camp; but on hearing of my approach they immediately commenced a retreat under the cover of night, availing themselves of the shelter of heavy timber for a distance of six miles, crossed our trail in the rear, and made a precipitated flight south. They have never halted since they commenced their retreat except long enough to feed their horses, and crossed the Osage at this point yesterday at eleven o'clock A. M. My advance, under Col. Cloud, skirmished with their rear-guard during the day yesterday, killing and wounding several and taking a number of prisoners. Coffee is talking of forming a junction with Rains at Greenfield, and make a stand, which I hope they may do, as my command is much exhausted by forced marches, and stock badly used up. Since I left Fort Scott, my command has marched over two hundred miles and an average of forty miles per day without tents, and the last two days without subsistence, except as we could forage off the country, yet the men have borne their fatigue and privations cheerfully in anticipation of meeting the enemy. I arrived here at two o'clock this morning, and shall march in an hour for Greenfield.
James G. Blunt, Brigadier-General Commanding.
Official account of the battle.
Lexington, under command of Major Foster. We arrived in the vicinity of Lone Jack at ten P. M. on the evening of the same day, where we learned that the enemy, two thousand five hundred strong, were encamped one and one half miles north of the village. At eleven P. M., three fourths of a mile south of the village, we encountered a heavy picket of the enemy, and a skirmish commenced. One discharge of the artillery and a volley from our rifles scattered them in every direction, and the column proceeded. The artillery was again brought to bear upon them, shelling their camp with such effect that they retreated, and the skirmish ended. At daylight on the morning of the sixteenth instant, our pickets reported them to be advancing upon us in three columns of about one thousand men each. Our line of battle was scarcely formed when they came upon us, yelling like savages, and sending their balls into our ranks thick as hail. Companies A and E were on the left, and company B was in the centre of the line. Our whole line opened upon them with severe effect, but our right was driven back by overwhelming numbers, and our artillery was captured by the enemy. Things were different on the left. Company A and my company, and another company of militia, repulsed a large force of cavalry, which charged furiously upon our left, aiming to rout us at the first dash. In this sharp contest every man stood to his post like a hero. The action then ceased upon the left for more than an hour, the enemy, in full force, continuing the attack upon our right with increased fury. The cannoniers all being wounded or missing, the cavalrymen used the piece admirably, sending grape and canister in the enemy's ranks with great rapidity and effect. The action continued an hour after we rescued the cannon, when the rebels were repulsed and driven entirely from the village. The victory was ours, but the enemy was soon heavily reinforced, and we were compelled to retreat. When our artillery was taken, dismay seemed for a moment to spread through our right and centre, but it was only momentary. Their silence gave warning, like the momentary hushing of the storm before it comes with its most furious sweep and. havoc. With the cry of “Onward, men,” the right and centre, aided by company A and my company, rushed upon the enemy regardless of danger, repulsing the continued assault of over two thousand rebels for four hours. In the mean time the rebels, in considerable force, charged upon our rear, but were repulsed by about one hundred of our men, with a fire so destructive that they abandoned that point of attack, although a large corn-field covered their advance. At the close of the four hours assault, our men succeeded in rescuing one piece of the artillery from the enemy. Eight hundred of us fought three thousand rebels, and the victory was ours, the reinforcements of the enemy only compelling us to retreat. Our whole loss was sixty killed and one hundred wounded and missing; that of the enemy was about one hundred and ten killed and wounded. The loss of my detachment was nine killed, forty-five wounded, and thirteen missing.