Re: 6th or "Southwest" MO Cav. CSA
you make an excellent case for the men of Co. H, and the 6th Mo. There are no doubts in my mind that later in 1863 the regiment performed very well and gallantly I might add. What the reigment had prior to Helena and the loss of Little Rock seems to have been entirely problems in command. G. Thompson resigned and problems with officers appointed by Hindman, who were as it turned out recomended by Marmaduke. I agree with you about the inconclusive data from the trial record. It seems to point all towards the officers, still I remain skeptical about a few ponits. Lt. Blanton's account is the most troubling to me, as is Major Smith. You will note his lack of full disclosure to some of the questions put to both of them by the Judge Advocate, Captain Rathbun, who was a deliberate man when it came to trial work. It has always been a common trait when a matter of honor appeared against a unit, that officers and men closed ranks. Mostly for the sake of the regiment, but reputations are to be considered. Thus I will put it to the readers to consider their own interpretations without my trying to add bias to the situation.
Your point seems contrary when you state that Blanton seems to be talking about the entrenchments around the Stockade as well as the Stockade. There weren't any entrenchments around the stockade but further north. That and the fact the Stockade was unmanned when captured. Still though, that was my thought also when I read the testimony. In the mid morning hours of the fight there were considerable shifting of troops, but I am certain that the 6th was not fully engaged as the 12th and 5th were. Your point about the posting at Prairie Grove would seem to follow also. Still though the regiment was manifesting problems prior to the battle and could well have been posted there to keep a good hand on it.
The question of the Cowards posting is very puzzling. In the Trans-Mississippi order book on page 177 lists 29 names from Gordons regiment who were listed as missing, four from Shanks, and 10 from Thompsons' All of these men, with only a few exceptions are not shown in the CSR's. Why is that I wonder.
As you say there are troubling questions needing further study.