ambulances on the field, was distinguished for his energy and admirable arrangements for the relief of the dying and care of the wounded.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. S. ROBERTS,
Colonel, Volunteers, Commanding.
Captain WILLIAM J. L. NICODEMUS,
12th Infantry, Act. Asst. Adjt. General, Dept. New Mexico.
Numbers 3. Reports of Major Thomas Duncan, Third U. S. Cavalry, and resulting correspondence.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD REGIMENT OF CAVALRY, Fort Craig, N. Mex., February 23, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the troops under may command at the battle of Valverde, on the 21st instant:
On leaving here at about 8 o'clock on the morning of that day my command was composed of Companies C, D, G, and K, Third U. S. Cavalry, and Company G, First U. S. Cavalry. After marching a short distance up the river I was directed by Colonel B. S. Roberts, commanding column, to leave my rear company as an escort and to proceed rapidly with the other four to the upper end of the Mesa del Contadero, and, if possible, to cross the river and hold the bosque on the opposite side, so as to prevent the enemy from reaching the water.
On arriving at the ford I found two companies of Colonel Valdez's mounted volunteers. These, as well as my own command, were crossed over as promptly as possible; but we had no sooner arrived on the river bank than a large force of the enemy's cavalry could be seen in the woods a few hundred yards to our front. It was soon discovered that his squadrons of cavalry were moving rapidly to our left under cover of the timber, and I immediately ordered Lieutenant Claflin, with his company (G, First U. S. Cavalry), to proceed up the river, in order to observe the enemy's movements. In a few minutes this officer returned and reported that the enemy's cavalry had reached the river about 1,000 yards above us, watered their horses, and were returning in numbers, had the advantage of a thick cover of timber, and by this time had brought up a piece of artillery and put it in position at close range to my front and right, I saw that it would be folly to move forward and attack him. I therefore dismounted my command, had the horses and horse-holders concealed as well as possible behind a low sand ridge, about 80 yards form and parallel to the river, and deployed the remainder of the men behind some small sand hills, logs, and a few scattering trees, about 100 yards in advance of the horses, determined, if possible, to hold the position and keep the enemy back from the ford until our artillery and infantry could arrive and cross. The enemy constantly sent forward small reconnoitering parties to examine the nature of the ground and the number and kind of my force, but the accurate aim of our sharpshooters as often prevented them from getting near enough the ascertain my real weakness.
32 R R-VOL IX