War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0566 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

camp additional scouting parties were sent out by the general, but without success; and our rations beginning to run short, the expedition took a circuitous route for Fort Pierre, by way of James River. It was with feelings of despondency at what appeared to be the inevitable ill-success of the expedition under General Sully, from causes that could not be avoided by any human power, that I realized that it must probably return without accomplishing that for which it was designed.

On Thursday, September 3, 1863, about 4 p. m., and soon after going into camp, the scouts of the expedition reported 600 Indian lodges 10 miles distant, and, in compliance with General Sully's orders, I immediately proceeded with the eight companies (viz, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, and M) of the Second Nebraska Cavalry, numbering in all present 350 in rank and file, under my command, from Camp Numbers 33, to assist Major House, commanding the Third Battalion of the Sixth Iowa Cavalry, in surrounding the hostile Indians. On approaching the Indian encampment I found House's battalion drawn up in order of battle on the north side, and on reconnoitering the enemy's position perceived that the Indians were leaving as fast as possible. I immediately ordered Major House to pursue on the left flank of the enemy, while I, with the Second Nebraska, moved on their right flank. Arriving opposite that position, I perceived the Indians at a halt, formed in line of battle, apparently awaiting our attack. I immediately formed my men in line of battle. As the enemy was then situated and my men formed, I intended to have advanced the Second Battalion (Companies F, G, L, and M), commanded by Captain La Boo (Major Pearman, being field officer of the day, was, by order of Brigadier-General Sully, left in command of the camp; the command therefore devolved upon Captain La Boo, lieutenant captain), with the First Battalion, commanded by Major [J.] Taffe (Companies E, H, I, and K), as a reserve, and await further orders from the general commanding. As it was then nearly dark, I left that time was precious, and if anything was to be done that night it must be done speedily, and made up my mind to attack the enemy immediately. I therefore changed my plan of operations. I ordered Major Taffe, with his battalion, to proceed to the head of the ravine in which the Indians were posted, to cut off their retreat in that direction, which order was promptly executed, and his command formed in line awaiting further orders. I then ordered the Second Battalion to advance directly upon the enemy, which it did. Major Taffe then, by my order, came forward, the line of the two battalions forming an obtuse angle. When within 400 yards, I ordered my men to dismount, and after advancing 100 yards nearer, ordered the Second Battalion to open the battle by a volley from their Enfields, which they did with precision and effect, creating quite a confusion in the enemy's ranks. At this time I perceived what I supposed to be House's battalion, about 1 1/2 miles distant, advancing upon the enemy' rear. In the order in which my line was now formed, I advanced upon the enemy, pouring in upon him as I advanced a fire from my whole line, which was immediately and vigorously returned by the Indians. When within 30 yards of the enemy's lines, I ordered a halt in rear of a slight elevation of ground, in front of which was a ravine in which the Indians were posted. The fight now became general, and my whole line was hotly engaged. At this juncture, what I supposed to be House's battalion (as it was now quite dark) advanced, and commenced and attack upon the enemy's left. As they were now formed, and fearing that the Indians would attempted to escape by way of a ravine a short distance beyond the left of my line, or get in my rear by the same way, I ordered Major Taffe to