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Doc. 214.-Baxter's Springs massacre.

Report of Lieutenant Pond.

Colonel: I was attacked by Quantrell to-day with about six hundred and fifty men, and after one hour's hard fighting I am able to report to you that I still hold the camp, and the old flag floats over us as proudly as ever.

The attack was unexpected, as I had sent my cavalry out not more than an hour previous, to reconnoitre on the same road the enemy came in on. My men were at dinner when the attack was made, and most of them were obliged to break through the enemy's lines in order to get their arms, which were in camp. In doing this, four of my men were shot down. I was in my tent, about two hundred yards west of the camp, when I heard the first firing, (the reason of my tent being here was, that I had just arrived with reenforcements, and the camp was not large enough to accommodate the whole of my command, and I had just had the men at work extending the defences up to my quarters,) when I looked out and saw my camp surrounded by mounted men two ranks deep. I called what men were near me to get inside the fortifications if possible, at the same time I ran through the enemy's ranks myself, and got safely inside, where I found the enemy as numerous as my own men. In a moment every man was rallied, and we soon succeeded in driving the enemy outside the camp. This done, I called for men to get the howitzer, which stood just over the intrenchments, on the north side. Whether the men heard me or not I am unable to say, as the volleys of musketry and yells of the enemy nearly drowned every other noise. I got the howitzer at work myself, and after three shots into their ranks succeeded in repulsing their main force, which retreated in good order over the hill north of the camp, where I heard firing, and supposed they had attacked my cavalry, which, was then out; but on looking around, I discovered Major Henning, of our regiment, who had gallantly cut his way through the enemy and rescued three of my men who had been taken prisoners, and brought them safely to camp. The Major informed me that General Blunt was close by, and that the enemy were driving him, and called for cavalry to go to the General's relief. This I could not furnish him, as every effective man had been sent out in the morning, and all I had was twenty-five of my own company, C, and twenty of company D, Third Wisconsin cavalry, and fifty negroes, none of whom had serviceable horses. The Major thought that, under the circumstances, I could do no better than to hold my camp, while he went out in hopes to find General Blunt, and inform him that my camp was still in our possession. Shortly afterward I discovered that General Blunt's escort and band had been massacred, their wagons burned, and the bodies of the dead stripped of clothing and left upon the ground, and that the enemy had formed in line of battle on the prairie. At two o'clock a flag of truce approached; the bearer (George Todd) demanded the surrender of the camp, which being refused, he stated that he demanded, in the name of Colonel Quantrell, of the First regiment, First brigade, army of the South, an exchange of prisoners. I answered that I had taken no prisoners, as I had not been outside the intrenchments, and had no opportunity of taking any; that I had wounded some of his men, whom I had seen fall from their saddles, and would see that they were cared for, provided he would do the same by our men. He said he had twelve privates and the Adjutant-General (Major Curtis) prisoners, and that I had killed and wounded about fifty of his men, and if 1 would promise to take care of his wounded, and see that they were paroled after they were able to leave, he would promise me that no harm should befall Major Curtis or our men. This, I think, was intended as a blind, to find out what I had done, as they had already murdered Major Curtis and our prisoners. This evening, General Blunt came in accompanied by Mr. Tough, who, with six or eight men, had been following Quantrell on his retreat all the afternoon, and report that he crossed the Neosha at the Fort Gibson road, and went south. Is there a braver man living than the General? My loss is nine killed and sixteen wounded, (six of company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry,) Lieutenant Cook, of the Second colored, and John Fry, the express-rider, and one negro. As near as I can learn, the casualties of General Blunt are about eighty killed and six or seven wounded. Most of the killed are shot through the head, showing that they were taken prisoners and then murdered. Lieutenant Farr, Judge-Advocate, is among the murdered; also Henry Polloque, and the entire brigade band. Here allow me to make mention of some of the noble acts of some of my men. Sergeant McKenzie, of my company, exchanged eleven [597] shots with a rebel officer, and succeeded in killing his horse. The man then dismounted and took to the timber; McKenzie followed him, and with but one shot in his revolver killed his man while his adversary was firing at him. Sergeant Smith, I think, was the coolest man on the ground, and did not fail to see that every order was obeyed to the letter. Sergeant Chestnut, company D, Third Wisconsin cavalry, commanded his company, and did nobly. The darkeys fought like, devils; thirteen of them were wounded at the first round, and not one but that fought throughout the engagement. The number of the enemy killed, as far as I can learn, are eleven, and I know we wounded more than twice that number, which they carried off the field.

