pieces of artillery. At 11 o'clock a. m. heard firing in the direction of the landing, which was reported as a conflict between the rebels and forces disputing their passage over the river. At 12 m. moved the command, consisting of 500 of the Third Iowa, a squad of German artillerists, and about 70 Home Guards, in the direction of Blue Mills Landing. On the route learned that a body of our scouts had fallen in with the enemy's pickets, and lost 4 killed and 1 wounded. Before starting dispatched courier to Colonel Smith to hasten his command. About 2 miles from Liberty the and guard drove in the enemy's pickets. Skirmishers closely examined the dense growth through which our route lay, and at 3 p. m. discovered the enemy in force, concealed on both sides of the road, and occupying the dry bed of a slough his left resting on the river and the right extending beyond our observation. He opened a heavy fire, which drove back our skirmishers, and made simultaneous attacks upon our front and right. These were well sustained, and he retired with loss to his position. In the attack on our front the artillery suffered so severely that the only piece, a brass 6-pounder, was left without sufficient force to man it, and I was only able to have it discharged twice during the action. Some of the gunners abandoned the piece, carrying off the matches and primer, and could not be rallied.
The enemy kept up a heavy fire from his position. Our artillery useless, and many of the officers and men already disabled, it was deemed advisable to fall back, which was done slowly, returning the enemy's fire, and completely checking pursuit. The 6-pounder was brought off by hand, though the gallantry of Captain Trumbull, Lieutenants Crosley and Knight, and various officers and men of the Third Iowa, after it had been entirely abandoned by the artillerists. The ammunition wagon, becoming entirely abandoned by the artillerists. The ammunition wagon, becoming fastened between a tree and log at the road-side in such a manner that it could not be released without serious loss, was abandoned.
The engagement lasted one hour and was sustained by my command with an intrepidity that merits my warmest approbation.
I have to regret the loss of a number of brave officers and men, who fell gallantly fighting at their posts. I revere to the inclosed list of killed and wounded as a part of his report.* the heavies fire was sustained by Company I, Third Iowa Volunteers, which lost 4 killed and 20 wounded, begin one-fourth of our total loss.
Major Stone, Captains Warren, Willett, and O'Neill wee severely wounded, and also Lieutenants Hobbs, Anderson, Tullis, and Knight. The latter refused to retire from the field after being three times wounded, and remained with his men till the close of the engagement.
Among the great number who deserve my thanks for their gallantry, I might mention Segt. James F. Lakin, of Company F, Third Iowa, who bore the colors, and carried them into the thickest of the fight with all the coolness of a veteran.
The loss of the enemy cannot be certainly ascertained, but from accounts deemed reliable is not less than 160, many of whom were killed. His total force was about 4,400.
Your most obedient servant,
Lieutenant-Colonel Third Iowa Volunteers.
S. D. STURGIS, Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.