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Doc. 12.-battle of “old Fort Wayne,” Ark.

General Blunt's official report.

headquarters First division, army of the frontier, old Fort Wayne, near Maysville, Ark., Oct. 28, 1862.
Brigadier-General J. M. Schofield, Commanding Army of the Frontier:
General: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of your instructions of the twentieth instant, I left camp at Pea Ridge at about seven o'clock P. M. of that day with the Second and Third brigades of my command, consisting of the Second, Sixth, and Tenth, and the Eleventh Kansas, and the First and Third Cherokee regiments, the First Kansas and the Second Indiana batteries and four mountain howitzers, leaving the First brigade, Gen. Salomon, to protect my rear and flank, and my supply train, meeting the command of Gen. Herron about midnight, which caused considerable delay. [30]

I did not reach Bentonville until daylight of the twenty-first. At the latter place I halted until five o'clock P. M. at which hour my train, left behind at Pea Ridge, came up. having learned from my scouts, sent out during the day, that Cooper and Standwaite were at or near Maysville, with a force variously estimated at from five thousand to seven thousand men, I determined, if possible, to reach their camp and attack them by daybreak. The distance to march was thirty miles, and the road through a rough, and wooded, and hilly country. Three miles from Bentonville I directed my train to go into camp and follow in the morning at daylight, and moved the column forward, Col. Cloud's brigade being in the advance.

At about two o'clock in the morning the advance was halted by Col. Cloud, with the view of letting the column close up. The men were weary and exhausted, and no sooner were they halted than they dropped down in the brush by the wayside and were soon fast asleep, being in the rear of Col. Cloud's brigade. After waiting half an hour at a halt, I took a portion of my body-guard, went ahead to learn the cause of the delay, and ordered the command to move on, going myself with the advance-guard. After proceeding five miles further, an open prairie lay before us of some five miles in extent, over which we had to pass to reach the rebel camp.

At this point I went ahead of the advance-guard, accompanied by Capt. Russell, of the Second Kansas regiment, and two men, for the purpose of getting information. In this we sueceeded admirably. Stopping at a large, fine house, at the edge of the prairie, and disguised as rebel soldiers, just escaped from the Federals, and wishing to get with Cooper's command, I readily enlisted the sympathies of the lady, whose husband was a soldier in the rebel camp. She informed me where their pickets stood, of the location of their camp, and of their strength, which was near seven thousand men, two Texan regiments having joined them the day before.

I now moved the advance across the prairie, and halted a quarter of a mile from their outpost, which was at the edge of the timber, on a little wooded stream, near the town of Maysville. From this point I sent companies B and I, of the Second Kansas, under the command of Captain Hopkins, by a circuitous route, to enter the town in the rear of the enemy's pickets, for the purpose, if possible, of capturing them without alarming their camp.

This, however, proved fruitless, from the fact, as I afterwards learned, that they heard us advancing across the prairie, and ran in, alarming the town as they went, from which all of the male inhabitants speedily decamped, to seek rebel protection.

It was now near five o'clock, and my desire was to attack at daylight; but, while waiting to give Captain Hopkins time to get in the rear of their pickets, on going back to ascertain if the column was closed up, I learned, much to my surprise and disappointment, that during the last two or three hours march, the only troops with me had been three companies of the Kansas Second, two of which had already been sent ahead, under Captain Hopkins.

The main column was back seven miles, where it was first halted. After sending a messenger back to order it up, I proceeded, with the one company remaining with me, to the town, and reached there at the same time with Capt. Hopkins. There I learned that intelligence of an approach had gone ahead of us, and fearing that the enemy would retreat, I sent Col. Cloud, who had come up with me in the advance back, to move his brigade forward as rapidly as possible, while, with the three companies, I determined to push ahead, attack the enemy, and endeavor to hold them until reenforcements could arrive. Finding an intelligent contraband, whose master was in the rebel camp, with the locality of which he was well acquainted, I had no difficulty by promising him his freedom, in engaging his service as a guide.