There are several other interesting items, which I will furnish you in a future report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

James B. Pond, First Lieut. Co. c, Third Wis. Cav., Commanding Post, Fort Blair. To Lieutenant-Colonel C. W. Blair,. Commanding Post, Fort Scott.

Major Henning's report.

Colonel: I have the honor to report the following facts in regard to the fight at Baxter's Springs, Cherokee Nation, October 6, 1863.

On Sunday, the fourth, General Blunt, with the following members of his staff, namely, Major H. Z. Curtis, Assistant Adjutant-General, Major B. S. Henning, Provost-Marshal of District, Lieutenant Tappin, Second colored volunteers A. D. C., Lieutenant A. W. Farr, Judge-Advocate, together with the brigade band and all clerks in the different departments of district headquarters, and also an escort, consisting of forty men of company I, Third Wisconsin cavalry, under Lieutenant H. D. Banister, forty-five men of company A, Fourteenth Kansas cavalry, under Lieuteuant Pierce, and the whole escort, under the command of Lieutenant J. G. Cavart, Third Wisconsin cavalry, and a train of eight wagons, transporting the effects of district headquarters, company effects, etc., left Fort Scott, for Fort Smith, Ark., and on that day marched six miles and camped. On the succeeding day marched thirty-four miles and camped on Cow Creek, and on Tuesday, the sixth instant, marched from Cow Creek to within a distance of eighty rods of a camp at Baxter's Springs, Cherokee Nation, and halted at twelve M., for the train to close up, as it had become somewhat scattered. The halt continued about fifteen minutes, and the command had just been given for the column to move, when horsemen were seen coming out of the woods, a distance of about eighty rods to the left, and forming in line. As we were so near Baxter's Springs, (although not in sight of it, by reason of an intervening ridge,) many supposed them to be our own troops drilling or returning from a scout. The General immediately ordered the two companies into line of battle, and the train to close up in rear of the line, which was done under the immediate direction of Major Curtis, Assistant Adjutant-General. At the same time a reconnoitre was made by Mr. Tough, a scout of the General's, who reported that the force were enemies, and that an engagement was going on at the Springs. I had ridden forward myself, and discovered that the force was large, and reported the same to the General, who then rode to reconnoitre for himself. At this time I discovered that the enemy were being reenforced from the south-west, on a line between us and the camp at Baxter's Springs, (the main body of the enemy being east of us,) and wishing to ascertain the condition of things in that quarter, I rode forward to the crest of the hill, where I saw that the camp was nearly surrounded by the enemy, and the fighting very brisk. While there, the stragglers of the enemy continued to pass from the south-west to their main body. Although within range of the camp, and receiving a straggling fire therefrom, I immediately commenced to fire upon these stragglers, and received their fire in return, and was seconded in this by Captain Tough and Stephen Wheeler, of company F, Third Wisconsin cavalry, both of whom acted with great bravery, and was just on the point of returning to our line, when I saw five mounted men (rebels) with three Federal soldiers prisoners, trying to pass as the others had done. I immediately recognized one of the prisoners as a private of company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry, one of the companies stationed at the Springs, (and belonging to my own regiment.) I determined to rescue them, and called to Tough and Wheeler to advance with me, but the former had just shot one rebel and was in close pursuit of another, in a direction taking him away from me. Wheeler advanced with me, and by pressing hard on the rebels and firing fast, we drove them, killing one, wounding another, and rescuing the prisoners, who all belonged to company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry. As the rebels escaped, they attempted to shoot their prisoners, and wounded one in the shoulder. As this was right under the fire of the camp, two of the prisoners made for the camp without stopping to say thank you; the other, and the one personally known to me, named Heaton, seemed so bewildered that I had to ride up to him, and force him to go in the right direction. All this had taken me over the brow of the hill, so that when I turned to go back, our forces were partially out of sight, but a few jumps of my horse brought them in sight again, and I saw them still in line of battle, while the enemy to the number of about four hundred and fifty were advancing upon them in line of battle, and firing very rapidly. I will here state that of the eighty-five men of our escort, twenty acted as rear-guard to the train, and did not form in line at all, leaving only sixty-five men in line, of which forty were of company A, Fourteenth Kansas cavalry, on the right; twenty-five, of company I, Third Wisconsin cavalry, on the left. At this time the distance between the two lines was not two hundred yards, and the enemy advancing at a walk firing, I had just time to notice [598] these facts, when I saw two men in the centre of company A, Fourteenth Kansas, turn to run, but before they could fairly turn round, Major Curtis and the officers of the company forced them back, and I concluded the fight would be desperate, and was hopeful; but before the officers could get their places, the same two men and about eight more turned and ignominiously fled, which the enemy perceiving, the charge was ordered, and the whole line advanced with a shout, at which the remainder of company A, and despite the efforts of General Blunt, Major Curtis Lieutenants Tappin and Pierce, could not be rellied. At this time a full volley was fired by company I, Third