificed their lives through bad generalship and a mistake in the strength of the enemy's position. We should never have attempted to take this fort by direct attack, but by getting behind them their capture would have been easy, as there was but one way for them to get out.

After taking proper care of the wounded, and burying my dead as well as I could, and after resting for one or two days, I received an order on September 30 to destroy the telegraph station and the railroad east of Franklin; to take the place and destroy all public property. This I did, burning the bridges, water tanks, quartermaster and commissary depots; destroyed railroad depots and tracks for two miles; fought [Andrew J.] Smith's infantry corps for nearly two hours; drove them back and reached Union City by midnight, October 1. My loss was small, about two killed, six wounded, eight or ten captured while too much under the influence of liquor, most of whom escaped and returned to their regiments. I captured a large number of railroad laborers with their tools. I put them to work and destroyed about two miles of the railroad on both sides of Franklin; paroled some fifteen or twenty prisoners. As the railroad men were not soldiers, after marching them within a few miles of Union City I released them. The depot at Summit and one or two places on the road were burned or destroyed. Here I obtained a number of fresh and good horses sufficient to replace the broken down horses in my battery, as well as the broken down and unserviceable horses in the different regiments.

After leaving Union City and marching about fifteen miles. General Shelby's advance guard, under that gallant officer. Colonel David A. Williams, met me coming along another road. I ordered up my escort and with Colonel Williams' command I pushed ahead and captured a strong picket about three miles from where the two commands met, mostly Germans living in that section in the country, belonging to the home guards. They were soon stripped of their horses, guns, pistols, saddles, spurs, and overcoats. I paroled and allowed them to go home. They were much distressed at losing their fine horses. Continuing the march, the morning of October 7, Fagan's Division went in advance; Cabell's Brigade in the rear of the Division. We struck the enemy in large force about five miles outside of Jefferson City, Missouri. A hard fight was the result. I moved up with Cabell's Brigade and drove the enemy, after a stubborn resistance, across the Moreau River, and made him take shelter in its fortifications. My brigade occupied the heights in full view of the city. Night coming on, we moved back about two miles and went into camp. The enemy had reinforced during the night. The command did not return to Jefferson City, but moved in the direction of Gardner's Mill through a fine farming country, Cabell's Brigade in the rear. The enemy came out in strong force and made a bold attack on my brigade, but I repulsed them and drove them back with heavy loss. My loss was small. In a short time the enemy returned to the attack. Owing to the high fences and the number of cross fences which I was compelled to throw down in the face of the enemy. I could not use at any time more than a regiment, and frequently not more than one or two companies, to repel their attack. Charge after charge was made by regiment, battalion and company. Each charge was followed by a similar or larger command, the command making the charge to go as far as possible, then to fall back and give room for another charge. This was continuous from sunrise until near 5 o'clock, when I dismounted my whole command and formed on a ridge near Gardner's Mill, ten miles from Jefferson City. The enemy attacked with great fury, throwing out a heavy line of skirmishers with his main line in full view in the rear and his artillery in front of his skirmishers. The firing of artillery and musketry was very heavy on both sides and at close range. This continued until sundown, when I made a charge with my whole line and drove the enemy off the field. Being satisfied that the enemy had fallen back and would not renew the fight, I withdrew my men and went into camp, about two miles below Gardner's Mill, my loss quite heavy in wounded, but few killed; several horses killed and wounded. Early the next morning, October 8, we moved in the direction of California, Cabell's Brigade in advance. The home guards retreated as soon as my advance guard came in sight. I found a fine new railroad depot filled with goods of every description; also a small lot of quartermaster's and commissary stores, which were soon appropriated by my men. After taking such articles of clothing as they could find, and allowing the women of the town to take such things as they needed and claimed as their property, I ordered the railroad depot burned and had the track destroyed for at least one mile on each side of the depot. The citizens of California furnished my men with a good supply of ready-cooked food.

