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Doc. 17.-the fight at cross Hollows, Ark.1


Missouri Democrat narrative.

cross Hollows, Ark., October 29.
I take this, the earliest opportunity, of sending you intelligence and further detail relative to another victory which has been gained in Northwestern Arkansas. Telegraphic despatches regarding the fight doubtless have already reached you and been presented to your readers.

The facts of the case are these: The army of the frontier had been vainly pursuing the main body of the rebels for several weeks without hope of bringing on a collision, until news came that a considerable force had collected near Fayetteville. On Monday, Gen. Totten's entire division started from Osage Spring, a point five or six miles west of Cross Hollows, and equidistant with the latter to Fayetteville. His force moved at three o'clock in the afternoon, some six or seven thousand strong, going directly toward Fayetteville, which was seventeen miles distant.

In the evening Gen. Herron received directions to take a body of cavalry and approach the enemy from the south-east and overwhelm them. He took nine hundred men, consisting of a portion of the First Iowa cavalry, the Seventh Missouri State militia, and the first battalion of the First Missouri cavalry, a portion of which formed his body-guard, and set out at eleven o'clock on Monday night, eight hours after the other division had taken its departure. He went south some six miles upon the direct road to Fayetteville, and then, turning to the left or east, made a wide detour through a blind, unfrequented path without a guide and under the cover of a night of tartarean darkness. This little party crossed the White River several times, and forced their way through tangled thickets, and by three or half-past 3 o'clock in the morning had made twenty-five miles and encountered the first pickets of the enemy. These were followed in with difficulty, the road apparently becoming more obscure.

Just as the dawn was breaking they came upon a heavier picket, consisting, apparently, of one hundred and fifty men. A portion of the State militia was dismounted, and this party driven across the White River, which there intervened between Gen. Herron's forces and the rebel camp. It appeared, from a straggler and a boy that had been caught, that Col. Craven was at this camp with four thousand Texan Rangers and two pieces of artillery. This would have been discouraging to some men, but Gen. Herron had not marched his men all the way down there, through bramble and brake, for the purpose of marching them back again. Although he had expected to merely assist a larger force in subduing the enemy, he found himself with a new and very serious battle on his hands. Taking a hasty survey of the position, he disposed his willing forces with rapidity, and then with enthusiasm went at the work in hand. The river was crossed, skirmishers thrown out, and at one time his entire party, with the exception of less than one hundred men, were engaged in the fight. No less than an hour and a half was consumed in crossing the river, the rebels having the advantage in long-range Minie muskets, while our boys had only their revolving pistols and rifles and a few carbines.

After a severe contest, their advance was pushed across the river, and then they made a new line of battle, running through their camp, when they made a bold stand, and held our forces for another hour and a half. Finally, signs of yielding were detected, and then our boys charged upon them with a wild shout that sent terror to the hearts of the rebels, and added wings to their flying feet. In a moment their camp was deserted, and our gallant boys were in possession. There were many wooden barracks there, the place having been used last season, as winter quarters. These were burned to the ground, and all their cooking utensils, and a large amount of other camp equipage, were destroyed. A portion of their train was captured, and the entirrebel force, consisting of six regiments, were driven four miles into the Boston Mountains. A few prisoners were taken, not exceeding a dozen in number, and fifteen dead bodies were picked up on the field. The road by which the rebels re treated was thickly spattered with blood, showing that they took away many wounded, and upon several occasions they were seen taking away dead bodies upon their horses. We did not lose a man, and only five were wounded, which, of itself, is a remarkable piece of good fortune.

This brilliant affair occurred twelve miles south of Fayetteville, on the Ozark road. Intelligence was brought that a large rebel force was between the scene of conflict and Fayetteville. General Herron, not relishing the idea of being entirely surrounded by a largely superior force, fell back toward Fayetteville, after resting for an hour upon the well-won field. Whatever rebel force there was upon this road disappeared over the mountains, and within an hour the gallant little band came upon the advance of Gen. Totten's division. Last night, at nine o'clock, the General returned to this place, having travelled fifty-four miles in less than twenty-three hours, whipped a force of rebels four times as large as his, taking them completely by surprise in a hostile country, and bringing his whole force safely home without the loss of a single life.



