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Report of Brigadier General Jame Blunt (USA)
In Response To: Action Near Old Fort Wayne, Cherokee Nation ()

For those wanting more information on the happenings leading up to and including the “Action Near Old Fort Wayne” below is the report of Brigadier General Jame G. Blunt, (USA) taken from the “The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies” printed in 1885:

Reports of Brigadier General James G. Blunt, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, Army of the Frontier.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
FORT WAYNE, NEAR MAYSVILLE, ARK.,

October 22, 1862-2 p. m.

After a severe night march of 30 miles I attacked the rebel forces of Cooper and Stand Watie this morning at 7 o'clock. Their force estimated at from 4,000 to 7,000. The attack was made by my advance, consisting of the Second Kansas Volunteers and two mountain howitzers, and after a spirited engagement of less than an hour resulted in the complete and total rout of the enemy, with the loss of all their artillery, one battery 6-pounder brass pieces, a large number of horses, and a portion of their transportation and camp and garrison equipage. They are now fleeing in disorder int he direction of Fort Smith. All my available cavalry and four mountain howitzers are in hot pursuit.

My loss, as far as known, is 4 killed and about 15 wounded. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded is much greater. I have 30 prisoners.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. G. BLUNT,
Brigadier-General, Commanding.

General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Army of the Frontier.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
OLD FORT WAYNE, NEAR MAYSVILLE, ARK.,

October 28, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in pursuance of your instructions of the 20th instant, I left camp at Pea Ridge about 7 p. m. of that day with the Second and Third Brigades of my command, consisting of the Second, Sixth, Tenth, and 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 (General Salomon) to protect my rear and flank and my supply train.

Meeting the command of General Herron about midnight, which caused considerable delay, I did not reach Bentonville until near daylight of the 21st. At this latter place I halted until 5 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 Stand Watie were at or near Maysville with a force variously estimated at from 5,000 to 7,000 men, I determined, if possible, to reachtheir camp and attack them at daybreak. The distance to march was 30 miles, and the road through a rough, 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, Colonel Cloud's brigade being in the advance.

At about 2 o'clock in the morning the advance was halted by Colonel 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 road-side and were soon fast asleep. Being in the rear of Colonel 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 be moved on going myself with the advance guard. After proceeding on 5 miles farther an open prairie lay before us of some 5 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 Captain Russell, of the Second Kansas Regiment, and 2 men, for the purpose of getting information. In this we succeeded admirably. Stopping at a large, fine house at the edge of the prairie, and disguised as a rebel 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 7,000 men, two Texas 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 of, if possible, capturing them without alarming the 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 the male inhabitants speedily decamped, to seek rebel protection.

It was now near 5 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 tow or three hours' march the only troops with me had been three companies of the Second Kansas, two of which had already been sent ahead under Captain Hopkins. The main column was back 7 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 Captain Hopkins. There I learned that intelligence of our approach had gone ahead of us, and, fearing that the enemy would retreat, I sent Colonel Cloud (who had come 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 re-enforcements 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 services as a guide. The route from Maysville to the timber, where the rebels were posted, lay across the prairie, in a southwesterly direction, about 3 1/2 miles distant. Dashing on rapidly, we drove their 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 into line, and, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Bassett, was ordered to skirmish the woods on foot to ascertain the position of the enemy. At this point 5 of my body guard captured 10 armed rebels, who had been out of camp and were endeavoring to get to their command.

Lieutenant-Colonel Bassett, not being able to ascertain the where-abuts of the rebel forces, was ordered to withdraw his men from the woods and remount 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 (reconnoitering their position and movements) and their line was a pasture of open ground, some 200 yards across, and to fences intervening. Believing that the enemy were contemplating a retreat, I determined to lose no time in trying the effect of a few shells upon their ranks from the two little mountain howitzers. The Second Kansas was accordingly moved forward in line to the first fence, and the two howitzers, under the command of Lieutenant E. S. Stover, supported by Company A, of the Second Kansas, under Lieutenant Johnston, were ordered to advance through the fence to within 200 yards of the enemy's battery, from which position Lieutenant Stover opened upon them with shell and with much animation. The fire was returned by the enemy's guns, and in a few minutes their entire line engaged the small force I had opposing them. I then dismounted the entire regiment (the Second Kansas), formed them on foot, and ordered them to advance through the fence to within short range 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 having not 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 Sixth Kansas, Colonel Judson, and the Third Cherokee Regiment, Colonel 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, driving back the flanking columns of the enemy. At the same moment Company B, Captain Hopkins; Company D, Lieutenant Moore; Company E, Captain Gardner; Company H, Lieutenant Ballard, and Company K, Captain Russell, of the Second Kansas, all under the command of Captain S. J. Crawford, made a gallant charge, driving in their center, capturing their artillery, and bringing it in triumph from the field. The battle was now won, and the enemy began fleeing in disorder before our victorious troops. The Second Indiana Battery, Lieutenant Rabb, came up in time to pay its respects to the rear of the fleeing rebels with excellent effect. Colonel Judson, of the Sixth Kansas, and Colonel Phillips, of the Third Cherokee Regiment, pursued them in their retreat for a distance of 7 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 farther pursuit. The rebels, I have since learned, did not halt in their retreat until they had reached the Arkansas River at Fort Gibson, 70 miles from the battle ground, where they arrived within thirty hours after their rout of Old Fort Wayne.

The casualties in my command were 1 killed upon the battle-field (belonging to the Second Kansas) and 9 wounded - 4 mortally, since dead - 3 belonging to the Second Kansas and 10 to the Sixth Kansas. Of the enemy's killed and wounded I have been unable to procure a full and accurate statement. About 50 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 of those who were found in houses some 10 miles from the battle-field report their loss in killed and wounded at 150, and of the men working their battery (who were Texans) all except 4 were either killed or wounded.

The battery captured consists of three 6-pounder brass guns and one 12-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 day-break, and had it not been for the unfortunate occurrence of the night, viz, 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 Lieutenant-Colonel Bassett, which took so prominent a part in the affair of the morning. Truly have they added new luster to their laurels won at Wilson's Creek. With less than 600 men they engaged a force more than ten times their own number, and with guns without bayonets charged the enemy's line, firing as they went and driving them from their artillery and 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 that 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 Captains Ayers, Russell, Hopkins, and Gardner, and Lieutenants Moore, Cosgrove, Ballard, Lee, and Johnston, and Sergeant Barker, all of whom commanded companies, are worthy of especial and honorable mention. Lieutenant Stover proved himself not only a gallant officer, but a good artillerist, abundantly shown by the effects produced by his little howitzers. Lieutenant-Colonel 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 a want of opportunity. If such opportunity occurs they will prove themselves as equal to the emergency as the gallant Second has done.
In closing this 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, viz: Major V. P. Van Antwerp, inspector-general; Captain Lyman Scott and Lieuts. J. Fin. Hill and M. J. Collier, aides-de-camp.

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

JAS. G. BLUNT,
Brigadier General, Commanding First Division, Army of the Frontier.