We advanced in this new order across the field and entered the woods on the west side by a narrow road going west. Following this road about a quarter of a mile we came upon a small prairie extending 300 yards west and about 150 yards wide to the north. On the south open fields under fence extended for a quarter of a mile to the west. This prairie was surrounded on the north and west by timber and low brush.
At this point we came in full view of the enemy's cavalry passing along about a half mile distant to the north. No other force being discovered, who was present and in command, about 200 yards, and immediately opened fire on the cavalry of the enemy on the road to the north-west. One company of the First Missouri Cavalry was in line of battle on the left of the guns and one company of the same troops on the right.
The companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry were formed in line of battle in rear of the guns, parallel with the road and facing to the north. While forming the Benton Hussars in line on the right of the Third Iowa Cavalry and facing the west, I was ordered by General Osterhaus to send two companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry down the road to the west, to charge the enemy's at a point supposed to be about a half mile distant. This order was communicated by me to Lieutenant-Colonel Trimble, who immediately advanced with columns of fours, which was necessary, the road leading along a fence on the south and thick brush and woods being on the north. The Benton Hussars were now in line about 100 yards to the right and rear of the battery of three guns, and the Fremont Hussars were yet in column of fours at the edge of the prairie, having just arrived on the ground. The Third Iowa Cavalry galloped down the road, and going beyond the edge of the woods or timber on the west side of the prairie they unexpectedly found themselves in front of several lines of infantry heretofore unseen, and who were drawn up in line to the front and right of our men, at short musket-range. This large force I afterwards learned from rebel officers who were taken prisoners was the divisions of McCulloch, McIntosh, and Pike, and consisted of several regiments of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas troops, who were concentrating there evidently intending to attack your camp from the direction of Leetown.
The companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry were immediately wheeled into line facing the enemy, it being impossible for them to advance in column farther, when they at once received a deadly fire from the near and overwhelming numbers of the foe, who were also partly concealed and protected by the woods and brush. A large number of my men and horses were here killed and wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Trimble, at the head of the column, was severely wounded in the head. This fire was returned by the Third Iowa Cavalry from their revolvers with considerable effect.
Just at this moment a large force of the enemy's cavalry charged from the north upon different portions of our cavalry line, and, passing through the lines, went into the fields in our rear. The Third Iowa Cavalry companies now charged this cavalry force, and an exciting running cavalry fight ensued between these forces, the enemy fleeing and being pursued by my men to the south. The enemy was followed in this direction by the Third Iowa Cavalry alone to the brush on the other side of the large open fields. The loss of the enemy in this running fight was very heavy, and estimated by me, from the most reliable information I have been able to obtain, at 82.
In this same charge of the enemy's cavalry a portion of them came