intending to give us battle, having notified a citizen living near to remove his family, as "they were about to have a fAs usual, they only awaited the approach of our advance guard, when they turned and fled, giving our weary horses another chase, resulting in the capture of Captain Burrow and several men, and wounding several others.
We then proceeded to Colonel Richardson's camp of the previous day, destroying the buildings used for their purposes, and, after feeding and resting our horses a short time, proceeded on in a northeast course, still hoping to recapture the train prisoners. I was still expecting that the Seventh Illinois Cavalry would overtake me at every moment, not having heard from it since leaving camp. We encamped for the night on the plantation of Mr. Rives, 2 miles southwest of Belmont.
Knowing our close proximity to Colonel Richardson's superior force, I posted stronger pickets than usual, having about one-half of my force on guard as picket, camp, and prisoner guards, leaving but about 100 weary, hungry, and sleepy men to rest, who had ridden 50 miles that day, with nothing to eat but meat, and who had been up most of the previous night on guard. Yet, notwithstanding all these precautions, our camp was attacked at midnight by Colonel Richardson's force of from 400 to 600, who had eluded the pickets by dismounting and approaching under cover of a small ravine until within a few yards of our camp, when, at a preconcerted signal, they poured a murderous fire on my command, who, aroused thus suddenly, arose, arms in hand, and returned their fire with such obstinate firmness and dreadful effect that within five minutes from the time the attack commenced they were repulsed with heavy loss, leaving us in complete possession of the field, which we held until about 9 a. m. on the 31st, attending to the killed and wounded on both sides, when we started for camp with our prisoners and all of our wounded that could ride, which we reached at about 7 p. m.
Our loss was 52 killed and wounded; Colonel Richardson's supposed to have been far greater, himself wounded, his major wounded and captured, his adjutant killed, and several other officers, whose names I have not got, killed, wounded, or captured.
Inclosed I hand you a complete list of the killed and wounded of my command. * A close examination of the same, together with the situation of the parties engaged will enable you to realize the character of the conflict while it lasted.
It would be invidious for me to designate the names of any in particular where all have done so nobly, yet among the fallen I cannot forbear to mention the name of Lieutenant Jesse B. Wilson, of Company K, who was among the first to fall while gallantly cheering his men on, telling them to stand firm, but to screen themselves as much as possible behind fences, &c., himself openly standing amid the thickest of the conflict, doing so much to encourage his men. In his fall the regiment loses one of its best officers, the company its leader, and his friends at home a worthy relative and noble citizen.
All of which is most respectfully submitted.
Your most obedient servant,
Colonel B. H. GRIERSON,
Commanding First Brigade.
*List, omitted, shows 1 officer and 12 men killed, 4 officers and 34 men wounded, and 1 man MISSING.