Wisconsin cavalry, which so staggered the right of the enemy, that I began to have hopes again; but as their left continued to advance, their right rallied, but were checked so much that their line, as seen by me, was crooked, their right being behind. The firing then became indiscriminate, and I saw that company I stood firing their revolvers until the enemy were within twenty feet, and then turned; but before any distance could be made the enemy were in their midst, and out of forty of the company, twenty-three were killed and six wounded, and left for dead upon the field. At this time my attention was attracted to my own danger, the enemy having advanced so fast as to cut me off from the rest, and after trying a couple of dodges, I succeeded in getting into camp at Baxter's Springs, all the while closely pursued; and found Lieutenant Pond, who was in command, busily engaged in firing a mountain howitzer outside his breastworks. The garrison at Baxter's Springs consisted of parts of two companies of Third Wisconsin cavalry, and one company of the Second Kansas colored regiment, the whole under the command of Lieutenant James B. Pond, of company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry. The camp had only been established a few days, and in that time Lieutenant Pond caused to be built a breastwork like a log-fence, on three sides of a square, in which were his tents and quarters. The attack on the camp had been a partial surprise, but the troops acted splendidly, and Lieutenant Pond, taking the exposed position outside the breastworks, loaded and fired the howitzer three times without any assistance, and the engagement was so close, that during this time some of the enemy had entered the breastworks; and at the time I entered the defences and got where Lieutenant Pond was, the bullets were pelting against the logs near by and all around him. As the fight with the force of General Blunt had been out of sight of the camp, Lieutenant Pond had been unable to tell what it meant, and very much surprised to see me, and in answer to my order for his cavalry, with which I hoped to be of some use to our scattered troops, told me, that he had that morning started out a forage train of eight wagons, and an escort of sixty men, who had gone in the direction from which the enemy had come, and he supposed they had been “gobbled up,” and in response to his order only seven men reported to me. With these I returned to the brow of the bill, in the direction of the first attack, and plainly saw the enemy engaged in sacking the wagons, and, while there, plainly saw the band brutally murdered. At the time of the attack the band-wagon, containing fourteen members of the brigade Band, James O'Neal, special artist of Frank Leslie's Pictorial Newspaper, one young lad twelve years old, (servant of the leader of the band,) Henry Polloque, of Madison, Wis., and the driver, had undertaken to escape in a direction a little to the south of west, and made about half a mile, when one of the wheels of the wagon run off and the wagon sloped on the brow of the hill, in plain sight of where I stood. As the direction of the wagon was different from that in which most of the troops fled, it had not attracted such speedy attention, and the enemy had just got to it as I returned, giving me an opportunity to see every member of the band, Mr. O'Neal, the boy and the driver, shot, and their bodies thrown in or under the wagon, and it fired, so that when we went to them, all were more or less burned, and almost entirely consumed. The drummer-boy, a very interesting and intelligent lad, was shot and thrown under the wagon, and when the fire reached his clothes, it must have brought returned consciousness, as he had crawled a distance of thirty yards, marking the course by bits of burning clothes and scorched grass, and was found dead with all his clothes burned off except that portion between his back and the ground, as he law on his back. A number of the bodies were brutally mutilated and indecently treated. Being satisfied that Lieutenant Pond could hold the camp against their force, I took two of the men and started out on the prairie in search of General Blunt, Major Curtis, or any other I could find, and in about an hour after, succeeded in hearing of the General's safety, and learned also that Major Curtis was supposed to be a prisoner, as his horse had been shot from under him. I learned this from a wounded soldier who had concealed himself in the grass, while the enemy had passed by him; and just then discovering a deserted horse and buggy, placed him in it with a man to take care of him, and they reached the camp in safety. The enemy were still in plain sight, and remained on the prairie till about four o'clock, when they marched south in a body. General Blunt and Major Curtis had tried to stop the flight of our troops from the start, and had several very narrow escapes in doing so, as the enemy were close upon them, and finally the General succeeded in collecting about ten men, and with these he worried the enemy, attacking them in small parties, and when pursued by too large a force, falling back until they turned, and then in turn, following them, so that at no time was he out of sight of the enemy, and most of the time close enough to worry and harass them. As they withdrew from the field, he searched for and took care of the wounded, and remained upon the ground till [599] they were all taken in and cared for, and then went into camp. The ground on which the fight took place, is a rolling prairie, extending west a long distance, covered with grass and intersected with deep ravines, gullies, on the banks of which grow willow bushes, sufficient to conceal any difficulty in crossing, but not sufficient to protect from observation; and in retreating, many of our men were overtaken at these ravines, and killed while endeavoring to cross. Major Curtis had become separated from the General, and while riding by the