Another National account.

cross Hollows, Ark., October 29, 1862.
Quite a brilliant affair in the way of a night raid took place in this vicinity yesterday, and is perhaps well worth a passing mention. The different divisions of the army of the frontier have been gallivanting about the country seeking for a muss with the rebels with very poor success for some weeks. Like the Irishman's flea, every time we thought we had them at any particular [51] place, they were not there. We are in a hostile country, where every living thing appears to act the spy against us, apprising the secesh of our approach whenever we make an important movement toward them. Intelligence came a few days ago that a considerable body of the enemy had congregated in the vicinity of Fayetteville, and would there give us fight. General Totten was ordered to move his division immediately upon the latter place. He responded to this order by starting at three o'clock P. M. Gen. Herron was encamped with his division at Cross Hollows, and General Totten's camp was at Osage Springs, six miles west of the former camp, and equidistant with it from Fayetteville. On the evening of the same day (twenty-seventh instant) Gen. Herron received orders to take a portion of the cavalry belonging to his command, and to approach the enemy from the south-east simultaneously if possible with Totten, who would move on them from the north-west. Fayetteville is seventeen miles nearly south of the starting-point of both of these parties, so that while Totten approached them directly and by the shortest route, Gen. Herron, who started eight hours afterward, would be obliged to make a wide detour, and attack the enemy in the rear. At eleven o'clock at night, the latter General, supported by less than one thousand half-armed cavalry, left Cross Hollows upon a very indefinite sort of errand. He did not know exactly where the enemy were encamped, nor by what road to reach them. He had not an idea what their force amounted to; and he knew not where Totten would commence his attack. This little party proceeded rapidly on the Fayetteville road for some six or seven miles, then they turned off to the left, on the east, into a blind bridle-path. The night was pitchy dark, and the air sharp with frost. Without compass or guide, the General led his men through bramble and brake, tangled brushwood and thick forests, over mountains, through rivers and rock-ribbed ravines, coming upon a rebel vidette at about halfpast three o'clock in the morning, some twenty-five miles from Cross Hollows. This was unexpected, but the facts of the case proved that the rebels were twelve miles below Fayetteville, on the Huntsville road. General Herron advanced his men, cautiously feeling his way by flankers and scouts, until daylight, when he came upon a strong picket-guard of two hundred cavalry. A portion of the Missouri State militia were dismounted and deployed as skirmishers. They worked beautifully, advancing bravely to the contest, and drove the secesh steadily toward their camp, which was in an open space on the opposite side of White River. Other pickets were encountered, who fell back to the edge of the stream, and there made a determined stand of an hour and a half. They were finally dislodged, and sent helter-skelter through the water to the opposite shore. Our troops immediately followed, and there met, drawn up in a line of battle, the whole rebel force, consisting of two pieces of artillery and five regiments of Texan Rangers, numbering nearly five thousand men, under the command of Col. Craven. The case looked desperate, but Gen. Herron is every inch a soldier, and a coolheaded fighting man. He had made a weary night-march, and he was determined not to go back without giving the enemy a tussle. With a rapid glance he took in the whole situation, comprehending the advantages and disadvantages of the position immediately. His men consisted of portions of the brave Iowa First cavalry, the Seventeenth Missouri State militia--the same, by the way, who were forced across the State line at the point of the bayonet — and a part of the First battalion of the First Missouri volunteer cavalry, and in all numbered about nine hundred men. They were poorly armed, some with carbines, others with only sabres and revolving pistols, and the remainder with short-range revolving rifles; all else depended upon their dashing bravery and invincible spirits. It was impossible to decide who was entitled to the most praise in this most unequal conflict. No single company had ever been beaten in a previous battle, so they knew not what it was to be whipped. Disparity of numbers was forgotten; the victory to them was a foregone conclusion, and it only remained to win it by fair hard knocks. At it they went, doing their work manfully, and performing deeds of valor that smacked of the marvels of ancient chivalry. Another hour and a half was spent in making an impression upon the serried front of the rebels. At last word was conveyed along the lines that the enemy was in retreat, and in a moment our forces were charging into their camp with an inspiriting huzza that incited with new terror the flying feet of the foe. They were driven some four miles, and after a hard-fought affair lasting about four hours in all, the field and a complete victory was ours. The rebel camp equipage and barracks were destroyed, and a portion of their baggage-train captured. Several prisoners were taken, and fifteen or twenty bodies found dead upon the field. Doubtless many dead were carried away, and all the wounded. Our loss was almost nothing. Five poor fellows were wounded, one of whom has since died. With that exception, it was almost a bloodless victory, as far as Gen. Herron's forces were concerned.


1 this battle is also known as the battle of Fayetteville.

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