The route from Maysville to the timber where the rebels were posted lay across the prairie in a south-westerly direction, about three and a half miles distant. Dashing on rapidly, we drove the pickets from the open ground under cover of the timber. The remainder of the Second Kansas with the two mountain howitzers attached, now came galloping up, and the whole regiment was quickly formed in line, and under command of Lieut.-Col. Bassett was ordered to skirmish the woods on foot to ascertain the position of the enemy. At this point five of my body-guard captured ten armed rebels, who had been out of camp and were endeavoring to get back to their command. Lieut.-Col. Bassett, not being able to ascertain the whereabouts of the rebel forces, was ordered to withdraw his men from the woods and mount them.

Advancing through an opening in the timber, about a quarter of a mile in width, I discovered the enemy in force, their line extending across the open ground in front and occupying the road between the point I occupied. Reconnoitring their position and movements, and their line, was a pasture of open ground some two hundred yards, and two fences intervening. Believing that the enemy were contemplating a retreat, I determined to lose no time in trying the effect of a few shell upon their ranks from the two little mountain howitzers. The Kansas Second was accordingly moved forward in line to the first fence and the two howitzers, under command of Lieut. Stover, supported by company A, of the Second Kansas, under Lieutenant Johnson, were ordered to advance through the fence to within two hundred yards of the enemy's battery, from which position Lieutenant Stover opened upon them with shells and with much animation.

The fire was returned by the enemy's guns, and in a few minutes the entire line engaged the small force I had opposing them. I then dismounted the entire regiment. The Kansas Second formed then on foot, and I ordered them to advance through the fence to within short-range [31] of the enemy's position, which order was obeyed with alacrity, they opening upon the rebel lines a terrific fire with their Harper's Ferry rifles. The enemy observing our small force upon the field, the main column not having yet come in sight, attempted to overwhelm us by superior numbers, and, by flank movements, to obtain possession of the projecting woods on my right and left.

Fortunately, at this juncture the Kansas Sixth, Col. Judson, and the Third Cherokee regiment, Col. Phillips, came upon the field. The former was ordered to advance upon the right, and the latter on the left, which they did by rapid movements, throwing back the flanking columns of the enemy. At the same moment company B, Capt. Hopkins, company D, Lieut. Moore, company E, Capt. Gardner, company H, Lieut. Ball, and company K, Capt. Russell, of the Second Kansas, all under command of Capt. S. J. Crawford, made a gallant charge, driving in their centre, capturing their artillery, and bringing it in triumph from the field.

The battle was now won; the enemy began flying in disorder before our victorious troops. The Second Indiana battery, Lieut. Rabb, came up in time to pay its respects to the rear of the flying enemy with excellent effect. Col. Judson, of the Sixth Kansas, and Colonel Phillips, of the Third Cherokee regiment, pursued them in their retreat for a distance of seven miles, skirmishing with their rear, and leaving quite a number of their dead strewn by the way, when their horses becoming exhausted from the long and wearisome march of the night before, they were obliged to give up further pursuit.

The rebels, as I have since learned, did not halt in their retreat until they had reached Arkansas River at Fort Gibson, seventy miles from the battle-ground, where they arrived thirty hours after their rout at Old Fort Wayne.

The casualties in my command were one killed on the battle-field belonging to the Kansas Second, and nine wounded, and four mortally, since dead, three belonging to the Kansas Second, and one to the Kansas Sixth.

Of the enemy's killed and wounded I have been unable to procure a full and accurate statement. About fifty of their dead have been found upon the field and buried by my command. Most of their wounded were taken away, yet a number of them have been cared for by our surgeons. Some who were found in houses some ten miles from the battle-field, report their loss in killed and wounded at one hundred and fifty; and of the men working their battery, who were Texans, all except four were either killed or wounded. The battery captured consists of three six-pounder brass guns and one twelve-pounder brass field-howitzer, with horses, harness, and caissons complete; we also captured quite a large number of horses and a portion of their transportation and camp and garrison equipage.

It was my intention to have surprised and attacked them at daybreak, and had it not been for the unfortunate occurrence of the night — the neglect of the column to move forward as ordered — I have little doubt I should have succeeded in destroying or capturing the entire rebel force.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to the gallant Second, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Bassett, which took a prominent part in the affair of the morning. Truly have they added new lustre to their laurels won at Wilson's Creek. With less than six hundred men, our numbers, and with guns' without bayonets, charged the enemy's line and artillery, and drove them from the field.

