In the morning, having received information of the near approach of a considerable body of the enemy, I immediately ordered the different companies (amounting in the aggregate to 500 men) to be in readiness to move, which order was promptly obeyed. While in line I received your order to repair with my regiment to your headquarters; but having proceeded about half a mile I received intelligence from scouts I had sent out that a detachment of the enemy was flanking our force on the left. Without waiting for orders I counter-marched and took position on the Tahlequah road to meet this movement. My men were dismounted, leaving their horses hitched some 300 yards in the rear. They here awaited the appearance of the enemy, who in a short time discovered our position and commenced an attack. Most of the cannonading and firing in other parts of the field had at this time creased, and leaving Major Joseph Thompson in charge of the line, I advanced and made a rapid personal reconnaissance of the enemy, whom I discovered now moving with a considerable force of cavalry and infantry (about 3,000 strong) on the left, as before, and advancing on the road to Tahlequah. The regiment had then engaged the enemy with spirit, but I judged it [best] under the circumstances to order the men to retire to their horses and fall back to the Spavina. I had not proceeded far before I learned that our cannon had been captured and the rest of our force retreating. The enemy followed as far as the Spavina Creek, firing frequently into our rear and charging with their cavalry, creating some confusion in the ranks. My command reached the Moravian Mission a little before sunset, where a halt was made and scouts sent out in different directions.
It gratifies me to state that the officers and men of my command behaved with commendable spirit in the action and considerable damage must have been inflicted on the enemy, explicit orders having been given by the respective officers to the men within my hearing to reserve their fire until it could be delivered with fatal effect.
My loss in killed and wounded was some, though not large. At this time I am not able to estimate it with sufficient precision to make a report of it.
I am, colonel, with the highest respect, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Cherokee Regiment.
Colonel D. H. COOPER,
Commanding Indian Brigade.
OCTOBER 22, 1862.- Skirmish near Van Buren, Mo.
HEADQUARTERS SAINT LOUIS DISTRICT,
Saint Louis, October 24, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report to the general the complete success of the cavalry expedition ordered by me from Patterson, under Lazear, against Boone. Boone had 450 well-mounted, well-armed men this side of Van Buren. Lazear attacked him on the evening of the
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