Without halting, I continued the march over a broken and rough timbered country, arriving at Fulton about daylight in the morning, the distance being about 27 miles. I found the post had not been attacked, and that the rebel force was still posted at Brown's Spring and received accessions hourly. The force at Fulton consisted of about 80 men, under Captain George Duffield, Company E, Third Iowa Cavalry. Prominent Union men of Fulton advised that my force was too small to proceed farther, and instead that I should wait at Fulton for re-enforcements. Knowing of no available force in reach, and that delay would encourage the rebel element and greatly increase their force, I determined to advance with the troops at my disposal. After feeding and refreshing men and horses I started for their camp, having augmented my force by the addition of 50 men of Company E, Third Iowa Cavalry, under Captain Duffield, making my aggregate force 186 men.
Our route lay through a comparatively open country until we reached the vicinity of the camp, which we did about 1 p. m. Here I learned, from rebel citizens brought in, that Porter was still encamped at the Spring with his whole force, numbering from 600 to 900, and that he would certainly give us battle. I found the Spring situated on the south bank of the Auxvasse, in a narrow horseshoe bottom, completely hemmed in by a low bluff, covered with heavy timber and dense undergrowth, being about 1 mile east of the crossing of the Mexico and Fulton road.
Advancing cautiously, when I had reached a point about 1 mile south of the camp I ordered Captain Duffield to move with his company along the Mexico road until he reached the north bank of the Auxvasse, to dismount, to hitch his horses back, and post his men in a brush along a by-path leading from the Spring to the Mexico road; when there, to await the retreat of the enemy or to come up in his rear in case he made a stand at the Spring. With the rest of my force, after waiting for Captain Duffield to reach the position assigned him, I moved rapidly in a northeasterly direction, through fields and farms, taking position in a small arm of open prairie, about 400 yards southeast of the camp and about 150 yards from the brush striking the creek. Here I dismounted my whole force, hitching the horses to the fences in our rear, and, forming upon the right and left of the section, which was brought to bear upon the rebel camp, I now ordered Captain Glaze, with 50 men, composed of detachments from the different companies, to move directly upon the camp, advancing cautiously through the brush and along the bluff until he reached the camp or met the enemy, and, in either event, to engage him, falling back promptly upon our line. While this order was being executed I received intelligence that a small party of the enemy was seen in the brush about half a mile to our right. I immediately sent Captain Cook, with 20 men, to reconnoiter the ground and ascertain what force was there. On reaching the edge of the timber he discovered a party of 10 or 15 rebels just emerging from the brush. The captain promptly fired upon them, unhorsing 3 of the party and scattering the rest in confusion. It was afterward ascertained that one of the party was mortally, and another seriously, wounded. After waiting some forty minutes I received a message from Captain Glaze that he had reached the camp and that the enemy had fled. I immediately went forward to the camp, found it had been abandoned in hot haste, the enemy leaving behind them one wagon, a quantity of bacon, meal, several sheep, and their dinner, which was just ready, unserved. I discovered, on examining the trail going off, that they had dispersed in squads, going down the creek in a northeasterly direction. I at once