A and F, having met a superior force, were checked in their advance, closed intervals, and formed on the right of the regiment in line of battle. A brisk fire was now opened by my entire command on the forces of Colonel Lowe, who occupied a position directly in front and under cove of a rail fence. The firing was continued with activity on both sides for thirty-five to forty minutes. My left company of skirmishers continued to advance until they turned the right flank of the enemy, commanded by Colonel Lowe.
At this time I received an order for a force to support a battery in my rear. As Company A had suffered more severely than any other from the first fire of the enemy, I ordered it back for that purpose. The enemy now began to retire from their cover, when our fire on them proved most destructive. Leaving Companies D and I as a reserve, I advanced on a double-quick with Companies C, E, F, H, and K, and took position behind the fence which at first covered the enemy. Company K was now ordered forward to the support of Company B on the extreme left. The advance of my skirmishers was rapid, completely turning the right of the enemy's infantry, driving them from and capturing on e of their pieces of artillery.
The flight and pursuit now became general and the victory complete. Colonel Lowe, the celebrated leader of the rebel forces, was killed while bravely fighting at the head of his regiment. He fell directly in front of our center, with his pistol firmly clenched in his hand and ready to fire. Seventeen prisoners, including two captains, with a large quantity of arms, were captured.
My force in the engagement was composed of all the able-bodied men on my regiment except Company G, which was, by your order, left at Cape Girardeau, to assist in guarding the place. I had inthe engagement, officers, 18; non-commissioned officers, 72; privates, 336. Aggregate, 426.
While we rejoice over the decisive victory gained over the enemy, I have to mourn the loss of 1 man killed and 27 wounded. I cannot speak too highly in praise of the conduct of both officers and men under my command. All, without exception, so far as I observed, performed their duty promptly and faithfully. The company commanders speak also in high terms of the coolness and courage exhibited by the men during the engagement. Major Smith and Lieutenant Kimball, acting adjutant, were always at their posts, and aided me materially during the contest in moving the troops, conveying orders, and executing commands. Dr. Kellogg, the surgeon of the regiment, was promptly on the field, engaged in the discharge of his duty. By his efficiency and skill he has established for himself the reputation of a first-class surgeon.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LEONARD F. ROSS,
Colonel Seventeenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers.
P. S. - In regard to the destruction of property by the troops at Fredericktown the night after the battle, it affords me pleasure to state that no member of my command participated in it.
L. F. ROSS, Colonel.
Colonel J. B. PLUMMER.