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Doc. 151.-the fight at Neosho, Mo.

The following private letter furnishes the particulars of Major Hubbard's gallant exploit at and near Neosho:

Cassville, April 27, 1862.
dear mother and sister: We left Cassville April 20th, to go on a scout of three days, out towards the Indian nation, having heard that there was a band of jayhawkers out there with a large drove of horses, mules, cattle, etc., which they had taken from the citizens of Missouri. We travelled about thirty miles the first day, encountering some twenty-five or thirty of them, which we had quite a chase after, taking some five or six prisoners. We then camped about three miles north of Priceville, Mo., where we staid till about twelve or one o'clock that night, when we started out for their camp, about fifteen miles distant. We pushed ahead as fast as possible till about twelve o'clock the next day, when we came up with about twenty of them, all of whom we took prisoners without much trouble, killing one man, capturing also their wagons and forty or fifty mules and horses. One of our companies was then sent out to scour around and see if they could observe anything. They went about twelve miles from camp, and the first thing they knew they were surrounded by about one hundred and fifty men; but they cut their way through, and got back to camp without losing a man. Major Hubbard, in command, took about one hundred men the next morning and went back. When we got there, we found about one hundred of them all drawn up in line of battle ready for us. The Major gave the command to charge, which we did, when they all broke and ran like good fellows, without firing a single shot. We run them about four miles, but they got into the timber and we couldn't find them, so we had to give up the chase and started back to the camp from which they ran. While going back, Doctorman and another of our boys started after three of them who were running across the prairie, and pursued them about three miles, when they came upon about thirty more, and were taken prisoners. They ran them off in the timber, and we could not get at them. We took twelve of their men prisoners that day, making in all about fifty. The Major told a captain's wife that if they hurt Dock or his fellow-prisoner, he would hang every one of their men he had or could get.

We started back for camp about one o'clock, and got there about five o'clock in the evening. On arriving we found we were surrounded on three sides by about two thousand men, including Colonel Stainwright's regiment of Indians. We staid in camp all night, sleeping on our arms, but they did nothing but fire on our pickets three or four times during the night, just enough to keep us from sleeping. They wounded one of our pickets, shooting him through the leg just below the knee, but not breaking the bone. We started for Cassville the next morning, having been gone four days, but we found it a very serious undertaking, for we had to fight our way through. It was one continual roar of guns from the time we started till we reached Neosho, Mo., having literally cut our way through two thousand men. Our force was not more than one hundred and fifty or two hundred men. Our boys knew it was life or death, and they fought manfully. We had one piece of artillery with us, which we let loose at them whenever we could get forty or fifty of them in a bunch. We reached Neosho about five o'clock, and camped there for the night, for we were nearly tired out, having had no rest for two days and three nights. But we were destined to a harder night than any we had yet experienced.

The citizens told us we would be attacked, but we hardly believed it, as they were all secesh; but we thought it well enough to be on the alert, and took every precaution so as not to be surprised. We threw out very heavy pickets, and slept on our arms. An alarm was given about two o'clock the next morning, and we were all out ready, expecting them every minute. We stood in ranks until about daybreak, when we concluded that they were not going to attack us, and so broke ranks to find our horses and get our breakfast. In about ten minutes after we laid down our arms, the Indian war-whoop sounded right in our midst, and there they were. They had crawled up through the bushes, and got right into our camp before we knew anything about it. About fifty of our boys snatched up their guns and pistols, anil rushed right up on to them, and ran them out of camp. They killed one of our men in bed. It was a hard battle, but we were victorious as usual. We drove them clear off, killing five, mortally wounding one, and wounding a great many, which they carried off with them. We lost four men killed, three dangerously wounded, and two slightly wounded. I am among the last. Two balls struck me, one passing under the skin of my left thigh, just enough to draw blood, and the other just over my right eye, knocking me down, and stunning me for a minute or two, but I am all right now, and on duty. My wounds never stopped me. 1 followed them a quarter of a mile, and fired twelve shots at them; none of the other boys firing more than six or seven. We killed two Indians belonging to the Seneca nation. There were between four and five hundred of them, and only about fifty of us, but our boys met them face to face, and they couldn't stand the press.

We waited for them to come back till about ten o'clock, when we thought it was about time [528] to start. We were afraid if we staid till night, they might attack us again, and clean us out. So we started for Cassville, which was about thirty-five miles from Neosho. We travelled about ten miles, and camped in a large prairie, so that if they attacked us we could have a fair chance at them; but they never made their appearance. We reached Cassville last night about five o'clock, having been gone six days instead of three. We had taken about seventy-five prisoners, one hundred horses, twelve or fifteen mules, and shotguns, rifles and pistols in abundance. We were met in town by Major Black, commanding the Thirty-seventh Illinois. They gave us cheer after cheer, until the air was rent with their noise.

I forgot to mention some of the incidents of the battle. When they charged on us, Lieut. Williams, myself and two others, were in the lead. We came to an Indian lying down, as we supposed, wounded, but just as we were about to pass on, he raised up and fired at Lieut. Williams, the ball just grazing his head. He turned and shot the savage through the head.

When they ran as we charged on them, about one hundred and fifty of them ran down into the town, thinking we would not fire into the town, but they were mistaken. The Major ordered the cannon to be loaded with round shot and shell and fired into them. The shot passed through the steeple of the church, and wounded some four or five of them. The shell passed through a smoke-house, cutting a side of bacon in two, and killing three and wounding ten or twelve of them. It came near killing a woman.

I have some trophies which I took on the field, which I will send home by Lieut. Brach. The rebel force was headed by Cols. Stainwright and Coffey, and Major Russell.

Yours, etc.,

W. R.

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James Williams (2)
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