To mention names where all, both officers and men, did their duty so well and so nobly, may seem, I fear, invidious. Yet I feel that I ought to say to Captain Crawford, who commanded the battalion that made the charge upon and captured the rebel battery, great credit is due for his gallantry; and the names of Capts. Ayres, Russell, Hopkins, and Gardner, and Lieuts. Moore, Cosgrove, Ballard, Lee, and Johnson, and Sergeant Baker, all of whom commanded companies, are worthy of especial and honorable mention. Lieut. Stover proved himself not only a gallant officer but a good artillerist, abundantly shown by the effect produced by his little howitzers. Lieut.-Col. Bassett also demonstrated his gallantry and ability as an officer upon the field.

The officers and men of the other regiments were disappointed at not being in time to take a part in the conflict, and only failed to distinguish themselves for want of opportunity. If such opportunity occurs, they will prove themselves as equal to the emergency as the gallant Second has done.

In closing the report it is justly due to acknowledge the efficient services rendered upon the field during the engagement by the following members of my division staff, namely:

Major V. P. Van Antwerp, Inspector-General, and Capt. Lyman Scott, and Lieuts. J. Fin. Hill and M. J. Collier, Aids-de-Camp.

I have the honor to be, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

James G. Blunt, Brig.-Gen. Commanding First Division Army of the Frontier.

Leavenworth Conservative account.

near Maysville, Ark., October 23.
We overtook the enemy here, yesterday morning, attacked and took from him four pieces of cannon, and drove him from the field.

My last, under date of the twentieth inst., written on the battle-field of Pea Ridge, indicated that we were to march that night, the whole army, as I then supposed, under the command of Gen. Schofield, directly south on the Fayetteville road, in pursuit of the enemy. Information, however, coming to hand that they had divided their forces, Marmaduke, Rains, and others, with one portion of it, to proceed south-east, in the direction of Huntsville, and Cooper and Standwaite with the other west, through Bentonville to Maysville, into the Indian country; our forces were therefore divided to meet the emergency.

Gens. Schofield and Totten, with the Missouri [32] division, went in pursuit of Marmaduke and company, while Gen. Blunt, with the brigades of Weer and Cloud, followed Cooper and Standwaite, leaving Gen. Salomon, with his command, including Stockton's and Blair's batteries, at Pea Ridge, to keep open communication with the rear, protect the trains, etc. We marched from there on Monday night at nine o'clock, and by two o'clock had reached Bentonville, a distance of some tewlve or thirteen miles, where the command halted and remained through the following day for the trains to come up. At sundown started again and marched during most of the night. The road was rough and rocky, up hill and down much of the way, and a great deal of it through timber. At between two and three o'clock word came from the rear that Col. Weer, who two days before had thrown up his brigade command and returned to that of his regiment, (the Tenth Kansas,) had drawn out of the line and halted for the night.

A little later a halt took place also in front; Gen. Blunt being at that time some distance to the rear of the heads of the column, immediately taking his body-guard, he went ahead, overtook the Kansas Second; (now under the command of Lieut.-Col. Bassett,) which constituted the advance-guard, and reached Maysville before daylight, driving the enemy's pickets from it. Maysville is almost directly west, (a little to the north,) and some twenty-three miles distant from Bentonville, immediately on the boundary line between Arkansas and the Indian Nation. It is seven or eight miles south of the north-west corner of Arkansas. Proceeding on from there after a brief halt some four miles in a south-westerly direction, over an open, beautiful prairie, the enemy were found at the edge of the woods near this point, which is the site of an old United States military garrison, long since abandoned. It may be found laid down on some of the maps — is so on one now before me as “Old Fort Wayne,” at the junction of Spannivaw and Welster creeks.

