the evening previous to the conflict I had placed cavalry pickets on the Huntsville and on a cross-road leading into the Springfield and Bentontville road, supported by infantry. I should here remark that I had two companies of cavalry attached to my command, to wit: Company G, commanded by Captain Barbour Lewis, of the First Missouri Cavalry, and Company M, commanded by Captain James H. O'Connor, of the Third Illinois Cavalry. About 3 o'clock the morning of the engagement Private Welch, of Company M, Third Illinois Cavalry while on duty near the Bentonville road, was captured by a party rebel cavalry. While on the road to the rebels' camp he suddenly turned into a by-road and fortunately escaped, minus his arms. In the mean time my pickets reported a force moving around on our left flank. I immediately ordered Company F, of my battalion, commanded by Captain S. P. Barris, together with my two companies of cavalry, to go out into the cross-roads and reconnoiter the enemy, and ascertain, if possible, their strength. They proceed to do as ordered, and on arriving near our picket ground they discovered a small force of rebel cavalry, who upon their approach fell back through a field and copse of timber. Captain Barris, dividing his company, sent Lieutenant Hart to the right and went to the left himself, the cavalry keeping up the center. They followed them a short distance and gave them one or two volleys, which caused them to disperse and disappear. The whole then returned to camp.
I soon learned of a force approaching on the Cassville road. I immediately sent Company B, commanded by Captain R. W. Fyan, down the road, with instructions to take them, supposing them to be the same scouting party before alluded to at the cross-roads. On arriving near the tannery Captain Fyan, discovering the force to be larger than before anticipated, sent back to be re-enforced. I immediately sent him Companies I and h, under command of Lieutenant Lyon, of Company H, to his assistance, at the same time ordering out the two remaining companies, A and F, to be in readiness, and sent Company K, Captain J. R. Vanzant, with my train and 40 prisoners then in charge, to the extreme rear. At this time, receiving information that the enemy were on our left and steadily moving around to our right, I deployed the second platoon of Company A on the high hill to the left, and the first platoon, together with Company F, to the right, as skirmishers. My entire command being now engaged, I waited patiently for the result of what was yet to be. After waiting anxiously for an hour or more, I was somewhat relieved by the appearance of Acting Brigadier-General Carr and his division. I then drew in my companies of infantry that were deployed as skirmishers on the right, and took a position on the extreme left of the division, bordering on the base of the hill, deploying Company A to the cone of the hill and Company F down the ravine making down from the house, holding this position for two hours or more. My men being in range of the enemy's battery, their ranks gradually being thinned, and the infantry of the enemy slowly closing in upon them with greatly superior numbers, I ordered them to retire to my main line. I then took a position in line of battle on the brow of the hill; deployed Lieutenant Hart and 20 men to the cone of the hill. This position I held till forced to retire with the Ninth Iowa, under a raking fire of a vastly superior number of the enemy's fresh troops.
After falling back some distance I again formed my battalion, and the field officers of the Ninth Iowa Volunteers all being absent or wounded (Colonel Vandever commanding a brigade), I assisted in