side of Lieutenant Pierce, his horse was shot and fell. All supposed he was taken prisoner by the enemy, being close upon them, and Lieutenant Pierce saw him alive in their hands. The next day his body was found where his horse had fallen, and he was, without doubt, killed, after having surrendered. Thus fell one of the noblest of all the patriots who have offered up their lives for the cause of their country. Major H. Z. Curtis was a son of Major-General Curtis, and served with his father during his memorable campaign through Arkansas, and was present with him at the battle of Pea Ridge, where he did good service as aid to his father. When General Curtis took command of the Department of Missouri, the Major remained with him as Assistant Adjutant-General on his staff, and when General Curtis was relieved of that command, the Major sought for and obtained an order to report to General Blunt as Assistant Adjutant-General, and in that position had done much toward regulating and systematizing the business of district headquarters of Kansas and the Frontier; and on General Blunt determining to take the field, Major Curtis accompanied him with alacrity, parting with his young and affectionate wife at Fort Scott, on the fourth of October, and met his horrible fate at Baxter's Springs, on Tuesday, sixth October. All who knew Major Curtis, acknowledged his superior abilities, and in his particular duties he had no equal. Beloved by the General and all his staff, his loss has cast a gloom over us, “whose business is to die,” unusual and heartfelt. In looking over the field, the body of Lieutenant Farr was found near to where the first attack was made, with marks of wounds by buckshots and bullets. The Lieutenant was unarmed at the time of the attack, and had been riding in a carriage, but had evidently jumped therefrom and attempted to escape on foot. Lieutenant A. W. Farr was a prominent young lawyer, from Geneva, Wisconsin, and had been a partner of General B. F. Butler, at Worcester, Mass. At the time of the breaking out of the rebellion he took a patriotic view of the difficulty, and although a strong Democrat, like General Butler, had accepted a position where he thought he could be of service to his country, and has fallen in the good cause. Well does the writer of this, remember the night before his death, while we were lying on the ground with our blankets over us, the Lieutenant said, it was not ambition nor gain, that prompted him to enter the army, but only that he might do his mite toward crushing the rebellion; that he did not seek promotion, but was willing to serve where he could do the most good. Truly, a patriot was lost when Lieutenant Farr was killed. Other dead, many of them brave and true men, were scattered and strewn over the ground for over a mile or two, most with balls through their heads, showing that they were killed after having surrendered, which the testimony of the wounded corroborates. They were told in every instance, that if they would surrender and deliver up their arms, they should be treated as prisoners of war, and upon doing so, were immediately shot down. Sergeant Jack Splane, company I, Third Wisconsin cavalry, was treated in this way, and the fiend who shot him, after taking his arms, said: “Tell old God, that the last man you saw on earth, was Quantrell.” Sergeant Splane is now alive, although he received five balls, one in his head, one through his chest, one through his bowels, and the other in his leg and arm. Private Jesse Smith was shot nearly as bad, and under the same circumstances; but he did not lose his consciousness, and says, that the rebel who shot him, and as he lay upon his face, jumped upon his back, and essayed to dance, uttering the most vile imprecations. Some unarmed citizens who were with us, were killed, and their bodies stripped of clothing. Take it all in all, there has perhaps not a more horrible affair (except the massacre at Lawrence, in Kansas) happened during the war, and brands the perpetrators as cowards and brutes. I will here also state that a woman and child were shot at the camp, but both will recover. It was done premeditatedly and not by random shots, and the brute who shot the child, was killed by a shot from the revolver of Sergeant McKenzie, company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry. I respectfully call your attention to the facts set forth in this report, in hopes that the Government will see fit to retaliate for the actions of this band of desperadoes, who are recognized and acknowledged by the confederate authorities, and whose report of this affair stated that the brutality of the beast, was exultingly published by the confederate papers, and approved by the confederate officials. Captain A. N. Campbell, Fourteenth Kansas volunteers, while a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, was in presence of this man Quantrell, and heard him say, that he never did and never would take any prisoners, and was boasting of the number of captured soldiers he had caused to be shot, stating particulars, etc. These facts should be published to the civilized world, that all may know the character of the people against whom we are contending. I would also respectfully call the attention of the General Commanding to the fact that passes in and out of the posts of Sedalia, Springfield, and Kansas City, signed by the commanders of the posts, and also permits to carry arms, were found on the bodies of a number of the rebels killed in the fight, and from them and [600] other papers there is no doubt but that a portion of Quantrell's force was made up of persons belonging to the Missouri militia. I desire to take special notice of the bravery and coolness of Lieutenant James B. Pond, company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry, commanding the camp, Sergeant R. McKenzie, of company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry, and Sergeant R. W. Smith, of said company.

