ment, with a battalion of the Seventh, under Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, and Captain Teel's battery, were ordered to make a strong, threatening demonstration on the fort, while Scurry, with the Fourth, well flanked by Pyron's command on the left, should feel his way cautiously to the river.
This movement was unfortunately delayed by the loss during the night, by careless herding, of 100 mules of the baggage train of the Fourth Regiment. Rather than the plan should be defeated a number of wagons were abandoned, containing the entire kits, blankets, books, and papers of this regiment, and, meanwhile, what was left of the trains was kept in motion over the sand hills, which the enemy had deemed impossible.
On reaching the river bottom at Valverde it was ascertained that the enemy, anticipating our movement, had thrown a large force of infantry and cavalry up the river to dispute the water with us. Pyron immediately engaged him with his small force of 250 men, and gallantly held his ground against overwhelming odds until the arrival of Scurry with the Fourth Regiment and Lieutenant Riley's battery of light howitzers.
At 12 m., the action becoming warm and the enemy evidently receiving large re-enforcements, I ordered Green's regiment and Teel's battery to the front. These in the course of an hour gallantly entered into action and the battle became general. Subsequently Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, with his battalion, was ordered forward from the rear and did right good service, leading his men even to the cannon's mouth.
At 1.30 p. m., having become completely exhausted, and finding myself no longer able to keep the saddle, I sent my aides and other staff officers to report to Colonel Green. His official report attests the gallantry of their bearing and his final success, resulting in the capture of their battery and driving the enemy in disorder from the field, and thus evidencing his own intrepidity and the indomitable courage of all engaged.
From information derived from reliable sources, the forces opposed to us could not have been less than 5,000 men, with a reserve of 3,000 at the fort. Ours did not exceed 1,750 on the field, viz: the Fourth Regiment, 600; Fifth, 600; Seventh, 300; and Pyron's command (of Second Mounted Regiment Rifles), 250. This signal victory should have resulted in the capture of the fort, as fresh troops had been brought forward to pursue and follow the discomfited column of the enemy. A flag of truce was opportunely dispatched by the Federal commander before he reached the gates of his fort, and which was for two hours supposed by our troops to be a proposition to surrender.
This flag had for its object the burying of the dead and removal of their wounded; and I regret to state here, for the sake of old associations, that, under this flag and another sent next day, the enemy, availing himself our our generosity and confidence in his honor, not only loaded his wagons with arms picked up on the battle-field, but sent a force up and actually succeeded in recovering from the river one 24-pounder which had been left in our hands. Even a guidon and a flag, taken in the same way, under the cover of night, and a white flag were boastingly pointed to, in an interview under a flag of truce between one of my aides and the Federal commander at the fort, as trophies of the fight.
The burying of the dead and care of the wounded occasioned a delay of two days on the field, thus leaving us with but five days' scant rations. In this dilemma the question arose whether to assault the fort in this crippled condition or move rapidly forward up the river,