On the morning of October 9, we moved in the direction of Booneville, Cabell's Brigade in the rear, Generals Marmaduke and Shelby's Divisions in advance of Fagan's Division, camping five or six miles from California. On the morning of October 10, we resumed our march to Booneville, my brigade in the rear. The roads were dusty and dry and we did not reach Booneville until 4 o'clock and went into camp in a beautiful blue grass pasture. Owing to the fact that I had to bring up the rear guard, my brigade received no part of the military stores captured at Booneville. The good citizens, especially the ladies, provided my command with an abundance of good and substantial things, enough for both supper and breakfast. Everything was done by these good people to supply the wants and comfort of my brigade. I was that night with other general officers, ordered to report at General Price's Headquarters the next day at 10 o'clock, on October 11, to be introduced to the city authorities. Knowing that the enemy camped near us that night, I had reveille sounded early, and after they had eaten breakfast, I made every preparation to receive the enemy, should he come, giving instructions to my senior colonel to move out with the brigade as soon as he heard firing. I went then to report to the commanding general in order to pay our respects to the city authorities the morning of October 11. Not five minutes after I entered the room and saluted the commanding general, who was introducing me to the audience, "boom! boom" went the artillery. General Price then turned to me and said, "General Cabell, you will move out with your brigade and drive the enemy back!" I saluted and replied that I would try it. “Boom! boom!! boom!!!” went the artillery. I went in a gallop and found my brigade in line of battle, fighting furiously and driving the enemy back through the streets and houses of Booneville. My loss was nine men killed and fifteen wounded. The badly wounded were left with good friends in Booneville. I do not know what the enemy's loss was, but I am satisfied it was heavy, as a part of General Marmaduke's command attacked the enemy on the flank, after I had driven them out of the city. A part of Fagan's Division followed them for over twenty miles. They reported the enemy's loss as very great. This same evening (October 11th) I was ordered to move to Mine Creek, about twenty miles, rout the enemy, then to go into camp and wait for the remainder of the Division. After burying my dead and taking care of the wounded—my loss was heavy—I moved to Mine Creek and camped two or three miles beyond. Captured in a barn within three miles of Mine Creek—which had been occupied by a company of the mounted militia, or home guards, most of whom escaped in the darkness—five prisoners, their flag and a box of guidons and United States flags. Carried the prisoners to camp with me and paroled them the next day. Went to Jonesboro, a distance of eight miles, to a mill guarded by two companies of militia; drove them off, captured their flour and cornmeal, leaving a guard to keep the mill going. From there we went to Marshall and camped on Salt Creek, where we remained for two days. We were treated with great kindness by the good people of Saline County. On October 18, our division moved to Waverly, Cabell's Brigade in advance. General Shelby attacked General [James G. Blunt] Blount, who had about 4,000 men, at or near Lexington, and, being hotly engaged and hard pressed, I went at once to his assistance, and in less than an hour, we had routed them and driven them off with heavy loss. The pursuit was continued by Shelby on the Independence Road long after dark. I camped that night on General Shield's farm. Moved early the next morning towards Independence, Marmaduke's division in front. He met the enemy on the Blue and drove their pickets across the river. They destroyed the bridge as they were retreating, which forced Marmaduke to cross at a ford several hundred yards below. Shelby's Brigade was ordered to support Marmaduke, who was heavily engaged. I was then ordered to support General Shelby, who was heavily engaged with the enemy, who were posted behind rock fences. I went into action at once with my whole brigade, and it was not long before they were retreating. I followed them so close that they were driven through the city of Independence. Here the brave Captain [George] Todd, of Missouri, was killed in my last charge. I then camped near the city. In the night the enemy had fallen back to the Blue.

Early on the morning of October 22, I was ordered to move back, and attacked the enemy who had driven in our pickets, and drove him back and left him in full retreat. I returned to Independence and had a heavy skirmish with a column of the enemy who were attempting to flank me. I repulsed them and moved my command at once, in order to get through the city (as it was in an open prairie and accessible on all sides), before another attack could be made on me. Just as I was coming out of the city the enemy struck me in the flank, charging down several streets, and cut off 200 or 300 of my men and captured two pieces of artillery. I escaped as they were cutting at me and the cannoneers with their sabers, by jumping over a piece of artillery and running through the passage of a double log cabin and jumping the yard fence. As soon as I got through the different lots near the old log house, I rode to my command, which was then in the road, faced them to the rear, checked and drove back the enemy, enabling my scattered men to rejoin their regiments. As General [John B.] Clark, [Jr.] was in the rear, Fagan's Division moved on, forming line of battle at times in order to support General Clark. The enemy continued his fierce attacks, driving our men steadily in the darkness, until near Westport, where we camped in line of battle, after fighting for twelve miles in almost impenetrable darkness.

