War of the Rebellion: Serial 009 Page 0638 OPERATIONS IN TEX., N. MEX., AND ARIZ. Chapter XXI.

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that distance above the fort. The action commenced about 10 o'clock, with artillery across the river at a distance of 1,000 yards and in forest of cottonwood trees, which gave the enemy greatly the advantage, as it shielded them from our artillery and even the small-arms that were used at that distance .

About 1 o'clock our whole force passed the river, having previously driven the enemy from his position near the river to the foot of and into the sand hills. The battle now raged with increased fury, and the enemy was to all appearances in the act of retreating from the ground, when, to hasten his retreat, one of our batteries of six guns, light artillery, was advanced some 200 yards nearer their position, which was in a degree covered by a ridge of sand, behind which they had taken momentary refuge, when, to the surprise of all, about 500 men came forth from that position and advanced steadily on to and finally captured the battery. This was not done without great loss to the captors, for of the 500 men that left the position of concealment not more than 200 arrived at the battery.

It is painful to relate that of the forces in position for the protection of the battery not one company advanced to its relief or even fired upon the enemy as he approached. The force consisted of two or more companies of regular troops and one regiment of volunteers. The regulars were ordered-nay, implored-to charge the enemy, by Colonel Canby, Major Donaldson, and Colonel Collins, superintendent of Indian affairs, who were all three present in immediate contact with the troops and within 10 or 20 yards of the battery when it was taken. The regulars having refused to advance, the volunteers followed their example, and both retired from the field, recrossing the river and leaving the battery in possession of the enemy. There was no flight, and the enemy gave no pursuit. He was evidently greatly crippled, and chose as the more prudent course to close the day with the advantage gained. Colonel Canby now ordered all our forces to recross the river, and marched into the fort some time after dark. Thus ended the bloody day of the 21st February.

A cessation of hostilities intervened the next day, for the purpose of burying the dead and removing the wounded from the field. On the following day, 23rd, a deputation of two officers waited upon Colonel Canby, asking a surrender of the fort, and indicated that very honorable terms would be granted. The proposition was peremptorily refused. The day following it was thought that the fort would certainly be attacked by the enemy. A council of war was held, in which it was determined rather to await the attack of the enemy in the fort than to attack him again in his strong position. The number of men in the fort was more than could be usefully employed, and it was ordered by Colonel Canby that the militia lately called into the service should withdraw from the fort and make a detour that would place them in advance of the enemy. This had to be done by a night march, which was effected without much difficulty and with no loss, except in the dispersion of the militia, but few of whom have been embodied since they emerged from the mountains and reached the settlements upon the Rio Grande. In fact, the enemy gave but little time for rallying.

On the morning of our arrival on the river in advance of the enemy, and before al had reached the place of rendezvous, it was ascertained that a body of the enemy, 400 strong, with two pieces of artillery, was in our neighborhood, and advancing at the rate of 30 miles per day. This they had done in order to capture a depot of provisions that was at Polvadera, 50 miles from Craig. The provisions, however, had been