War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0190 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

Donald, and Colonels Porter, Thompson, Burbridge, Shelby, Hinkle [?], Jeffers, and Campbell.

The battle opened after the fire of artillery by a charge of Jeffers' cavalry, 700 strong, on our whole line. The infantry, lying flat, held themselves with great coolness until the line was in easy range, when they fired with great accuracy and threw the whole force into utter confusion.

From this time until 4.30 o'clock the firing was incessant; but smaller bodies of men were brought out, and although at times both flanks and the center were heavily pressed, no large columns were moved up. Our men held their cover and did fine execution, while the artillery shelled the enemy from the court and other houses.

At this time, 3 p. m., had we had a reserve of 500 men we could have broken their line and compelled their retreat in disorder; but every man was required to hold our only avenue of retreat, the Lebanon road, where our communication was constantly threatened. The enemy commenced falling back, as I am informed by Lieutenant [J. D.] Brown, Third Iowa Cavalry (taken prisoner while reconnoitering at Wood's Fork during the first fight), at 3 o'clock, and the retreat became general at twilight.

In the mean time, our artillery ammunition being nearly spent, Colonel Merrill, ignorant of their movement, ordered the detachments to fall back on the Lebanon road, which they did in perfect order with their whole transportation, losing not even a musket or a cartridge-box.

Our loss, as by statement appended herewith, is 7 killed, 64 wounded, 5 prisoners, and 2 missing. Theirs is larger in men and officers. From subsequent details, I am satisfied it will exceed 300 in killed and wounded, besides 2 lieutenants and 27 privates prisoners. Among the killed, whose bodies were recognized at Hartville, are Brigadier General [Colonel] Emmett MacDonald, Colonels Thompson and Hinkle [?], Major Kirtley, Captain Turpin, and two lieutenants (names not known), Colonel Porter, mortally wounded (since dead), Captain Crocker, well known in Western Missouri, and two other captains severely wounded. One piece of their artillery was dismounted and abandoned. They retreated toward Houston, but on Monday changed their direction and moved rapidly south to the North Fork of White River, at the mouth of Indian Creek, where they paroled and released Lieutenant Brown and other prisoners.

General Marmaduke several times on the march expressed his wonder at the bravery of our troops, repeating, "Why, lieutenant, your boys fought like devils!" I cannot sufficiently express my admiration of their conduct. The Twenty-first Iowa and Ninety-ninth Illinois were never before under fire, yet not a single man or officer flinched. Nothing could have been finer than their steadiness and discipline. The Third Iowa and Third Missouri Cavalry are equally cool and determined, but they have before seen dangerous service. Where all were so brave, I am embarrassed to distribute commendation. To Colonel Merrill, in command of the force, I am under high obligations for his prudent firmness and good disposition. Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlap, Twenty-first Iowa, was conspicuous, much exposed, and wounded. He is worthy of high praise. Lieutenant-Colonel [L.] Parke, commanding Ninety-ninth Illinois, and Major [E. A.] Crandall, of the same corps, won honor and did their whole duty. Major [G.] Duffield, commanding the cavalry force, is also to be mentioned in warm terms; but Captain [T. G.] Black, in command of the Third Missouri Cavalry, made himself a most enviable reputation. Thirteen shot-holes in his coat sufficiently indicate where he was - in the hottest of the fire. I respectfully com