The number of the killed is as follows:

Major N. Z. Curtis, Lieutenant A. W. Farr, Lieutenant Cook,3
Members of the brigade band,14
Clerks and orderlies,6
Company A, Fourteenth Kansas,18
Company I, Third Wisconsin cavalry,23
Company C, Third Wisconsin cavalry (in camp) 6

The loss of the enemy, as far as known, is between twenty and thirty.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. S. Henning, Major Third Wisconsin Cavalry. to Colonel O. D. Green, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of Missouri, St. Louis.

Lieutenant-Colonel Blair's report.

headquarters Fort Scott, Kansas, October 15, 1863.
sir: I have the honor to report to you, for the information of the Major-General Commanding, the following particulars, as far as they came to my knowledge, or under my observation, of the late disaster at Baxter's Springs.

On the fourth instant Major-General Blunt, his staff, consisting of Major B. S. Henning, Third Wisconsin cavalry, Provost-Marshal; Major H. Z. Curtis, Assistant Adjutant-General; Lieutenant J. E. Tappin, Second Colorado cavalry, A. D.C.; and Lieutenant A. W. Farr, Third Wisconsin cavalry, Judge-Advocate; his clerks and orderlies, the brigade band, and parts of two companies of cavalry, respectively under the command of Lieutenants Robert Pierce, Fourteenth Kansas, cavalry, and Josiah G. Cavart, Third Wisconsin cavalry, left this place for Fort Blunt, Cherokee Nation. About four o'clock on the morning of the seventh instant, Lieutenant Tappin returned, informing me that about one o'clock the day previous, General Blunt had been attacked, within a few hundred yards of Lieutenant Pond's camp, at Baxter's Springs, and the entire command, except the General himself and about ten men, either killed or taken prisoners, and the baggage and transportation captured and destroyed. He also informed me that the General could not be persuaded to come away, but remained with his few men, hanging near the enemy, to watch their movements, and succor any of the wounded who might be left alive, while he despatched him (the Lieutenant) to me to inform me of the circumstances. The Lieutenant further stated, that as the enemy came over the brow of the hill, just from the direction of Pond's camp, it seemed without a doubt, that his little force had been captured, and destroyed also. He was further under the impression that Majors Curtis and Henning, and Lieutenant Farr, were prisoners.

