Anxious, however, for Blunt
's safety, and apprehending that he might be at that moment enveloped by an overwhelming Rebel force, he drove the Rebel
cavalry impetuously across the creek, only to find their infantry and artillery strongly posted on a high, wooded ridge, three-quarters of a mile distant; their numbers concealed by the timber and thick underbrush.
Sending across a light battery, which was instantly driven back, he, while still threatening a fresh advance on the road, cut a path to the creek, half a mile farther down, and pushed across a battery at a point which enabled it to draw the fire of the Rebel
This movement, being unsuspected and unperceived by the enemy, was entirely successful; and, before the Rebels
had recovered from their surprise and confusion, Herron
had pushed three full batteries, backed by three good regiments of infantry, across the regular ford.
These batteries were so excellent and so admirably served that they had silenced, in one hour's firing, their Rebel antagonists.
Ours were thereupon advanced across an open field, firing volleys of grape and canister, until within a hundred yards of the ridge held by the Rebels
, when the 20th Wisconsin and 19th Iowa infantry were ordered to charge the Rebel
battery in their front.
They did so most gallantly, hurling back its supports and taking the battery; but were unable to hold it, and compelled to fall back.
Their charge was at once returned with interest by the Rebel
infantry, intent on the capture of our three batteries, and rushing up to within a hundred yards of the guns, when they were likewise repulsed with great slaughter.
A fresh brigade, consisting of the 26th Indiana and 37th Illinois infantry, being now brought up from the right to the relief of our exhausted center, Col. Houston
ordered and led a charge against the same Rebel battery which had been fruitlessly charged already.
Again it was taken, and again the captors were compelled to abandon it by the overwhelming fire of infantry concentrated upon them.
Thus the battle stood, still desperately contested, neither lost nor won, when, at 2 1/2 P. M., Herron
heard the welcome music of a battery opening at some distance on his right, and was soon assured that Blunt
's division was on hand.
had that morning sent Col. Wickersham
, with his cavalry, in advance, followed by Gen. Salomon
's infantry brigade, with directions to move rapidly on the Fayetteville
road, and form a junction, if possible, with Herron
Three miles north of Cane Hill
, however, Wickersham
had taken the left-hand road to Rhea's Mills
, instead of the right, leading directly to Fayetteville
; and Blunt
, on reaching the fork, had followed, deeming it imprudent to dislocate his command.
Coming up at length with Wickersham
, he ordered him to face toward Fayetteville
, and endeavor to reach Herron
had barely started, when, a little after noon, the boom of artillery was heard in the north-east, and, leaving Gen. Salomon
's brigade to guard his train; at Rhea's Mills
set forward, over a blind, hilly road, with his two others, in the direction of the fire.
At 1:45 P. M., Gen. Blunt
, in advance