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[601] enemy, and drove him outside the fortifications. He then concentrated his forces for a more careful attack-formed in line of battle β€” but before the word could be given to charge, Lieutenant Pond opened upon them with the little howitzer, getting outside of his breastworks to operate it, which again threw them into confusion, and drove them over the brow of the hill. At this point, it seems, they first perceived General Blunt's little column, which had halted for the wagons and band to close up, and immediately formed in line to attack it. They formed in two lines, one on the prairie, and the other under the cover of the timber, and commenced the advance. Coming in the direction they did, the General of course, supposed it was Lieutenant Pond's cavalry, either on drill, or coming out to receive him. For safety, however, he formed his little force in line of battle, and sent the wagons, with the band, clerks, orderlies, cooks, and other noncombatants, to the rear, and then rode about fifty paces to the front, accompanied by his staff, to reconnoitre, and endeavor to ascertain to a certainty what the approaching force was. Whatever doubts he may have entertained were soon dispelled, for the front line, pouring a volley, and raising the guerrilla yell, charged forward at full speed. The General turning in his saddle to order his body-guard to advance and fire, saw with shame and humiliation, the whole of it in disgraceful flight over the prairie. There was nothing left for it then, but to follow and attempt to rally them; he accordingly turned with his staff-officers, all except Major Henning, to endeavor to overtake the fugitives. By this time the enemy were upon and all around them, and their escape with life seemed almost a miracle.

At this time too, it seems to have struck Major Henning that the enemy approached from an angle which might miss Lieutenant Pond's camp, and that consequently, he might be safe. With this thought he determined to strike for the camp, and endeavor to bring Pond's forces to the assistance of the General. Accordingly, he charged straight forward at full speed, passing through a shower of bullets, and through the enemy's line; deflecting a little to the right, he was over the brow of the hill before the enemy could recover from his astonishment at the daring feat. About half-way from the brow of the hill to the camp, he saw a party of five guerrillas, who had taken three of Lieutenant Pond's men prisoners, and were hurrying them off; as they were directly in his way, and a much larger force behind him, he was cool enough to reflect that temerity was here discretion, and instantaneously charged them. He shot two of them, killing one, and frightening the others so badly that they abandoned the prisoners and took to flight. He then approached the camp at full speed, swinging his cap around his head, to announce that he was a friend, and after narrowly escaping being shot by our men, at length arrived there in safety. He here learned of the attack on the camp, and that not a cavalry man was left, all being absent with the forage-train. The distant sounds of the battle showed already that infantry was useless; and he again turned his horse's head in the direction of the field, and solitary and alone, forced his way through the scattered bands of the enemy back to the side of his chief and his little band of supporters. History should not fail to record such deeds of gallantry and devotion.

General Blunt, in his endeavor to rally his men as fast he could catch up with them, was frequently thrown behind, and several times almost surrounded, although mounted in a superior manner. He finally rallied some fifteen men, and charging his foremost pursuers, compelled them in turn to retire. He then started Lieutenant Tappin, with four men, to me, and determined with the balance to watch the enemy. They killed our men as fast as they caught them, sparing none. The members of the band were shot as they sat in the band-wagon, and it was then set on fire. They rifled all the trunks, boxes, etc., in the different wagons, and then set them on fire, with the bodies of the teamsters in them, and all others who happened to be in them when taken. The non-combatants were slaughtered as ruthlessly as the soldiers. Lieutenant Farr was killed early in the struggle. Major Curtis came very near escaping, although his full uniform and showy horse made him a conspicuous mark; he was some distance in advance of his pursuers, when, just as his horse was gathering himself to spring over a deep ravine, he was struck on the hip with a ball, which so stung or frightened him, that he missed his leap, and falling short, threw the Major over his head. The horse gathered himself almost instantly and galloped wildly over the prairie. The Major was first taken prisoner and then brutally murdered. Thus died as gallant a soldier and as true a gentleman as ever drew a sword in defence of his country. It may well be said of him, as of Chevalier Bayard of old, β€œhe was without fear and without reproach.”

The enemy, seeing that General Blunt persistently kept them in view, keeping away if pursied, and returning as soon as the pursuit slackened, were no doubt forced to believe that a large force was approaching, of which he was only the advance. His persistent following them up, doubtless riveted this conclusion in their minds, as they hurried through their wholesale work of slaughter, and then moved off slowly to the South. General Blunt hovered near them till near night, and then returned to the melancholy work of caring for the wounded and collecting the dead. But few were left alive, as their evident intention was to kill all. The bodies of Major Curtis and Lieutenant Farr were not found until the next day.

Lieutenant Pond is entitled to great credit for his gallant defence of his camp; and Lieutenant Pierce, who strove hard to rally the flying soldiers. But the men seemed struck by a sudden and uncontrollable panic, and I met many of them within ten miles of Fort Scott as I moved out with my force.

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Fort Scott (Kansas, United States) (1)

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James B. Pond (6)
James G. Blunt (4)
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A. W. Farr (2)
H. Z. Curtis (2)
J. E. Tappin (1)
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