took the Doniphan road; kept it 10 miles; there left it, and camped at a small farm about 1 1/2 miles off from the road. My object in doing this was to obtain forage. The militia were camped in a barn and yard, their horses being all inside the yard. The detachment of the Thirteenth was about 10 rods distant from the barn, in the woods. At about 3.45 o'clock the next morning, the enemy, who had come inside my pickets and gained a position behind the fence, along the edge of the woods, without being discovered, opened a heavy fire on the militia, who immediately ran for the woods, and were lost in the brush. I tried to get them to hold the barn and fence, but they could not stand the fire. After I had lost them, I went over to the company of the Thirteenth, who were in line, returning the enemy's fire lightly, and ordered them up on the hill, to a better position, where I halted and waited for stragglers from the militia to come up. The enemy in the mean time had ceased firing, and could not be seen. I then marched back to this camp.
The enemy was commanded by Reves and Porter, and numbered about 300 men. The attack was a complete surprise, and not expected at all by me. If my horses had not been saddled and bridled, I might have lost them all. On our way back, I learned that the enemy had followed me the day before for 12 miles, remaining about two hours behind.
The loss in my regiment is nothing, only myself wounded. The militia lost about 23 horses. All the men are in but 2. There are 3 wounded.
I have sent word for Captain Erskine to return, and he will probably be in to-night.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major Thirteenth Illinois Cavalry.
Commanding Sub-district, Pilot Knob, Mo.
HDQRS. THIRTEENTH Regiment ILLINOIS CAV. VOLS.,
Arcadia, Mo., June 27, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit to you the following report:
In compliance with orders received from headquarters sub-district and post, Pilot Knob, MO., I proceeded, on the morning of the 29th of May, 1863, with 5 commissioned officers and 110 non-commissioned officers and privates, to Patterson County, with instructions to reconnoiter the country south and west of that place. At Patterson I found 69 men of the Third Missouri State Militia, under command of Lieutenant [Samuel R.] Kelly, same regiment.
In the afternoon of the 30th of May, I received reliable information that the guerilla chief Reves, with a force variously estimated at from 400 to 600 men, was encamped at or near Ponter's Mill, Mo. From this information I concluded to attack him in his camp.
Below Ponter's Mill there is a junction of three roads, one leading to Doniphan, one to Pitman's Ferry, and one out to the so-called Glass Settlement. To prevent Reves escaping without giving a fight, I organized two expeditions, one of 75 men, under command of Captain Erskine, with instructions to move, by the way of Greenville and Poplar Bluff, to the north side of Ponter's Mill, and to arrive there on the 2nd of May [June], at 3 p. m., and, if the enemy was to be found, to attack him at once.