Colonel Roberts' direction immediately crossed the river, attached the enemy in his new position, repulsed a desperate charge of his cavalry, drove him with great loss from this position, and remained master of the field. The batteries were now crossed to the east bank of the river, and the effective fire of McRae's and Hall's batteries, aided by the small-arms of Seldon's and Duncan's commands, dislodged the enemy from all the positions and forced him to take shelter behind the sand hills. Three of his guns were disabled and left on the ground traversed by our troops, but were too much injured to be removed.
The position now occupied by the enemy was one of great natural strength, behind a sand ridge nearly parallel to the course of the river, which covered his guns and men from our fire, and in a great measure concealed his movements. Up to this time our loss in the Regulars and Colorado Volunteers had been 10 killed and 63 wounded. The arrival of the cavalry company and section of McRae's battery (94) actually added but 21 men to our effective strength, while the enemy, abandoning a large portion of his train, had just brought upon the field an additional force of 500 men.
The reports of the several commanders and a personal reconnaissance satisfied me that a direct attack upon his position would be attended with great loss, and would be of doubtful result. I determined to attempt to force the left of his line, and the dispositions of the troops to effect this was at once commenced, McRae's battery, resting on the river and strongly supported, forming the left, Selden's regular infantry and Carson's volunteers the center, Hall's battery, with its infantry support and Duncan's cavalry (dismounted riflemen), the right of our line; Pino's volunteers, a squadron of the First Cavalry, and Valdez's volunteers the reserve.
With this arrangement I hoped by advancing the right and center, turning upon the left as a point, to force the left of his line, enfilade his position behind the sand hill, and drive him from the field. Accordingly Carson's regiment, which at his own request had not hitherto been brought into action, was ordered to cross the river. Captain Lord was ordered to unite his own with Claflin's company, and report to me as the cavalry reserve. The support of McRae's battery was increased by Plympton's battalion (four companies of regulars and one of Colorado Volunteers), and Pino's regiment, then just coming up, was ordered to cross the river as the reserve for our left and an additional support for the battery. While these arrangements were in progress Hall's battery was attacked by a large force of the enemy's cavalry. Receiving from Major Duncan urgent and repeated messages, I detached first Ingraham's company of the Seventh Infantry to support the battery, and then Wingate's battalion of the Fifth to aid in repelling the attack. This was soon accomplished, and Carson's regiment, which had just crossed the river, attracted by the firing, joined in the which and by a well-directed fire added to the discomfiture of the enemy, who fled precipitately, and did not stop until he had passed beyond the second range of sand hills.
At this moment a formidable storming party, supported by several infantry columns and four pieces of artillery, the whole estimated at more than 1,000 men, suddenly made its appearance from behind the sand ridge, and moved rapidly upon McRae's battery. Perceiving that Plympton's command was entirely unsuspicious of the danger that threatened the battery, I hastened in person to point it out and make arrangements for its defense, but before this could be fully accomplished the volunteers that formed a part of its support gave way, and