row, and covered with thick timber and underbrush, and walled in on either side by precipitous hills. About three-quarters of a mile beyond Sheldon's place the advance guard reported the enemy in force just ahead. I proceeded to the front, and discerned, through the thick undergrowth of brush, their line, formed in a heavily timbered ravine, of dismounted men, the right resting upon the road, and the left reaching up the ravine into the hill on the right of the road. I immediately brought forward the howitzer, supported by 95 men of the First Indian Regiment, under command of Captain Willetts, placed it in position on the right of the road, and deployed the Cherokees, under command of Lieutenant [L. F.] Parsons, Third Indian Regiment, still farther to the right, between the gun and the foot of the hill.
These preparations were not completed when the enemy opened on us a heavy fire from small-arms. This was replied to by our men with promptness and spirit. As soon as the howitzer opened upon the rebels, their line was completely broken, and they retreated in some confusion up the ravine, to the top of the hill. The Cherokees, under command of Lieutenant Parsons, followed them,a nd drove them about a quarter of a mile beyond the crest of the hill, where they again formed, and were a second line routed by our men. The road a quarter of a mile to take a better position, where there was higher ground and several log buildings, for the protection of our infantry. We had no sooner taken this position than the rebels, rallying, renewed the attack. A few discharges of canister and shell from the howitzer drove them out of the valley, and they took possession of the adjoining hill, which was heavily timbered. Sheltering themselves here behind threes and rocks, the rebels opened a fire at long range upon our men, who replied from the cover of the log-houses. The fighting here lasted for more than two hours, without any decided advantage to either party. I saw that to drive the enemy from the crest of the hill by a charge would be difficult and hazardous. I also knew that if they came over the hill into the valley to fight, we had decidedly the advantage of them. Thinking to draw them out, I ordered the command forward on the road, as if to abandon the position. It had the desired effect. The enemy supposing, doubtless, that we were retreating, came over the hill, all dismounted, and in larger numbers than they had before shown themselves, and advanced toward the houses we were leaving. Our men were immediately rallied, and returned to their former position on the double-quick. The howitzer was quickly brought up, and opened fire upon the advancing enemy, who withstood the shock but one moment, and then turned and fled. Our men pursued them, driving them over the hill and did not again make the least attempt to rally. Our casualties during the engagement were comparatively light. I regret that I must record the loss of Captain Willetts, First Indian Regiment, who fell, mortally wounded, while gallantry leading his men in the early part of the engagement; Private Arch Benner, Company H, Third Indian Regiment, and ---, Company F, First Indian Regiment, received severe, but, it is thought, not fatal, wounds. Two of the howitzer horses were wounded, one so badly that it had to be abandoned on the road; also 2 mules, belonging to the six-mule team, were wounded, one of which had to be abandoned.
I am not prepared to state with accuracy the loss of the rebels. From their own admission, and the statement of parties who visited the field after the engagement, I should estimate their loss to be not less than 12