The next morning our wagon train had been ordered on the Fort Scott road—Cabell's Brigade was guarding the train with [Charles H.] Tyler's Brigade in front.

Fagan, with two of his Arkansas Brigades, with Marmaduke and Shelby attacked the enemy near Westport. I moved to the crossing of the Little Blue and started the train. A heavy column of the enemy, under [John] McNeil, was on our left rear. I moved with my brigade between the train and this column and attacked them with a heavy line of skirmishers and drove them back at least one mile. In the meantime stragglers and unarmed men were coming in from the three divisions who were fighting near Westport. I ordered the train to move on rapidly and not to stop, and made every man fall into line as fast as they came up. The grass being very tall and the wind high and blowing towards the enemy, I concluded to set the grass on fire and to follow immediately behind the blaze with a line of skirmishers who were ordered to keep up a brisk fire through the flames. The fire leaping through the high grass directly towards the enemy resulted as I hoped, as it drove McNeil and his column back several miles. This enabled me to get the train and my own command so far that they could not overtake us. We encamped on a fork of Grand River. I had several men killed and wounded—not more than three killed—as skirmishers. The enemy's loss was greater than mine, as my skirmishers counted ten dead on the prairie. On October 23, we camped near Marais-des-Cygnes, after marching over twenty-four miles. I was in the rear and the whole brigade in line of battle at the gap of the Bald Prairie hills and on top of the hills during the night. The enemy made several attempts to drive my men from the top of the mountains and break my lines. After making several attempts to break through and failing in every attempt, they retired about 2 o'clock, October 24.

Being in the rear the previous day and in line of battle all night facing the enemy and fighting until 2 o'clock, General Marmaduke was ordered to relieve me with his division. He was in line of battle on the north side of the Marais-des-Cygnes. He made an opening and I marched my command through and left him to bring up the rear. After marching in column of fours for about three or four miles, General Marmaduke sent a staff officer to tell me that the enemy was pressing him very hard and that I must come to his relief. When nearing the creek, which had been completely blocked with broken-down wagons, I went to General Marmaduke's assistance as rapidly as I could, forming regiments into action as fast as I could in rear of General Marmaduke and also on his flank, firing as I came up.

As fast as our lines were formed, the enemy armed with Henry rifles (now Winchesters), forming in front of Marmaduke's and Cabell's Brigades, poured a rapid and seething fire into our commands, which far exceeded any firing we could do from our muzzle-loading Enfield rifles. After firing on us with such rapidity, and as soon as they got into line, they charged our lines from right to left and drove them pell-mell for at least half a mile. I had but thirty men left of my brigade and my artillery captured. The flag-bearer of Gordon's Arkansas Regiment stood up, at my command, and waved his regimental flag in defiance. I then told these thirty men to follow me, and we charged through the enemy's lines and then scattered, hoping that we could cross the creek below and by that means join our commands again. The enemy seemed to know our purpose, and a small squad followed several of us, and no doubt captured a part of this little band. A lieutenant of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry with three men followed me. I attempted to jump the creek which had high banks. In jumping, my horse got his fore feet on the opposite bank and his hind feet in the creek and fell over me. I was soon up, and the lieutenant and three men demanded my surrender and told me to go to the rear. They pushed to the front and I went to the front also, hoping to get a horse from some of my men. In a short time I got one and mounted him, and in company with ten or twelve men of Cabell's Brigade we rode into a company of the Third Iowa Cavalry. Many shots were exchanged, and one of my men killed the horse one of their officers was riding. They then jerked me off my horse and gave it to this officer, telling me to go to the rear. I went to the front again and one of [Archibald S.] Dobbin's Brigade came along leading a little Choctaw pony. I had hard work to get him to let me have it. After getting it, I fell in a squad with Colonel Gordon and went to the front as fast as we could go and ran into the Third Iowa Cavalry drawn up in line of battle. They turned loose a perfect volley at us, and as my little pony could not run as fast as the large horses, and being in the rear, they shot her in several places, wounding her so badly she squealed and would not move. One man came up and ordered me to surrender. I replied, "Stop shooting, then." He then stated that I had been captured before. Of course, I denied the charge. One fellow suggested that I would get away, and that they had better shoot me, or I would. The sergeant ordered one man to ride on each side of me and hold me by the collar. At that time, although I had on my uniform and stars on my collar, they did not know who I was. As it was raining. I had my overcoat buttoned around my neck, which hid my wreath and stars. After finding out who their commanding general was, I told the sergeant who I was, with a promise that he was to take me to General [Alfred] Pleasonton, which he did. Pleasonton received me very kindly and treated me well, as long as I was with his command. Carried Marmaduke and myself to Fort Scott. General [William S.] Rosecrans ordered us to be sent to him at once from Fort Scott, under a heavy guard, as we both were being treated with great indignity. Also, that we were to be taken through Kansas and exhibited as an electioneering document. General Pleasonton, at our request, sent a telegram at once to General Rosecrans, who issued an order to send us to his Headquarters and treated us with great kindness.