Coming up with the enemy, Gen. Blunt had with him as before stated, no other force but three companies of the Kansas Second that happened to be in the lead, and his body-guard of some twenty-five or thirty men. He at once determined to attack, and made his arrangements accordingly. Soon the other companies of the Second arrived upon the ground, the whole regiment numbering not to exceed six hundred men all told. They were dismounted to act as infantry, Gen. Blunt directing the movement in person, and encouraged the men, promptly and efficiently seconded by Col. Bassett and all his officers. The regiment had with it two little mountain howitzers, and the men were armed with Harper's Ferry rifles without bayonets. Emboldened by the very small number of our people present, the enemy brought out his artillery clear of the woods, and commenced blazing away at them industriously, but a very few hundred yards intervening between the two lines, and no obstacle in the way. Of course the compliment was returned promptly and with a will from the two little howitzers, and thus the matter went on for some time. Finally, impatient of longer delay, the word was given for the gallant Second to advance, (on foot, of course,) which it did with a rush, firing as it went straight up to the muzzles of the enemy's guns, driving his cannoneers from them, seizing the four brass pieces and bringing them in triumph from the ground.

It was a most brilliant and daring act, of which the gallant victors, nay, all of Kansas may well be proud. Before us and close at hand, lay the forces of the enemy, probably not less than seven thousand strong, concealed mostly by the woods. The head of our own anxiously looked for column, the Eleventh Kansas, Sixth Kansas, Rabb's and the Kansas batteries, etc., were still back three miles or more toward Maysville, while the rear of the column, Weer's regiment and others, were still further back, perhaps eight or ten miles off. New orders were sent for the advance to come up rapidly, which it did accordingly — had been doing, in fact, all the time since the dawn of day. The Sixth, headed by its gallant Colonel, Judson, came galloping over the four miles of prairie between Maysville and the point where the fight was going on. The horses of Rabb's battery under trot, and the men of the splendid new Eleventh regiment at double-quick, under the lead of Ewing, Moonlight, and Plumb, until they were nearly exhausted, and made the distance in admirable time — Moonlight himself, by the way, on foot at the head of his men.

Arrived upon the ground, Rabb's battery was placed in position with the customary promptitude of its youthful commander, and at once the six mouths of the fierce spiteful pieces were heard barking away at the foe who had retired into the woods — giving forth music that was truly inspiring. The Eleventh and the Sixth were formed into line of battle on the right of the position occupied by the Second, and close up to the woods. Soon, also, the First and Third Indian regiments, Cols. Wattles and Phillips, arrived upon the ground, and were placed upon the left, with orders from Gen. Blunt to sweep the woods in a wide circle in that direction and find the enemy — the Sixth and Eleventh advancing simultaneously on the right. All went ahead, and some skirmishing ensued at different points, but no considerable force of the enemy was overtaken. Again they had fled.

What the casualties of yesterday's affair have been is not yet known. Four of the Kansas Second, slain in the attack upon the battery captured by it, were buried a few hours later in the open prairie, under three or four small quaking asp trees, a short distance north of the battle-ground. Several others were, more or less, severely wounded — some of them perhaps to die, and others to recover.

The battery captured yesterday consists of three six-pounders and one twelve-pounder field-howitzer, all brass, and supplied with some thirty or forty rounds of ammunition. One of the caissons was knocked to pieces by the shells from our howitzers, and another hauled away. [33] A number of horses were killed — all the others attached to the guns being captured with them.

This entire command, as you may readily conceive, is much elated by the brilliant victory above related. It is none the less glorious, of course, for having been achieved substantially by so small a portion of the command. Had the plan adopted by Gen. Blunt been fully carried out, had no halt taken place on the night march between Bentonville and Maysville, and could the entire command have reached here, as was his design, by the dawn of day on the morning of the twenty-second, there is reason to believe that a large proportion at least of the enemy's forces, with all of his trains, might have been surprised and captured; for Gen. Cooper himself, as is proven by the certificate of his Medical Director, a copy of which I inclose herewith, remained here yesterday morning until Gen. Blunt was close upon him, never apparently dreaming of such a thing as that he was coming.

The result of the campaign, thus far, is completely to rid South-western Missouri, North-western Arkansas, and the “Indian nation,” of the enemy, who occupied all of that region only three weeks ago to-day, and to clear the road of him between here and Fort Smith, which is believed to be now open to our march upon that place. And this important work is mainly due to the Kansas division, under the command of General Blunt, which, I verily believe, would have done the whole work alone, without assistance; with some more fighting, perhaps, than has occurred, but none the less effectually on that account. The command will probably remain here a few days, for the subsistence trains to come up, and to recruit the men and horses, and then march on to its goal-Fort Smith thereby meaning.

