called in Captain Duffield and ordered the woods scoured in the vicinity of the camp, which was done, but no enemy found. It being near night, I pitched my camp upon the ground where we first formed, intending, after resting and feeding, to pursue and make a night attack upon them.
About 8 p. m. I received information that Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer was west of me some 10 miles, with 500 men. This information, together with the exhausted condition of my men, having been without sleep forty hours, induced me to defer any further movement until morning. I at once dispatched a messenger to Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer, advising him of my whereabouts, and asking him to join me as early as practicable next morning. Thus ended our operations at Brown's Spring, notable not for what the men did, but for what they dared.
At daylight I ordered Lieutenant Pinhard, Company E, Ninth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, with 25 men, to cross the creek below the rebel camp, moving down the north side. I at the same time ordered Lieutenant Spencer, Company E, Third Iowa Cavalry, with 25 men, to move down the south bank, directing them to proceed cautiously, pursuing the rebel trail as soon as they found it, and advising me promptly of their presence or movements.
After dispatching these parties I ascertained that Porter had encamped during the night on the Auxvasse about 4 miles southeast of me, and that his intention was to move down the creek. With the rest of my force I at once moved for his place of encampment. On approaching the old Saint Charles road I discovered a body of troops moving east, and, pressing forward, we soon overtook them. They proved to be the advance of Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer's column, 80 men, under Captain Higdon, the column itself being but a short distance behind. I continued moving along the Saint Charles road until I reached a point about 1 mile east of the Auxvasse, Here I halted until the column of Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer came up. It consisted of detachments from Companies A, C, E, F, G, H, I, and K, Merrill's Horse, 306 men; detachments from Companies F, G, and H, Third Iowa Cavalry, under Major Caldwell, 83 men; Companies B and D, Tenth Regiment cavalry, Missouri State Militia, 120 men, and an independent company of cavalry, Captain Rice, 38 men.
I at once ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer, with the detachments of Merrill's Horse; Companies B and D, Tenth Regiment of Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, and Captain Rice's company, Red Rovers, 38 men, to cross the Auxvasse, moving down the east side of the creek, as near to it as practicable, and engage the enemy if he should come up with him, relying on my co-operation as soon as I should hear the report of his guns. My object was to prevent the escape of the enemy and bring him to an engagement at once. With my original column, augmented by the addition of a detachment of Third Iowa Cavalry, 83 men, I moved down the west side of the creek. I had already been advised that my advance was on the rebel trail and that his pickets had been seen moving forward to reach the head of my column. I found it detached. Through some misapprehension of orders, and in their eagerness to follow, my original column shot ahead, leaving the re-enforcements more than a mile in the rear. Galloping to halt the advance and to order our flankers, I had arrived within about 40 yards of it, when a terrific volley was poured upon it from the woods on the east side of the road. The advance instantly wheeled into line and returned the fire from their horses. I ordered them to dismount, which they did with as much coolness and composure as if going to walk into a country church; that too, upon the very spot where they