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[180] force but Indians. After the loss of three killed, four wounded, and three captured, they concluded to leave, which they did before our reenforcements arrived.

From the prisoners we learned that Colonel Stand Waitie, the Cherokee rebel leader, with one thousand two hundred men, about half of whom were Texans and the remainder Indians, was posted on the south bank of Cabin Creek, in a most advantageous position. From this information and other we learned that the movement had been planned for the purpose of cutting off this train. Stand Waitie crossed the Arkansas River, above the mouths of the Grand and Verdigris Rivers, and took position at the Creek. General Cabell was to and did leave Arkansas with two thousand men and six guns, and moving across the Territory, until he got in the rear of our train, which Stand Waitie was to hold at the crossing of Cabin Creek. The plan was well laid, but sufficient margin was not made for contingencies. Cabell got to the Grand River on the night of the thirtieth ultimo, but was not able to cross on account of the high water.

After the picket fight the train encamped for the night. Colonel Williams sent scouting-parties forward to the creek. They found the rebel pickets strongly posted in the timber on the north of the creek. The main body were very advantageously posted behind high banks on the south side. The timber is about a mile across, the larger portion being on the north.

On the morning of the first of July, the train advanced to the edge of the timber and corraled. The cavalry was pressed forward, and a portion of the First colored regiment deployed as skirmishers. The north side of the river was found clear, but when the troops reached the stream the fire became so warm as to cause the cavalry to fall back hastily. The skirmishers, taking positions behind trees, etc., continued the fight. The negroes made their mark, and whenever a head showed they blazed away. Their fire had effect, according to the report of the prisoners taken on the next day. The stream was deep and swift, and the crossing under the heavy rebel fire impracticable. The artillery was placed in position, a section on each flank and the howitzers in the centre. The south bank was then shelled, the fire being rapid and heavy. Under this shelling and the effective fire of the colored skirmishers, Colonel Williams directed the advance of the Third Wisconsin cavalry, for the purpose of attempting the crossing of the stream.

A little incident occurred at this stage, showing the pluck and elan of the negro soldiers. The officer in command of the troopers was a Pro-Slavery Democrat, and thought it would be more appropriate to send “the-----niggers or Injuns” to do the work. But in obedience to orders he started out to the bank of the creek, and hastily retreated under the sharp fire of the enemy. On reporting to Colonel Williams, that officer, who is well known as brave even to rashness, declared that “he would find men to make the attempt.” Five companies of the colored regiment moved on the double-quick to the creek, and under the fire of the opposing forces dashed into the stream with their Colonel at the head. But they could not cross; the stream was too deep. The men followed their leader till they commenced to swim, when Colonel Williams reluctantly ordered them to fall back. All the time, while the bullets spattered on the water like hail, the negroes preserved the most perfect order, and re-formed on the bank of the creek.

The remainder of the day was consumed in skirmishing, with occasional shelling of the rebel position. On the morning of the second, the stream having fallen considerably in the night, it was determined to attempt the crossing. Major Forman assumed command of the party, which consisted of the Indians, five companies of the colored regiment, the mounted men of the Colorado Second, and Captain Stewart's company, Ninth Kansas. They moved down to the creek, and, under cover of the shells and musketry, prepared to cross. Major Forman, followed by Captain Gritz, of the Third Indian, advanced into the stream, with the view of ascertaining its depth. In the attempt, he was severely wounded in the back and neck.

Colonel Williams took command of the column, and, at the head of the troops, dashed into the stream. The water was above the waist of the infantry, yet the men, holding their guns and cartridge-boxes above their heads, followed their gallant leader, who, with waving sword and ringing shouts, was cheering on his men. They got across with little loss, and charged on the rebel position.. They fled from the centre precipitously when the negroes and Colorado boys charged, leaving arms and accoutrements scattered as they went. To Captain Stewart was intrusted the attack on the right of the enemy's position, where their fire was the best sustained. As our cavalry advanced, the enemy fell back from the timber to the edge of the prairie, when they fired as our men advanced. The Texans numbered four hundred, and their firing was deadly and rapid. Captain Stewart, ordering his men to draw revolvers and reserve their fire, rode rapidly upon the foe. His whole force was less than one hundred. When within thirty or forty yards, the order to fire was given, and volley after volley came crashing from their heavy dragoon Colts. On they rode, and the Texans fled in disorder, leaving eighteen dead, and three prisoners. The wounded got off. Captain Stewart had fifteen men wounded and two killed in that dashing charge. Five of the negroes were severely wounded, and this, with Major Forman's wound, completed our casualties. Forty of the enemy were buried on the field, and nine prisoners taken. These stated that three wagons were loaded with those wounded by our shells, and removed the night before. About half the force had fallen back, and the Texans, numbering seven hundred, were left to contest our advance.

The enemy's position was found to be formidable, and well chosen for its purpose. The


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