Numbers 11. Report of Colonel Thomas Ewing, jr., Eleventh Kansas Infantry.
HDQRS. ELEVENTH REGIMENT KANSAS VOLUNTEERS,
Camp at Cane Hill, Ark., December 12, 1862.
COLONEL: In compliance with your order of this date, I submit a report of the part taken by the Eleventh Regiment of Kansas Volunteers on the late battle of Prairie Grove.
At 1 p. m. of the 7th instant, as the Third Brigade reached Rhea's Mills, in march from Boston Mountain, the sound to cannon was heard from the battle-field, 5 miles east of the Mills. By your order I followed with my regiment close after Rabb's battery, in its rapid drive to the field, losing out of the ranks about 50 men, who were enable to keep pace with the command. As the battery took position, I sent the left wing of my regiment, with lieutenant-Colonel Moonlight and Major [P. B.] Plumb, to its left, while, with the adjutant and sergeant-major of the regiment, I marched the right of the battery. Thence I was immediately ordered by General Blunt to move with the five companies composing that wing, and form in line of battle with the left of the Thirteenth Regiment; which being done, we moved through the orchard and field adjacent to it, to the road on the hillside, about 600 yards from where we left the battery. Here a musketry engagement ensued with the enemy, who were about 200 yards in advance of us, under cover of the crest of the hill. Two howitzers of the Second Kansas took position at the blacksmith shop, in front of my right, and played effectively upon the enemy for half and hour, and then withdrew for want of ammunition. The musketry fire nearly ceased when the howitzers commenced playing, but was renewed when they withdrew.
When the engagement had lasted here about an hour, I noticed that the First Indian Regiment, which had entered the wood about 300 yards to the left of me, had been driven out, and were fleeing toward the battery, which fact I at once communicated to Colonel [William] Weer, commanding Second Brigade, under whose orders I was the acting. In about five minutes afterward I was ordered to advance, and did so, in line, with the Thirteenth Regiment on my right, and three companies of the Second Kansas (dismounted), who had formed upon my left. When within about 25 yards of the crest of the hill, the enemy appeared in overwhelming numbers, advancing over the hill on our left and front. and poured on us a tremendous fire. My command remained, steadily holding their ground, until they had fired four rounds, when, seeing that the three companies of the Second Kansas had withdrawn, and finding that the enemy's force on our front, left, and rear was strong, and near enough to surround and overwhelm us, I ordered my command to fall back, which they did, firing. I then attempted to form again in the road on the hillside, but the enemy was too close upon us to render such formation practicable or the position tenable. I then ordered the to fall back, and formed them in the orchard lane, near the edge of the wood and at the foot of the hill, where they were partially sheltered by the broken fences forming the lane.
In this new position we remained three-quarters of an hour, hotly engaged with the enemy, who warmed in great numbers in the orchard and about the farm-house, out-buildings, and straw-piles adjacent, under cover of which they had apparently intended to move upon Rabb's battery, which had advanced to within 200 yards, of the wood.
7 R - VOL XXII, PT I