affair lasted less than half an hour, it was in reality a great triumph.
Our advanced cavalry was alone engaged on our part, and they successfully fought and drove off a force ten times their number.
It moreover revealed the fighting animus of the enemy; it revealed the state of their armament, and afforded a brilliant example for our expectant troops.
All supposed, when the crack of the cannon and whistling of shell were heard in such quick succession, that the battle was begun, and that a trial at arms was to ensue ere nightfall.
Our men were under arms, cannon in position, until the news of the inglorious retreat of the vaunting rebels dispelled the prospect.
The camps were then pitched and the necessary precautions taken against attack.
No description can do justice to the labors of the day. When the morning dawned the men were put in motion.
The heat was insufferable, the incessant running about among the brush for miles on both sides of the main road created theo most suffocating thirst.
The tongue became swollen, the sweat was blinding, and the dust profuse.
Even the hardiest of men were glad to find shelter for a moment in the shade of some canebrake.
The few wells or springs in the vicinity had given out. Water was not to be had; toward evening two dollars and a half being offered for a canteen of warm ditch water.
Many were victims of sunstroke and exhaustion, and never were a set of men more grateful than when the burning sun cast his declining shadow over the western hills.
The night was broken occasionally by the report of musket shots from our sentinels.
Two or three stragglers were brought in as prisoners, who stated that they belonged to the command of Gen. Rains
, and seemed glad enough to be captured.
They reported that the army of McCulloch
was five miles in the rear, and that accessions were being recruited from all the adjoining counties.
This information agreed with that gained from the prisoners, and betrayed the weakness of the enemy; said they, “We have had nothing but fresh beef and unbolted flour to eat for many days.”
They were forced northward by starvation, and the Union
men must either flee or be taken prisoners, while the State
rights gentry must join their force or be plundered; he would find, however, the plunder attended either alternative.
In this way they had recruited thousands, leaving a desert behind them more complete than the locusts.
Forage, wheat, eatables and drinkables, in any quantity, did not escape them.
Clothing and trinkets of little or no value, all seized.
They are the most complete land pirates this continent ever saw.
.--We resumed the line of march at sunrise; the ground of yesterday's operations was carefully gone over in search of the much dreaded “masked batteries.”
Gaining the summit of the hill from which the rebels had sallied on the day previous, we found a sad spectacle.
A house by the wayside, with four wounded men in the first room, in the second one severely wounded in the back and shoulder, in the third a corpse stretched out with the face quite black.
At the well, close by the house, the pools in the little stream were red as blood for thirty yards, where they had washed their wounded.
The men stated they had only been picked off the field that morning, and that there were many more who had been carried off with the retreating army.
They confirmed substantially the reports of the captives.
Descending into the next valley, we could just perceive, by the dense clouds of dust, that the enemy were but a few miles ahead.
Two guns were placed upon an eminence; upon seeing a column of troops moving up a ravine, and when at the distance of three-quarters of a mile, we opened fire upon them, when they rapidly retreated.
We afterward learned that this was a scouting party, who had crossed over from Marionville, after taking what provisions and men they could press into their service by their very summary process.
The shell struck the chimney of a house in which the officers were dining.
They did not wait for the dessert to be served.
Arrived at Curran
, twenty-six miles from Springfield
, we encamped, to take advantage of tho good water.
Our position was much exposed, but from the exhibitions of valor for the past few days we stood in little fear of an attack.
Five prisoners were brought in by our skirmishers, one of which, upon being questioned by General Lyon
, manifested considerable impertinence; his actions being suspicious he was carefully watched, and when told to rise from the ground a revolver was found under him. A deserter came in from the other camp, who stated that he was impressed into their service in Missouri
; their camp was six miles to the north, and strongly intrenched; had eight pieces of cannon, and, though his comrades said they had fifteen thousand men, his opinion was about six or seven thousand.
Quite a little excitement was created throughout the camp in the morning by a report that we were surrounded, which was caused by the appearance of troops on our rear — doubtless a portion of the roving bands desirous of rejoining their command.
A squad of about forty entered our column and chatted with our men under the impression that they were in the army of Rains
, until they saw our artillery coming up, when they inquired “whose troops we were?”
Upon being informed “Gen. Lyon
's,” they made a hasty exit into the dense woods, one of the staff officers ordering the men to fire upon them, but they had made good their escape.
Our troops had mistaken them also for the “Home Guards,” which are accustomed to act as guides and scouts, and thus they missed by a narrow chance, the opportunity of bagging the whole of them and their horses and muskets.
The names of our killed are Corporal Klein
, privates Givens