My Dear Freddy,
There were a couple of actions in the western theater on November 13, 1861. Both continued for two or more days. Likewise, both were Federal advances.
The first was from Greenville to Doniphan (both Missouri) on the 13th-15th. As you may see by looking at the map, there was a rail road between these two towns. Below, you will find the report, that the Federal officer in command sent to his superior:
"Report of Capt HP Hawkins Independent Company Missouri Cavalry Patterson Mo. Sunday pm November 16 1861
Sir: In conformity with your desire expressed in order of 12th instant and received at Greenville I visited Doniphan Ripley County and went within 6 miles of the State line. I have just returned to this place with my company all safe. I succeeded in capturing the lieutenant in command of the rebel pickets at Doniphan. Owing to our want of knowledge of their location the rest were enabled to escape by a most precipitate retreat. From the manner of their start would not be astonished to hear they were still running. We followed them on the Pitman Ferry road some 2 miles south of Doniphan and would have gone through to the ferry but prudence dictated a retreat. We had accomplished all we expected. We routed the pickets captured 1 or 2 horses, several guns, pistols, blankets, saddles, &c. I am reliably informed that Colonel Borland is in command of the forces about Pocahontas. The militia of ten counties is ordered out for thirty days to capture Pilot Knob. I do not think the colonel will cross the State line. The infantry (3,000 to be increased to 10,000) is stationed at Walnut Springs 5 miles north of Pocahontas. The cavalry (1,700) are stationed as follows: 1,000 are stationed 5 miles south of Pitman's Ferry, 400 are stationed at different points between the main body and the ferry, 300 were stationed 3 miles south of town the pickets stationed at Doniphan were about 15 in charge of a lieutenant. He reports the pickets numerous and from 10 to 20 at each post. I find the southern part of the State stripped of almost every kind of produce and many families along our route are absolutely suffering for many of the necessaries of life. I found the inhabitants in great fear outrages supposed to be committed by the Federal troops. I adopted a mild and uniform course of treatment towards those persons with whom we came in contact. It was expected by the rebel citizens of Doniphan that we would destroy their town. Mr Leeper, myself and one or two others acquainted with the families of some of the prominent, called on their families and advised the men to remain at home live as they had, heretofore loyal citizens. I am well satisfied our trip below has done much good towards reconciliation and establishing friendly feeling towards our Union troops. My orders are to remain at Greenville till further orders. Want subsistence and shoeing of horses compelled me to return to this point. It is 10 miles north of Greenville and a much more desirable place to camp. Will remain here until further orders. My men are all good condition. Many of my horses are badly used up. Hoping the course pursued by the officers and men of my command will meet your approbation. I have the honor to remain your obedient servant, HENRY P HAWKINS Commanding Independent Missouri Cavalry
[to] Col William P Carlin Comdg Post Pilot Knob, Mo.
The second of these actions was began in Texas County, Missouri and moved westward into Wright County, Missouri. These two counties are to the westward of Greenville. This Federal expedition was pursued from the 13th to the 18th.
I have attached a copy of the reports here.
Do you and Charles take the time to plot these courses out. I would be interested in your discussion as you do so, but as I cannot be there to overhear you, perhaps you might give yourself the task of writing up your own report for your grandfather.
James B. Hamilton