The majority of the attention paid to the regular cavalry during this battle quite rightfully goes to the 4th U.S. Cavalry, but I wanted to post this report for inclusion in the record as well. Company C, 2nd U.S. Cavalry, commanded by Lt. Charles Farrand of the 1st Infantry also participated in the battle as well. At least one of the enlisted men mentioned will be appearing in a future post.
Camp near Rolla, Mo., August 17, 1861
Captain: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 9th of August I received verbal orders from General Lyon to report with my company for duty to Colonel Sigel. I reported to the latter at 6 o’clock that evening, and by his order formed with my company the rear guard of his column, which immediately proceed towards the (end pg 90) enemy’s camp. While on the march Colonel Sigel directed me to act on the right when the enemy should be engaged. Afterwards, however, this order was countermanded, and I was directed to take my position on the left.
Nothing of importance occurred on the march until about 4.30 in the morning, when several prisoners were tuned over to the guard. One of these stated to me that their army was expecting re-enforcements from Louisiana, and that they had mistaken us for their re-enforcements. We were now very near the enemy’s camp, and continued to take prisoners in small numbers, most of whom said they were out in search of something to eat. At about 5 o’clock I was ordered with my company to the front. Soon after I reached the head of the column, a small party of men and horses was discovered in a ravine through which we were approaching the enemy’s camp. These I was ordered to take, as they were supposed t be the enemy’s picket. I advanced with a small party upon them. They discovered me ata distance, and mounted their horses. I did not succeed in taking the party prisoners, but cut them off from their camp, which was now in plain sight. I with my company now took my position on the extreme left, and the command moved steadily forward without having been discovered by the enemy, although very near, and at some points in plain sight of, their camp.
The attack was opened by the infantry on the center and left, and soon responded to by the artillery. It was but a moment before the camp was entirely cleared, and as we passed through it I saw many dead bodies and quantities of arms of al descriptions lying on the ground. Many of the latter I caused my men to destroy. There were in their camp a wagon load of Maynard rifles, of the regular rifled muskets, and several boxes of United States regulation sabers, all new.
There being no enemy in sight, I was ordered to move along the south side of camp. I was in a few minutes after ordered to return and support Colonel Sigel’s battery. When I reached the battery I discovered an immense body of the enemy’s cavalry forming in a field about 7000 yards in front of our position. The battery immediately opened on them with considerable effect, and forced them to retire. A large body of the enemy’s cavalry, who had dismounted and deployed in the brush on the south side of the field, were driven back and obliged to leave their horses. My company was on the field until Colonel Sigel’s forces retired, but as circumstances were such as to render it impossible to use cavalry, we did no particular service.
Upon finding myself with the company alone, I retired in a southerly direction, and accidentally meeting one of the guides who had been employed in taking us to the enemy’s camp, I forcibly detained him until I could collect some of the troops, whom I found scattered and apparently lost. I halted my company, and got quite a number together, and directed the guide to proceed to Springfield, via Little York. Affter proceeding a short distance we came upon one of the pieces which had been taken from Colonel Sigel. Although the tongue of the limber was broken, one horse gone, and one of the remaining three badly wounded, we succeeded in moving it on. Some distance in advance f this we found a caisson, also belonging to Colonel Sigel’s battery. I then had with me Sergeant Bradburn, of Company D, First Cavalry; Corporal Lewis and Private John Smith of own company (Company C, Second Dragoons). My company being some distance in advance, I caused the caisson to be opened, and on discovering that it was full of ammunition, I determined to take it on. I and the three (end pg 91) men with me tried to prevail upon some of the Germans to assist us in clearing some of the wounded horses from the harness, but they would not stop. After considerable trouble, my small party succeeded in clearing the wounded horses from the harness, hitching in two more and a pair of small mules I obtained, and moving on, Corporal Lewis and Private John Smith driving, while Sergeant Bradburn and I led the horses. After reaching the retreating troops again I put two other men on the animals, and joined my company with my three men.
Before reaching Springfield it became necessary to abandon the caisson in order to hitch the animals to the piece. The was done after destroying the ammunition it contained. Lieutenant Morris, adjutant of Colonel Sigel’s command, assisted me in procuring wagons, which we sent back on the road after the wounded.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Chas. E. Farrand,
Second Lieut., First Infantry, Comdg. Co. C, Second Dragoons (OR, Vol 3, pgs 90-92)