The members of the division staff now with Gen. Blunt are as follows: Major Van Antwerp, Inspector-General, and Lieut. Fin. Hill, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General; Lieut. Collier, of the Second Ohio cavalry, Aid-de-Camp; Capt. Haskall, Staff Quartermaster, and Captain Scott, of Leavenworth, Aid-de-Camp.

Levinus Harris's account.

Cherokee nation, near Maysville, Arkansas, October 28, 1862.
Will you be so kind as to allow these few lines to find entrance into your paper? By so doing you will confer a favor upon myself and others here with me, who would like our friends to know our whereabouts, and what we are doing. The twenty-second of October is one long to be remembered by the few who were engaged in the battle of Fort Wayne, near our present encampment. We had travelled two whole nights without sleep, and early on the morning of the twenty-second found ourselves in Maysville, where we expected to find the enemy and give him battle. But the enemy was not there. Two farmers captured seemed loth to tell the where-abouts of the enemy, when a negro was brought before the commanding officer, Gen. Blunt, and promised his freedom if he would reveal the enemy's position. He informed us that he was about two miles distant encamped. Without waiting for reenforcements to come up, the General ordered us — the Kansas Second mounted riflemen--into line, and we marched forward toward the enemy. We could see parties of them on the prairie, and as we advanced they retired. Presently we came to a corn-field and wood, where we dismounted, passed rapidly through the field and wood, coming out into the prairie beyond. Company B, mostly from Edwards, Wabash and Wayne Counties, Illinois, with one or two other companies, were on the left of the column, and reached the prairie last. On arriving thither, they heard the companies that were on the right engaging the enemy, about a half-mile distant. Our horses had been brought around the wood. We mounted and were soon on the field of battle. We dismounted, hurried forward, loading and firing, rapidly advancing upon the enemy, who were posted in a field grown up in small sassafras bushes, and were firing musketry and cannon at us with at least a determination to slay. They were three thousand in number, with one large brass mounted howitzer and three large brass pieces, European make. We were not six hundred strong, with two small mounted howitzers; but forward was the command, and the command was quickly obeyed, the men making the air resound with their shouts. I have heard Indians yell, but they could not come up with our boys. At double-quick we advanced, waiting only to load; our muskets we depended upon, our pistols at our sides remaining untouched, and having no sabres and no bayonets. A strange charge! It was an exciting time. The air was musical with musketry and cannon-ball strains. Forward! forward! and the cannon, all that the enemy had, were ours. The enemy was driven from the field. Just at this juncture Rabb's battery and several regiments came up, and the field was ours. Six hundred men had fought the battle and won the day, losing but three men killed and three wounded. The enemy shot over us, or else we would have been mowed down like grass. Our movements were so rapid and our shouts so deceptive that the enemy thought the fields were full of men, and thus he was deceived. The enemy's loss is stated at about three hundred, ours ten in killed and wounded. Our success seems a miracle, and we cannot but see the kind hand of Providence favoring us. He delivered us from the enemy and gave us the victory. He saved us from seeming destruction and illustrated the great truth that God can save by few or by many. Our men were almost wild with excitement on capturing the pieces. The enemy rapidly retreated and saved most of his train, our Indians pursuing him a few miles. Since the battle company B has been converted into an artillery company, and commands the pieces taken in the battle.

Yours, in love, for our common country,


Another account.

camp on Spannivaw Creek, I. T., Oct. 24, 1862.
On Wednesday, the twenty-second instant, the Kansas division of the army of the frontier, forcing a march in pursuit of Cooper, Col. Cloud of the Third brigade came up with the enemy on Spannivaw Creek, four miles beyond Maysville. The attack was sudden, energetic, and successful. The rebels were defeated, four brass pieces, all they had, were taken, and numbers killed and wounded. Our loss was three killed and seven wounded. The Kansas Second, Lieut.-Colonel Bassett, under Colonel Cloud, did the most of the work.

X, Tenth Kansas Volunteers.

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