War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0694 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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command had just been given for the column to move, when horsemen were seen coming out of the woods, a distance of about 80 rods to the left, and forming in line. As we were so near Baxter Springs (although not in sight of it by reason of an intervening ridge), many supposed them to be our own troops, drilling or returning from a scout. The general immediately ordered the two companies into line of battle, and the train to close up in rear of the line, which was done under the immediate direction of Major Curtis, assistant adjutant-general; and at the same time a reconnoiter was made by Mr. Tough, a scout of the general, who reported that the force were enemies, and that an engagement was going on at the Springs. Ii had ridden forward myself and discovered that the force was large, and reported the same to the general, who then rode forward to reconnoiter for himself. At this time I discovered that the enemy were being re-enforced from the southwest, on line between us and the camp at Baxter Springs, the main body of the enemy being east of us; and, wishing to ascertain the condition of things in that quarter, I rode forward to the crest of the hill, where I saw that the camp was nearly surrounded by the enemy continued to pass from the southwest to their main body. Although within range of the camp and receiving a straggling fire therefrom, I immediately commenced to fire upon these stragglers, and received their fire in return, and was seconded by Mr. Tough and Stephen Wheeler, of Company F, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, both of whom acted with great bravery, and was just on the point of returning to our line, when I saw 5 mounted rebels with 3 Federal soldiers as prisoners, trying to pass as the others had done. I immediately recognized one of the prisoners as a private of Company C, Third Wisconsin Cavalry, one of the companies stationed at the Springs (and belonging to my own regiment). I determined to rescue them, and called to Tough and Wheeler to advance with me, but the former had just shot one rebel, and was in close pursuit of another in a direction taking him away from me. Wheeler advanced with me, and by pressing hard on the rebels and firing fast, we drove them, killing 1, wounding another, and rescuing the prisoners, who all belonged to Company C, Third Wisconsin Cavalry. As the rebels escaped they attempted to shoot the prisoners, and wounded one in the shoulder. As this was right under the fire of the camp, two of the prisoners made for the camp without stopping to say, "Thank you." The other, and the one personally known to me, named Heaton, seemed to be so bewildered that I had to ride up to him and force him to start in the right direction. All this had taken me over the brow of the hill, so that when I turned to go back, our forces were partially out of sight; but a few jumps of my horse brought them in sight again, and I saw them still in line of battle, while the enemy, to the number of about 450, were advancing upon them in line of battle, and firing very rapidly. I will here state that of the 85 men of our escort, 20 men acted as rear guard to the train, and did not form in line at all, leaving only 65 men in line, of which 40 men were of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry, on the right, and 25 of Company I, Third Wisconsin Cavalry on the left. At this time the distance between the two lines was not 200 yards, and the enemy advancing at a walk, firing. I had just time to notice these facts, when I saw 2 men in the center of Company A, Fourteenth Kansas, turn to run, but before they could fairly turn round, Major Curtis and the officers of the company forced them back, and I concluded the fight would be desperate, and was hopeful, but before the officers could get their places the same 2 men