enemy's pickets near Elk Mills (killing 1 man), and attacked his skirmishers at 10 a. m., whom I found in line 1 miles west of Enterprise, in a dense thicket. I immediately dismounted a portion of my command as skirmishers, and at the same time commenced shelling the town, where his reserve was stationed. After the engagement had continue about one hour, my right and rear were attacked by a strong force, said to be Brown's which was repulsed and scattered in a short time. The enemy ceased to reply to our fire at 12 m., and retreated through the thicket in great disorder. I could not at first ascertain the direction of his retreat, and my men and horses being completely exhausted by the last night's march and the severe duties of the morning, I went into camp.
The enemy is known to have lost in the engagement 1 captain (said to be M. R. Johnston, of Partisan Rangers) and 4 men. His loss is presumed to be much greater, as the ground in the woods and a cornfield, where out shells burst, was discovered of the thicket it was impossible to ascertain the facts definitely. I lost no men, either in killed, wounded, or missing.
On the morning of the 16th instant, following the line of the Indian Territory southward, I pursued several small parties for some miles, but they eluded capture by taking to the thicket. The prairies and paths were filled with the tracks of their horses, all moving southward. At Maysville I encamped on Wednesday night. Here I sent in pursuit of a party of about 30 of the enemy, whom I saw on the south side of the prairie, drawn up in line; but they were well mounted, and made good their escape to the Spavinaw Hills. On Thursday I passed the Double Spring and Round Prairie, near where Captain J. I. Worthington's escort was routed on the 4th instant. There I learned that Brown had passed the day before with 40 men, going toward Rhea's Mills. At noon the rear of my command was fired into by a small party of guerrillas, but no one was injured. On Wednesday night I encamped 10 mils southwest of Bentonville, and reached this place yesterday evening, where I intend staying until the commissary trains and telegraph corps come up. I am most advantageously located for sweeping the bushwhackers from the valleys of the two Sugar Creeks, and my men are busily engaged in the enterprise. During the last days' march several were captured and 3 killed. My command is in excellent condition and spirits. I have lost no men, and only one or two horses. I herewith submit the report of Assistant Surgeon [Jonathan E.] Tefft, * to whom much praise is due for his strict attention to the sanitary condition of the command, as well as to Majors Johnson and Fitch, Captains Galloway and Mass, commanding battalions, Lieutenant Thomson, commanding section of First Arkansas Light Artillery, and Lieutenant Looby, of the Eighteenth Iowa Infantry, for their promptness in executing my orders, and their strict attention to the discipline of their men. In the engagement of the 15th, the artillery lost none of its well-deserved reputation. The accuracy of its firing was remarkable.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. LA RUE HARRISON,
Colonel First Arkansas Cavalry, Commanding Troops in Field.
Brigadier General JOHN McNEIL,
Commanding Southwestern District of Missouri.
*Omitted, as of no present importance.