War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0519 Chapter XXI. ENGAGEMENT OF VALVERDE, N. MEX.

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kept up the contest and maintained their position behind a low line of sand hills. About this time one section of Captain Teel's battery came up and took position and replied to the fire of the enemy.

At 12 o'clock, while, under the orders of the general, I was threatening the fort on the south side of the mesa, I received his orders to move up, with all my disposable force, to the support of Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry and Major Pyron, after leaving a sufficient force to protect the train which was then moving from our late camp around the mesa to the battle ground, and which was stretched out for several miles. Our train was threatened by a considerable body of the troops of the enemy, who made their appearance on the mesa. Detaching Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton's command and a detachment from my own regiment to protect the train, I moved up, with a much speed as practicable, with eight companies of my regiment, sending forward Major Lockridge, with the two companies of lancers, under Captains Lang and [Jerome B.] McCown. My companies were placed in the line of battle, between Pyron on the left and Scurry on the right, except three, which were sent by me, under Lieutenant-Colonel [H. C.] McNeill, to drive the enemy from the north point of the mesa, where they were annoying our left and threatening our train.

After these dispositions I moved up to the line of battle myself, and by the orders of the general took command of the forces present. The enemy during the day, and, with intermission, kept up a brisk cannonade upon us, to which our 6-pounders, under Captain Teel, replied with effect. The enemy repeatedly advanced with their skirmishers to near our lines, killing many of our horses tied in the rear.

About 3 p. m. a most galling fire was opened upon Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry's command, on our right, by 300 or 400 of the enemy's riflemen. Captain Lang, of the Fifth Regiment, with about 40 of his lancers, made at this time one of the most gallant and furious charges on these light troops of the enemy ever witnessed in the annals of battles. His little troop was decimated, and the gallant captain and Lieutenant Bass severely wounded - the latter in seven places. The enemy were repulsed by this gallant charge, and our right was for some time unmolested.

Large bodies of the enemy's infantry having crossed the river about 3.30 p. m., bringing over with them six pieces of splendid artillery, about position in front of us, on the bank of the river, at a distance of 600 yards. In addition to this body of troops two 24-pounder howitzers were placed on our left flank by the enemy. These were supported by a regiment of infantry and a regiment of cavalry. The heaviest fire of the whole day was opened about this time on our left, which was under the command of the gallant Lockridge. Our brave men on that part of the line maintained the unequal fight with desperate courage, though overwhelmingly outnumbered. Lieutenant-Colonel Sutton, now coming up with part of his battalion, took position on our left.

The enemy, now being on our side of the river, opened upon us a tremendous fire of round shot, grape, and shell. Their force in numbers was vastly superior to ours; but, having the most unbounded confidence in the courage of our troops, I ordered a charge on their battery and infantry of regulars in front, and at the same time Major Ragnet, of the Fourth, with four companies of the same, and Captain Ragsdale's company, of the Fifth, were directed by me to charge as cavalry upon the infantry and Mexican cavalry and the two 24-pounder howitzers on our left flank.

Our dismounted troops in front were composed of parts of the Fourth