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[272] a few hundred paces, I commanded Major Backof to open fire upon the enemy with all the seven field-pieces. The fire was promptly answered. I soon perceived that the two mounted regiments of the rebel army made preparations to circumvent our two wings. They made a flanking movement, and, describing a wide semicircle, caused a. large interval of space to be left between them and the centre. I forthwith ordered the whole fire of our artillery to be directed against the right centre of the enemy, which had the effect in a short time of considerably weakening the fire of the rebels at this point.

I now formed a chain of skirmishers between our cannon, ordering two of Capt. Essig's pieces from the right to the left wing, and gave my officers and men to understand that it was my intention to gain the height by advancing with my left wing, and taking position on the right flank of the centre of the enemy.

At this critical moment Capt. Wilkins, commander of one of our two batteries, declared that he could not advance for want of ammunition. No time was to be lost, as part of our troops were already engaged with the hostile cavalry at the extreme right and left, and as it seemed to me of very doubtful expediency to advance with the remainder without due support of artillery. The moral effect which the hostile cavalry made in our rear could not be denied, although the real danger was not great. The threatening loss of our entire baggage was another consideration not to be overlooked. I therefore, with great reluctance, ordered part of the detachment at Dry Fork Creek back, while Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel, with the first battalion of the Third Regiment and a battalion of the Fifth Regiment, under Lieut.Col. Wolff, followed by four cannon of Wilkens's battery, proceeded to the baggage train in order to protect it against the meditated attack.

The enemy slowly followed us to Dry Fork. Capt. Essig's battery had taken position behind the ford, assisted by Captain Stephany's company (Fifth Regiment) on the left, and two companies of the Third Regiment, Captains Golmer and Denzler on the right, while at the same time two companies of the Fifth (Captains Stark and Meissner) stood as a reserve behind the wings. At this point it was where the aforesaid companies and battery made successful resistance to the entire force of the enemy for two hours, and caused him the heaviest losses. By that time two rebel flags had been shot out of sight, each act being accompanied by the triumphant shouts of the United States volunteers. In the mean time the two cavalry regiments had completely surrounded us and formed a line against our rear.

They had posted themselves close by a little creek, called Buck Branch, over which we had to pass. In order to meet them, I abandoned my position at Dry Fork, and ordered two pieces to the right, and two to the left of our reserve and baggage, supported by the detachments of Col. Salomon and Lt.-Col. Wolff, in solid column. Lt.-Col.Wolff, seconding my movement with his accustomed ability, formed three companies of the first battalion, Third Regiment, into line, and made them take up marching line against the cavalry in front of the baggage. Behind these troops and the baggage, Lieut. Schrickel, with a portion of the first battery of artillery and two companies, took a precautionary position in view of that part of the enemy coming in the direction of Dry Fork.

After the firing of one round by our whole line, our infantry charged upon the enemy at double quick and routed him completely. His flight was accompanied by the deafening shouts of our little army.

The troops and baggage train now crossed the creek undisturbed, and ascended the heights which command Carthage from the north, this side of Spring River. Here the enemy again took position. His centre slowly advanced upon us, while his cavalry came upon us with great rapidity, in order to circumvent our two wings and gain the Springfield road. Deeming it of the utmost importance to keep open my communication with Mount Vernon and Springfield, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff with two pieces of artillery (Lieut. Schaeffer, of the second battery) to pass through Carthage, and occupy the eastern heights on the Sarcoxie road. Capt. Cramer, with two companies, (Indest and Tois,) was ordered to follow him, in order to protect the western part of the city against a hostile movement in this direction. Our rear took possession of the city, in order to give the rest of the troops time for rest, as they had marched 22 miles on the 4th, and 18 miles more during the day, exposed to a burning sun, and almost without any thing to eat or drink. The enemy, in the mean time, derived great advantage from his cavalry, being able to cross Spring River at various places, scatter on all sides through the woods, and harass our troops almost unintermittingly.

I therefore ordered a retreat toward Sarcoxie, under cover of both artillery and infantry. We first took position on the heights beyond Carthage, and then again at the entrance of the Sarcoxie road into the woods, about two and a half miles south-east of Carthage. From the latter place our troops advanced unmolested as far as Sarcoxie.

Our whole loss in this engagement amounts to thirteen dead and thirty-one wounded, among whom is Captain Strodtman, Company E, Third Regiment, and Lieutenant Bischoff, of Company B, same regiment. The first battery lost nine horses; the third one (Major Bischoff's) and one baggage wagon had to be left behind, in Carthage, for want of horses to pull it away.

According to reliable accounts, the loss of the enemy cannot have been less than from three hundred and fifty to four hundred men. One of their field-pieces was dismounted and another exploded.


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