Tahlequah or Fort Gibson with the train and disable men - being too ill to accompany the expedition - I was unwilling to withdraw and abandon the expedition unless compelled to do so by a superior force. I had been placed, by the order detaching the fort Texas regiments at the same time that I was sent on a very hazardous expedition even with their aid, in the dilemma of being censured for disobedience of orders If I retreated; or, on the other hand, running the risk of defeat, and perhaps capture of the small force under my command if I awaited the attack of the Federals. The result is known.
We were attacked on the morning of October 22 by an overwhelming force before the arrival of the Choctaws or the First Creek Regiment, and barely escaped the entire destruction of the whole command, including a valuable train, in which was some 10,000 or 12,000 pounds of powder.
Our loss was small, so far as I have been able to ascertain - 6 killed and about 30 wounded - while the Federal loss in killed and wounded was from 75 to 100. Considering the great disparity of numbers the Indians did well, the Federal strength being at least 5,000, while mine was only about 1,500.
The First Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment and Howell's battery stood manfully to their guns, the former never giving way until the battery had been captured.
Colonel Buster, who was in command of the camp at [Old] Fort Wayne, I am satisfied did all that could be done under the circumstances to save the command, and Lieutenant Colonel S. N. Folsom and Major Jones, of the First Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment; Captain Wills, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant Thornton B. Heiston, aide-de-camp, and Captain Coarser, military instructor, are reported to me as having acted with great gallantry.
Colonel Stand Watie, with the First Cherokee Regiment, rendered important service by preventing the enemy on the left from occupying the Tahlequah road, and was, as he always is, conspicuous for his bravery.
Lieutenant Colonel Chilly McIntosh behaved with great coolness and courage.
Colonel D. N. McIntosh, with the First Creek Regiment, arrived in time to learn the capture of our only battery and to participate in the retreat, but, in conjunction with Major Bryan's, rendered important service by checking the advance of the Federal cavalry at Spavina Creek, thus enabling the train to escape.
The retreat was effected by way of Long Prairie (where we overtook Colonel Sampson Folsom and his regiment) to the Moravian Mission; thence to Tahlequah, and thence, next day, to Fort Gibson. From Fort Gibson and Cantonment Davis we were compelled, by want of subsistence, to move down to this place, having first ascertained that the enemy did not pursue, but returned to Maysville from Spavina Creek. This unfortunate affair resulted from a combination of untoward circumstances: First, the deprivation of the four Texas regiments by order of General Rains, thus forcing me to wait for the Indians to assemble; second, their tardiness and the disobedience of orders by Colonel Sampson Folsom, and third, my own illness. The indians, unaccustomed to obey any other white man, did not, I am convinced, make the resistance they would have made had I been able to be with them. The artillery, or the greater portion of it, might, I think, have been saved. I be no means intend to censure the officers in command. They and the men stood by their guns till nearly all the horses were killed, as well as several men and many wounded. I have been informed that