and Lieutenant Agniel, all under command of Major Halderman, having been posted on the right of Totten's battery as support, where they suffered severely from a constant fire from the enemy's lines, were here ordered to the front, where they aligned upon the remnant of the six right companies, which had thus far borne the brunt of the battle. With but slight and immaterial chances of position the First Kansas occupied this ground for over two hours, repulsing or cutting to pieces one regiment after another as it was brought to the front.
While thus employed, Captain Cheneweth, Captain Clayton, and a portion of Captain Mcfarland's company, under Lieutenant Malone, were ordered to charge the enemy with their commands, which order they executed with great promptness, driving the enemy inside their encampment lines at the base of the hill, and returning to the main force, when threatened by a flank movement, at their own imminent peril and with considerable loss of life, While leading this charge Colonel Deitzler had his horse shot under him and was himself severely wounded.
About this time the Second Kansas Regiment was ordered to the front, but when at a point in rear of that occupied by the First Kansas they were fired upon by the enemy from an ambuscade, by which General Lyon was killed and Colonel Mitchell severely wounded, both of whom were at the column. Here, too, many officers and men of the Second were killed and wounded.
After this the regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Blair, fell back in order to the brow of the hill, where it formed, and at which place the remaining companies of the First Kansas formed upon their left, three companies having been posted on the brow of the hill and on the right of the battery.
After a short cessation of the volley firing it was recommenced by the enemy with great fury, and so continued for at least ten minutes, when our whole line opened upon them a most destructive fire, at which they broke and fled down the hill towards their encampment. At this time, by command of Major Sturgis, who throughout the engagement had acted with the utmost courage and self-possession, we retired from the field in good order, proceed by the ambulances containing our wounded. With scarcely any material change of position the First Kansas stood under fire; maintained every ground assigned it, without once turning its back upon the foe, for the five long hours during which the battle raged.
With about 800 men we marched upon the field; we left it with but 500.
The regimental commander deems it hardly necessary to say that all the officers and men of this command fought with a courage and heroism rarely, if ever, equaled. The list of killed, wounded, and missing, hereto attached, id the strongest witness for the valor of the living as well for the memory of the gallant dead.*
I am, sir, very respectfully, yours,
JOHN A. HALDERMAN,
Major, First Regiment Kansas Volunteers, Commanding.
Captain G. GRANGER, Acting Adjutant-General.
* See return of casualties on p. 72.