Wednesday at daylight we started in pursuit. Ten miles out we encountered their pickets, badly wounding one. Pressing on, at noon we arrived at their camp, to find that during the previous night it had been deserted. Passing 5 miles beyond, we came to the Spring River Mill, in the edge of Arkansas. Just before arriving at the mill our advance guard ran upon a squad of secesh, supposed to be Coleman's men; killed 2 and wounded 4. At the mill I had the wounds dressed, fed our horses, released our prisoners as an incumbrance, and pushed on west, a part of the time in Arkansas and part in Missouri. At 9 o'clock we camped, having traveled 40 miles. At daylight started again on the trail of the rebels, whom I had reason to suppose were 10 miles west, and had been re-enforced 100 men. Two miles, and we again encountered their pickets, but my advance guards failed to capture them. Ten miles brought us to their camp, by again deserted, and from all appearances in the greatest haste. Provisions were left, and even breakfast uneaten. Being satisfied they were not far in advance, I cautioned my advance and flankers to be on the alert to prevent surprise, and pushed on about 5 miles farther. I heard sharp firing in advance, and supposing my advance had encountered the retreating rebels, I galloped forward to find my guard engaged with the whole rebel force, estimated at from 600 to 1,000. They had taken a strong position in one of those pest-holes of creation, an Arkansas swamp, and we within 4 rods of them. Just then a ball struck Sergeant Rottaken and knocked him from his horse.
Turning, I found my whole battalion, including the howitzer, at my side, followed by Major Drake and the Iowa Third. Our sudden appearance seemed to paralyze the enemy for a moment, and knowing that everything depended upon immediate action, I ordered the howitzer into position to shell the swamp. I also ordered the men of my battalion to dismount, every fourth man to take the horses to the rear. I also ordered Major Drake to the right of the swamp. This order was obeyed in an instant, and the men advanced upon the enemy. Sergeant Moody threw two shells, but I noticed too high for those in our immediate front. By this time the enemy rallied and poured upon us a deadly fire. My bugler, who was at my side, fell from his horse. Young Watt was killed instantly at the cannon. Pierce, another one at the cannon, was badly wounded. Young Kendall fell mortally wounded. First Lieutenant R. H. C. Mack, of Company A, while leading his men bravely forward, fell mortally wounded. Several others were wounded. Turning, I rode to the howitzer and directed Sergeant Moody to load with grape and lower his piece. Just then my horse was pierced by two bullets, but Sergeant Moody instantly obeyed the order, when the rebels broke in the greatest confusion, my men of foot advancing from tree to tree. The enemy at this time attempted to retreat, but were met by a charge from the Iowa boys on the north, which drove them back into the swamp with a loss of 20 prisoners and a large number of killed and wounded. Two prisoners belonging to Major Bowen's battalion were also released. Among the prisoners is a nephew of the celebrated Jim Lane, of Kansas.
Had we been able to pursue the enemy into the swamp our triumph would have been complete, but Major Drake's men had no carbines and I could not use them on foot. Sergeant Moody informed me that he was out of ammunition for the howitzer, and I was also informed that my men in the swamp were also nearly out, some having fired 30 rounds, with which they were provided. I sent to the ammunition
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