On the 25th of October my capture on the field of battle closed my military career and all connection with Fagan's Division or Price's Raid.
I was in hope that the commander of the division would have made a report and caused the commander of each regiment to make a written report of what the command did. Justice to the brave men, as well as officers of Cabell's Brigade, demanded from the division commander that he should have made a written report.

No man ever commanded better soldiers than the Arkansas soldiers. No man ever had better officers than were to be found in Cabell's Arkansas Brigade. They were brave, honest, and true patriots, who never failed to perform any duty and never flickered in battle. No command was ever subjected to more privations, more dangers, than Cabell's Brigade during the raid into Missouri and Kansas. The fact is, from the day Price's command crossed the Arkansas River to the day of my capture, they were in either a skirmish or battle. After crossing into Missouri it was almost one continued battle, and Cabell's Brigade went to the front when the enemy was in front; on the flank when the enemy attacked either flank; and in the rear when the enemy attacked in the rear. Cabell's Brigade ended every fight, so far as Fagan's Division was concerned.

The routes traveled by Price's Army could be tracked by the dead men of Cabell's Brigade. The noble sons of Arkansas as well as of Missouri lie there, wrapped in their old gray blankets, in graves far from home, unknown and uncared for. No stone monument has been erected to mark their graves or to perpetuate the memory of their brave deeds.

But, thank God, they have erected a monument in the hearts of the people of the South that will never crumble, and the winds and storms can never destroy. May God in His great mercy enable us to take care of the living and to cherish the memory of those who were killed in battle, who died from wounds received during the raid, or who may have died and crossed the river since that time.

All that officers and men could do has been done. They never complained, although they were exposed to the inclemency of the climate without tents or shelter, frequently without provisions of any kind, from one to three days.

To mention names, when all had done their duty, would be invidious. Amid all the dangers and trials of this perilous expedition my brigade never failed to rally and form, whenever or wherever ordered. Colonels Monroe, Gordon and Hill were wounded, Lieutenant-Colonel Basham killed; Colonels Gunter, Morgan and Lieutenant-Colonel [John P.] Bull received slight wounds.

No records having been kept and no report made after my capture, I can, at this late date, write from memory that I had officers and men killed in every action from the time we crossed the Arkansas River at Dardanelle until the day of my capture on the Marais-des-Cygnes in the state of Kansas.
This brigade met the enemy and fought them at Glass Village, Point Remove, Lewisburg, Willow Ford, Little Red River, Batesville, Cadron, crossing Current River, in the state of Arkansas, Reeves Station, Arcadia, Pilot Knob, where I had forty-five killed, 230 wounded—190 being badly wounded, and 125 left in hospitals. Franklin, Union Cross-Roads, Jefferson City. Hard fighting from sunrise until sunset for ten miles to Gardner's Mill, California, Booneville, La Mine Creek, Jonesborough, Marshall, Lexington, the Blue, Independence, Little Blue, Little Santa Fe in Missouri, Westport, Marais de Cygnes and Mine Creek in Kansas.

Eight battles and skirmishes in Arkansas; twenty in Missouri; six in Kansas.

