companies to the right, and opened upon the enemy a fire of musketry, and again opened the artillery upon their position, which was continued for twenty minutes, when I ordered the two pieces on my.eft to cease firing, and brought Company C, Ninth Kansas Cavalry, under command of Lieutenant R. C. Philbrick, to replace the Indian company, who were directed to follow the column across. This disposition being made, I ordered the advance at the double-quick, still keeping up the fire from the three companies of infantry, formed as before stated, and the howitzers. The enemy again opened fire, but did not succeed in checking our advance, and with the loss of but 3 or 4 wounded, I succeeded in crossing my column, the infantry wading to the arm-pits in water, and, driving the enemy from the brush, formed a line of battle directly in front of the enemy, who now formed in battle array about 400 yards in advance upon the edge of the prairie. I ordered two companies of cavalry, under Captain Stewart, to take position on my right, to prevent any flank movement that might be attempted by the enemy in that direction, and ordered the company commanded by Lieutenant Philbrick to charge the advance line of the enemy, penetrate it, and, if possible, ascertain his strength and position, which was gallantly executed by the lieutenant, who charged directly upon the center of the enemy's line, broke it, and put him to flight. Seeing this, I ordered forward all the cavalry in pursuit of the now fleeing enemy, who were pursued for 5 miles, killing many and dispersing them in all directions.
My whole loss in this engagement was 1 killed and about 20 wounded, among the latter Major Foreman, seriously, and Captain [Ethan] Earl, of the First Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers, slightly.
The loss of the enemy is not definitely known, but, from the best I am able to obtain, I think it will not fall short of 50 killed, as many more wounded, and 9 prisoners.
The strength of the enemy, as near as can be ascertained from the prisoners, was from 1,600 to 1,800 consisting of Cols. Stand Watie's and McIntosh's Cherokee [and Creek] regiments, with detachment of 600 men from the Twenty-seventh [Fifth Texas Partisan Rangers*] and Twenty-ninth Texas [Cavalry] Regiments. My column of attack, which crossed the stream, was less than 900 men, all told.
I cannot close this communication without referring to the chivalrous and soldierly conduct of the entire command during the engagement; the whole command crossing this difficult ford, and forming in the face of the enemy, with as much ease and little confusion as if upon parade. Had there been no train to guard, so that the whole force could have been employed against the enemy, I don't know but I should have been able to capture the whole force. But as the prime object was to conduct the supply train to your command, it was not deemed proper to cause any delay in pursuing the enemy; consequently I directed that portion of my command which had been sent me from the escort to report back to Lieutenant-Colonel Dodd, and immediately on the evening of the same day resumed the march, arriving at Fort Blunt on the 5th instant without any further interruption.
I have the honor, colonel, to be, and remain, your obedient servant,
J. M. WILLIAMS,
Colonel First Regiment Kansas Colored Volunteers, Commanding.
Colonel WILLIAM A. PHILLIPS.
*The Twenty-seventh Texas was in Mississippi at this time.