The statement regarding Lt Dickey was actually from Major M.W. Smith's testimony. When asked "Was not Cpt Groff's Co the first company in the fortifications at Springfield?", Smith replied "If Lt Dickey was with Groff's company, the company was there first." I believe by "fortifications" they did not necessarily mean Fort 4 itself. They were probably referring to the College and surrounding houses and maybe even the entrenchments.
Based on the sworn testimony of the witnesses in Groff's trial, I can't help but conclude that it was Groff who was absent and not his company. On Prairie Grove Private D.F. Ray states "...He (Groff) was not with the company during the day of the Prairie Grove battle...Lt Blanton commanded the company during the battle." At Springfield there seems to be no question the company was engaged (it was not even charged in the court martial). Company E did in fact report 4 casualties at Springfield. And at Hartville all but 6 to 8 of the company were away on picket duty and not even ordered to fall in. When reminded of this by Groff, Adjutant Eli Hodge replied "Very well, very well, I had forgotten that".
As for the disparity in casualty figures, the 6th actually suffered more than the other two regiments at Prairie Grove. This was due to positioning, as the 6th was positioned around Collins's Battery which was acting as a magnet for federal shot and shell and the fact that they later fell in with Parson's men to face Blunt. At Springfield and Hartville, they did suffer considerably less. But one must remember the 6th did not participate with the other two regiments in the costly charge on the College and Fort 4 at Springfield (they weren't ordered to). Also at Hartville, if I'm not mistaken, the majority of Shelby's casualties occurred when the Brigade was ambushed while advancing in line toward the timber, the full fury of the federal volleys striking the left and center of the line, the 6th was positioned on the far right. Surely this would account for some disparity.
I have noticed the list of cowards and it is puzzling. According to Deryl Sellmeyer in "Jo Shelby's Iron Brigade", the list was reported by Col G.W. Thompson at the end of the April-May 1863 Cape Girardeau raid. The lack of detail provided and further punitive action strikes me as odd.
If anything, there is more of a case to be made against Berry's Co H. They reported no casualties during the 3 battles and there is a lack of evidence and testimony included in Berry's trial. This company certainly paid their share in blood in battles previous and afterward. At best it seems inconclusive to me.
It certainly deserves a closer look, as it would seem a shame to me to attach this stigma to a group of men undeservedly. I have seen it mentioned already in one book that is sure to become a classic.