Within an hour I was en route to the General's relief, with three companies of the Twelfth Kansas infantry, two companies of the Second Kansas colored infantry, and about one hundred cavalry, under Lieutenants Josling and Clark. Twenty miles out, I met a despatch from General Blunt, that he was safe with Lieutenant Pond, who had been fortunate enough to repulse the enemy in their attack on his camp. I pushed on, however, without relaxation, and arrived at the Springs, a distance of seventy miles, in the afternoon of the second day, although it was the first heavy marching the infantry had ever attempted. On my arrival I found that the General had sent off every mounted man he could find, either as scouts or messengers, and had notified the officers in command on the line of the Arkansas River, of the disaster at the Springs, the direction in which the enemy was heading, and when he would probably cross the river.

The graves were being dug and the dead carried in for burial as I arrived. It was a fearful sight; some eighty-five bodies, nearly all shot through the head, most of them shot from five to seven times each, horribly. mangled, and charred, and blackened by fire. The wounded, who numbered six or seven, were all shot at least six times, and it is a remarkable fact that with the exception of Bennett, of the Third Wisconsin cavalry, all who were alive when they were brought in, are in a fair way of final recovery.

The circumstances of the double conflict, as well as I can gather them on the spot, are about these:

Quantrell, with a force variously estimated at from six hundred to one thousand, was passing south, on the border line of counties in Missouri, and made a detour to attack the camp at Baxter's Springs, which up to that time had been defended by one company of colored men, under Lieutenant Cook, and a fragment of company D of the Third Wisconsin cavalry only. Fortunately, however, on the day before, I had sent Lieutenant James B. Pond, with part of another company of the Third Wisconsin cavalry, and a mountain howitzer. The cavalry was, however, all absent with a forage-train; but the blacks, the dismounted men of the cavalry, the howitzer, and Lieutenant Pond were still left. The first attack of the enemy, twelve M. of the sixth instant, was so sudden and impetuous, that he was inside the rude breastworks and firing pistolshots into the tents-before our forces recovered from the surprise into which they were thrown by the onset. They rallied, however, promptly and gallantly, under the directions of the Lieutenant, and after a severe struggle, repulsed the [601] enemy, and drove him outside the fortifications. He then concentrated his forces for a more careful attack-formed in line of battle — but before the word could be given to charge, Lieutenant Pond opened upon them with the little howitzer, getting outside of his breastworks to operate it, which again threw them into confusion, and drove them over the brow of the hill. At this point, it seems, they first perceived General Blunt's little column, which had halted for the wagons and band to close up, and immediately formed in line to attack it. They formed in two lines, one on the prairie, and the other under the cover of the timber, and commenced the advance. Coming in the direction they did, the General of course, supposed it was Lieutenant Pond's cavalry, either on drill, or coming out to receive him. For safety, however, he formed his little force in line of battle, and sent the wagons, with the band, clerks, orderlies, cooks, and other noncombatants, to the rear, and then rode about fifty paces to the front, accompanied by his staff, to reconnoitre, and endeavor to ascertain to a certainty what the approaching force was. Whatever doubts he may have entertained were soon dispelled, for the front line, pouring a volley, and raising the guerrilla yell, charged forward at full speed. The General turning in his saddle to order his body-guard to advance and fire, saw with shame and humiliation, the whole of it in disgraceful flight over the prairie. There was nothing left for it then, but to follow and attempt to rally them; he accordingly turned with his staff-officers, all except Major Henning, to endeavor to overtake the fugitives. By this time the enemy were upon and all around them, and their escape with life seemed almost a miracle.

