Army of New Mexico the operations of the light battery which I had the honor to command in the battle of Valverde, N. Mex., on February 21.
I received orders on the morning of the 21st, at camp, 5 miles below the battle-ground, and opposite Fort Craig, to detach one section of the battery, under Lieutenant [James] Bradford, to march in the front of the column and head of the train to Valverde, and place the other section and remain myself in rear with the Second Regiment of Sibley's brigade, which orders were executed.
About an hour after he head of the column had moved I received intelligence that a large body of the enemy's cavalry, infantry, and artillery had taken up the line of march for Valverde.
I then placed the section of the battery in command of Lieutenants [Jordan W.] Bennett and [Joseph H.] McGinnis, and went to the head of the column; before reaching the head of the train I heard the firing of the advance at Valverde.
I found Lieutenant Bradford, with his section, at the head of the train, and ordered the pieces to the place of firing at a gallop, and in a few minutes it was placed in battery about the center of Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry's regiment, and commenced firing upon the battery of the enemy and his line in a few minutes. I lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded, which left but 5 cannoneers to man the two pieces. I then kept up the fire alternately with the pieces. Finding it impossible to use the pieces with steady and effective fire, I called upon Lieutenant-Colonel Scurry for men to fill up the detachments of the guns, which were immediately sent from Lieutenant Ripley's company of howitzers. After sustaining the action in another position.
Lieutenants Bennett and McGinnis having by this time reached our line, I ordered them to place their section in battery, which they did, and opened upon the enemy with good effect.
From the great length of the enemy's line and his superior number I found it necessary to detach the pieces. Lieutenant Bradford was sent to the extreme left flank with his piece to support Majors Lockridge and Pyron's commands, which had been engaged with the enemy for more than an hour; Lieutenant McGinnis, with his gun, on the right of Major Lockridge's battalion; Lieutenant Bennett at the center of the right flank, and the other piece at the extreme right flank; Lieutenant Riley, with his battery of howitzers, on the right wing. The different pieces and howitzers changed positions, however, during the action as circumstances required, and were used with effect whenever the enemy presented a front or his battery in view.
Having received orders that our troops were about to charge the enemy, I placed the guns in battery upon the extreme right flank as a reserve, in case the charge was unsuccessful, so that I could open the line of the enemy with raking shots or engage his battery until our troops would prevent my firing by their closing with the enemy. The charge was made by our line, and in eight minutes his battery was captured and his troops completely routed. Lieutenant Ochiltree, aide-de-camp, rode back and ordered the guns forward, which order was executed, and soon the enemy's guns, as well as ours, were opened on his retreating forces. Firing was kept up from our guns until the enemy's rear was out of range of them; I then ordered the firing to cease.
I lost 4 men killed, including 2 who died the day after the battle,