Today in History:

10 Series I Volume IV- Serial 4 - Operations in the South and West

Page 10(Official Records Volume 4)


Company I, 35 men, mounted. On the night of the 23rd reached Point of Rocks, 80 miles, without water. On the morning of the 26th met Captain Lane, Mounted Rifles, form Fort Fillmore, with a train of fifteen wagons, commissary stores, who asked me to stay by him that day, as [he was] afraid of being attacked by the Confederate forces. He advised me not to go to Fort Fillmore, as I was certain to be cut off by their troops. Staid by him all that day. Started at sunset, and turned off the road to the left to avoid the rebels. Made for San Augustine Springs, 45 miles, without water, intending to come in behind Fort Fillmore, and thus avoid the enemy and carry out my instruction.

At noon on the 27th, when within 5 miles of the Springs, met major Lynde's command, which had abandoned Fort Fillmore the night before. Rode forward and reported to Major Lynde's adjutant, Lieutenant Brooks, who told me that Major Lynde was encamped 5 miles in advance, at the Springs. Rode forward with the adjutant, and sent on an express that a party of the enemy were approaching from the rear. Came up to Major Lynde a quarter of a mile this side of the Springs with Lieutenant Cressey, returning to the rear with 40 men of the Mounted Rifles. Reported to Major Lynde and asked for orders. He told me that there were two companies of the Seventh Infantry in rear guard, and that they, with the Rifles, would protect the rear. Filled my canteen at the Springs; rejoined Major Lynde about 2 miles from it, returning to the front without his escort, which had gone to the rear. He told me to protect the rear with the infantry rear guard and the mounted force as joined the mounted force, then consisting of 70 men, and formed at the foot of the hill in front of the enemy. I found that the infantry rear guard was completely broken down by their long march and want of water; that I had nothing but the mounted force to rely upon. Four of Major Lynde's baggage wagons, filled with stores, and women and children, completely blocked up the road.

I requested Lieutenant Brooks to try to get a couple of the 12-pounder mountain howitzers that were fastened behind these wagons, and gave him men from my command for that purpose. It was found that the ammunition for these pieces was not in the wagons to which the pieces were fastened, and the effort failed. Finding that my force of 70 men, armed with rifles and pistols only, was opposed to the enemy's force of 300 men, similarly armed, with the addition of sabers, [which] was rapidly approaching, and the ground was favorable only for a single charge, approach and their strength. In order to gain time, I kept deploying into line, and by rapid formations gaining ground by our superior drill, to allow the main force in camp in front to form before I reached them. I then rode rapidly tot he front, and reported to Major Lynde with my command that the enemy were about 2 miles in the rear and rapidly advancing. I asked him where I should take up my position. He told me that I might water my command and horses. Time, 20 hours without water. The Springs being made, while I was doing so Major Lynde sent me an order not to move. While watering, Major Lynde sent me word that I could leave for Fort Stanton if I chose. Before I could mount I received another order not to move from camp. I went towards him, distance about 100 yards, and saw him in conversation with two mounted officers, whom I did not know. The enemy at that time were in line of battle about a quarter of a mile to the rear. I heard Major Lynde say, "I agree to these terms," and I called to some of the officers to come up. When we came up, all the officers being present, I think, Major