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[381] when they commenced their retreat they set fire to all their commissary buildings and destroyed all their supplies. I followed them up until my artillery horses could draw the guns no further, and infantry and cavalry were all “played out” with fatigue. Their cavalry still hovered on the prairie in my front, and about four o'clock P. M., Cabell came up with his three thousand reenforcements. My ammunition was nearly exhausted, but I bivouacked upon the field all night, determined to give them the best turn I had in the morning if they were not yet satisfied; but daylight revealed the fact that they had all “skedaddled.”

Their loss killed upon the field, which we buried, was one hundred and fifty, and fifteen or twenty have since died of their wounds. Parties who have come in with a flag of truce say their wounded is between three hundred and four hundred, and they all acknowledge that they were badly thrashed. They had no knowledge that I was in the country, until they learned it in the fight. Some of the rebel officers, when taken prisoners, asked who was in command, and when told, replied, “that they thought that either Blunt or the devil was there.” I have about fifty prisoners, all Texans, among them several commissioned officers. They are much surprised at the treatment they receive, as they all expected to be murdered if taken prissoners. Cooper sent me a very warm letter of thanks for the care I had taken of his wounded and the burial of his dead. They continually overshot my men, which explains the comparatively small loss of our side. One Texas regiment went in with three hundred men, and came out with only sixty. This regiment was opposed to the First colored, and the negroes were too much for them ; and let me say here, that I never saw such fighting done as was done by the negro regiment at the battle of Honey Springs. They fought like veterans, with a coolness and valor that is unsurpassed. They preserved their line perfect throughout the whole engagement, and although in the hottest of the fight, they never once faltered. Too much praise cannot be awarded them for their gallantry. The question that negroes will fight is settled; besides, they make better soldiers in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command. Among the trophies, I have one piece of artillery, two hundred stand of arms, mostly English Enfield rifles, and a stand of rebel colors. But I did not intend to scribble at this length. I commenced to tell you how I got along, being sick as I was, and have got entirely off the track. The excitement kept me up until after the battle, when my powers of endurance gave way, and I had to come down in the bottom of an ambulance, from which I issued my orders until I got back here on the nineteenth, then I was confined to my bed for several days. I had been, when the battle closed, forty hours in the saddle, with a burning fever all the time — had eaten nothing for several days, and drank gallons of dirty, warm water. But such is a soldier's life, and if they don't like it they should not go to war.

I know not what I am to do in future. I have given up all idea of getting troops, and shall make no more applications. The weather is very warm here now, and much sickness prevails. I shall do every thing I can to preserve their health by scattering them around where they can get good water. My cavalry are on the south side of the Arkansas. I cannot raise over three thousand effective men for a fight. Cooper has since been reenforced. His morning report of the seventeenth, which I captured, showed five thousand seven hundred enlisted men present for duty that day. Unless he gets additional force, I can maintain my line to the Arkansas River; but if Price and Holmes, with what they had left after the Helena fight, should swing around this way, it will put me to my trumps. However, the “old man” will do the best he can. It is better after all and under all the circumstances, than being a police officer in Kansas.

Yours truly,

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