War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0048 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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with the door and fire and light in the room. As it looked to me a little suspicious, I detailed Captain Stoddard, with a squad of men, to visit it. He entered it, and found the owner, Mr. Rodan, washing himself, and the different members of his family at household work. When asked whether he had seen my rebel soldiers, he replied that he had seen but one soldier during the last two weeks. Nothing extraordinary having been discovered, Captain Stoddard returned to his post, and we resumed our march. We had not proceeded more than 150 yards when, as soon as the guide advance guards passed, a body of rebels, almost 75 or 80 men, ambuscaded on the right of the road behind a rail fence, opened upon the detachment of the Tenth Iowa a deadly fire, covering almost all its length. I was at the head of this detachment, with Lieutenant-Colonel Small, commanding. The men were thrown into confusion, returned the fire at random, and probably without effect, but by our united efforts they were rallied in less than two minutes. Captains Randleman and Lusby, having been ordered to cross the fence and pursue the rebels, did it with spirit and promptitude, but the rebels, as usual, disappeared. Not knowing the force of the rebels, I thought it prudent to reform our line to the rear in the woods on our left, and began the painful duty of collecting our sick and wounded. Assistant Surgeon Dr. Willey, and his aid, Ephraim R. Davis, steward, took with considerable zeal and activity to their work, and a little later were ably assisted by Dr. Bailey, of the Twentieth Illinois. Short as the fire was, the Tenth Iowa had 5 killed, 2 mortally wounded, and 15 more or less severely. The line of ambuscade did not reach the other detachment. I must remark that even towards dawn the darkness was so intense that I did not dare to push my advance guard toward. I followed it closely for feat that we might lose each other. I could not throw out any flanks, because, even at the shortest distance, the connection must have to be kept up by hailing, which would have frustrated all attempts to surprise the rebels, by giving them early and continued warning. Deplorable as the result has been, I have to congratulate the promptitude with which every officer and man, notwithstanding the effect of first surprise, obeyed every order. Lieutenant-Colonel Small and all the officers have done their duty. On the 8th instant, in the morning, we put our sick on the cars and returned to our quarters.

The man Rodan having willfully and damnably denied all knowledge of the presence of the rebels, while in all probability the ambush proceeded from his house, I arrested and had him turned over to the officer of the post guard. He is at all events guilty of a capital crime, having misled us by his feigned ignorance and caused by this our severe loss. The charges against him will be made out and forwarded to the proper place.

Finally let me add the acknowledgment of prompt obedience and strict preservation of order to all officers and men of the other detachments composing my command.

I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,


Colonel, Commanding Expedition.

Brigadier General E. A. PAINE,

Commanding Bird's Point.