At this time too, it seems to have struck Major Henning that the enemy approached from an angle which might miss Lieutenant Pond's camp, and that consequently, he might be safe. With this thought he determined to strike for the camp, and endeavor to bring Pond's forces to the assistance of the General. Accordingly, he charged straight forward at full speed, passing through a shower of bullets, and through the enemy's line; deflecting a little to the right, he was over the brow of the hill before the enemy could recover from his astonishment at the daring feat. About half-way from the brow of the hill to the camp, he saw a party of five guerrillas, who had taken three of Lieutenant Pond's men prisoners, and were hurrying them off; as they were directly in his way, and a much larger force behind him, he was cool enough to reflect that temerity was here discretion, and instantaneously charged them. He shot two of them, killing one, and frightening the others so badly that they abandoned the prisoners and took to flight. He then approached the camp at full speed, swinging his cap around his head, to announce that he was a friend, and after narrowly escaping being shot by our men, at length arrived there in safety. He here learned of the attack on the camp, and that not a cavalry man was left, all being absent with the forage-train. The distant sounds of the battle showed already that infantry was useless; and he again turned his horse's head in the direction of the field, and solitary and alone, forced his way through the scattered bands of the enemy back to the side of his chief and his little band of supporters. History should not fail to record such deeds of gallantry and devotion.

General Blunt, in his endeavor to rally his men as fast he could catch up with them, was frequently thrown behind, and several times almost surrounded, although mounted in a superior manner. He finally rallied some fifteen men, and charging his foremost pursuers, compelled them in turn to retire. He then started Lieutenant Tappin, with four men, to me, and determined with the balance to watch the enemy. They killed our men as fast as they caught them, sparing none. The members of the band were shot as they sat in the band-wagon, and it was then set on fire. They rifled all the trunks, boxes, etc., in the different wagons, and then set them on fire, with the bodies of the teamsters in them, and all others who happened to be in them when taken. The non-combatants were slaughtered as ruthlessly as the soldiers. Lieutenant Farr was killed early in the struggle. Major Curtis came very near escaping, although his full uniform and showy horse made him a conspicuous mark; he was some distance in advance of his pursuers, when, just as his horse was gathering himself to spring over a deep ravine, he was struck on the hip with a ball, which so stung or frightened him, that he missed his leap, and falling short, threw the Major over his head. The horse gathered himself almost instantly and galloped wildly over the prairie. The Major was first taken prisoner and then brutally murdered. Thus died as gallant a soldier and as true a gentleman as ever drew a sword in defence of his country. It may well be said of him, as of Chevalier Bayard of old, “he was without fear and without reproach.”

The enemy, seeing that General Blunt persistently kept them in view, keeping away if pursied, and returning as soon as the pursuit slackened, were no doubt forced to believe that a large force was approaching, of which he was only the advance. His persistent following them up, doubtless riveted this conclusion in their minds, as they hurried through their wholesale work of slaughter, and then moved off slowly to the South. General Blunt hovered near them till near night, and then returned to the melancholy work of caring for the wounded and collecting the dead. But few were left alive, as their evident intention was to kill all. The bodies of Major Curtis and Lieutenant Farr were not found until the next day.

Lieutenant Pond is entitled to great credit for his gallant defence of his camp; and Lieutenant Pierce, who strove hard to rally the flying soldiers. But the men seemed struck by a sudden and uncontrollable panic, and I met many of them within ten miles of Fort Scott as I moved out with my force. [602]

The enemy left between twenty and thirty dead on the field; as their wounded were taken away with some ambulances and buggies they captured, it is impossible to state their number.

Disastrous as this engagement has been, it would undoubtedly have been as had, if not worse, if General Blunt and his little force had not been near. In that event, a more careful and combined attack would have been made on Pond's camp, and with the force around it, must finally have succumbed, and every person there would undoubtedly have been put to death.

The names and number (accurately) of our killed and wounded will be forwarded in a subsequent report.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Chas W. Blair, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding. Colonel O. D. Green, Assistant Adjutant-General, Department Missouri, St. Louis.

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