At Mine Creek, west of Marais de Cygnes, where my loss in killed and wounded was very heavy, owing to the fact that some of the Kansas militia killed my wounded men. I called Colonel [William F.] Cloud's (Colonel, [Second] Kansas [Cavalry]) attention to the outrageous conduct of the Kansas militia. He tried to excuse their conduct by saying that they only killed our men who had on Federal uniforms. I called his attention to the fact that he was dressed in citizen's clothes and not the United States uniform. He replied that he always took his uniform off when he went into a fight as he was too conspicuous. I replied that four-fifths of our men were without uniforms of any kind. He then stated that he would put a stop to their killing my wounded men. Being a prisoner I could say no more. I estimated my loss in that fight (from memory), at ten officers and thirty men killed and fifty officers and men wounded and about 200 captured, making a total of 290 killed, wounded and captured from Cabell's Brigade. I estimated the captured from the number I saw under guard.

After my capture and that of men from different regiments of Price's Corps, we were treated well by General Pleasonton and his staff; also by Generals Blunt and Cloud, Colonels [John F.] Phillips and [Thomas T.] Crittenden, who were kind both to myself and my men. Governor [Samuel J.] Crawford extended every kindness in his power to General Marmaduke and myself.

Learning from Colonel Cloud that Senator Jim Lane and General [Samuel R.] Curtis had determined to send General Marmaduke and myself in an ambulance with a strong guard to every town in Kansas as an electioneering ruse, I telegraphed through General Pleasonton's Chief of Staff this fact to General Rosecrans, requesting him to order us to be sent to him, which he did at once, and we were escorted or guarded by a large squad of Missouri and Colorado Cavalry to his Headquarters at Warrensburg, Missouri.

To my Staff:

Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin J. Field, Lieutenant-Colonel of Ordnance,
Colonel [William J.] Tyus, Adjutant-General,
Major Herman Carlton, Inspector-General,
Major John Crawford, Quartermaster,
Major Hugh [G.] Wilson, Commissary,
Dr. John Carroll, Brigade Surgeon,
Captain David [W.] Corder, Aide-de-Camp,
Captain [William A.] Stevenson, Aide-de-Camp,
Reverend Mr. [John] Harrell, Chaplain,

I return my sincere thanks for their kindness, at all times, to me personally, and the brave and heroic manner in which they at all times performed their duty, every one being wounded, left in hospitals or captured. All but one have crossed over the river.

To the officers and men of Cabell's Brigade: I shall always remember your courage, your patriotism and your heroism in battle, and feel that your names and your fame will always be cherished and kept green in memory by the people of your state and the South until time is no more. May God in His great mercy enable us to take care of the living and to forever cherish the memory of those who were killed in battle, who died from wounds, or who may have crossed to the Great Beyond since the close of the war …

General Sterling Price, the noble commander of the Army of Invasion, the brave Marmaduke, Shelby and Fagan, who commanded divisions; [M. Jeff] Thompson and [Sidney D.] Jackman, who commanded brigades, have crossed the river and are now in heaven with Jefferson Davis, [Robert E.] Lee, the two [Albert Sidney and Joseph E.] Johnstons, [Pierre G. T.] Beauregard and others. General Clarke and myself of the general officers are the only ones living.

As this report is written from memory, thirty-five years after Price's Raid, I ask that the mantle of charity may cover any errors I may have made in endeavoring to do justice to the brave men I had the honor to command.


William L. Cabell, Late Commander of Cabell's Brigade, Fagan's Division of Confederate States Army.

N.B. I estimate my loss as over 100 killed and 400 wounded and 200 captured, W. L. Cabell.

General George Moorman, Adjutant General, United Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, Louisiana.


William L. Cabell image courtesy of the Library of Congress


Cabell, William L. “Report of Gen. W. L. Cabell’s Brigade in Price’s Raid in Missouri and Kansas in 1864.” Adjutant General, Confederate Veterans, New Orleans, LA, 1900.

Cabell's report was included in the OR Supplement, Army Official Records, Volume 7. Hewett, Janet B., Noah Andre Trudeau, and Bryce A. Suderow, eds. Supplement to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Pub. Co., 1997.

Last changed: Nov 24 2014 at 2:23 PM