Not a man was visible, and the whole front blazed with the flash of fire, and 4 men were killed and 9 wounded, including Captain Heath. Captain Caldwell, with 60 dismounted men, took cover behind a rail fence and engaged them, having changed front from the flank to Heath's position, and maintained his ground until a firing in his rear alarmed him for the safety of his horses, when he fell back. When he was assured of the safety of his rear, and moved up for a second attack, he found the enemy had disappeared, taking with them their dead and wounded. On finding them in force, and after the first attack, he dispatched an express to headquarters.
I hastened to their relief with every available man int he camp, and reached them at 5 o'clock the next morning, when I found the enemy had been in retreat for eighteen hours. With my camp here entirely unprotected I did not deem it prudent to go on in pursuit, but sent Captain Caldwell, with 56 men, to follow and hold them in observation, and returned myself to Butler. I made a march of 70 miles in twenty-three hours, although I had eaten but once for three days. Since I returned an express has come in with information that they were at Montevallo, and that their force had increased to 700 men. I sent out 100 men immediately to make a forced march, and shall follow in the morning with all of my disposable force.
Out loss was 2 killed, 3 wounded. Captain Clarey, a prisoner, who escaped by sawing off the rivet of his ball and chain and was with them, confessed to a loss of 11 killed and 18 wounded. He saved the lives of our wounded, and also protected them from being plundered. He said to one of them, whom he knew, "You cut us up like h--l."
Both officers and men behaved with great gallantry, but Captain Heath's charge was of the "Six hundred" style; but he received them warmly, in his experiment of running a flank along a double line of shot-guns and Minie muskets at 30 yards. The whole country is now in the brush, and we need carbines and cannon. Carbines we must have. It is no better than murder to send men into these brush fights with Colt's navy revolvers. Some of my command (140) whom I took out had nothing but sabers.
There will be a concentration somewhere and a movement north. There are no troops at
and none at Osceola. Murder, plunder, and outrage are rife. Half of them have never taken the oath and given bonds. Let me now utter an opinion, which I have expressed to my friends ever since I came into this service: It is to be a war of extermination. There is no half-way house and no neutral position. We are to be driven out and annihilated or they are. It is an inveterate, malignant hatred, which will last to the end of life. After chasing and capturing these unmitigated scoundrels they are being tried by a military commission of some of our best officers, to be fed at the expense of the Government, and after we are dead and gone some of them may by chance be found guilty and have a mild punishment; but of that we take the chances. You can get no positive testimony from these butternuts. they tell one story to the judge-advocate in the morning, but when confronted with the prisoners their evidence amounts to nothing. Excuse a peevish temper. I made 70 miles without sleep or food.
I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
FITZ HENRY WARREN,
Colonel First Iowa Cavalry.
Major LUCIEN J. BARNES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Jefferson City, Mo.