Orders were at once given to dismount (leaving enough to hold the horses) and charge upon the Indians. They had scarcely time to form into line when they were met by the yelling Indians and a heavy volley from their guns.
Dodge and Ewing ordered a charge, and as they moved forward, returned the fire at close quarters, with deadly effect. The Indians then commenced a flank movement, and by securing a position in the high grass where they could in a measure conceal themselves, fought bravely, until Dodge and Ewing gave orders to charge upon them at the point of the bayonet. In this engagement Col. Jones had his horse shot from under him, and one man killed–but at the word _”charge,”_ he went forward with his brave men, and all performed their duty nobly and fearlessly, and soon dislodged the Indians from their hiding place and forced them into a hasty retreat. It being then too late to pursue them, orders were given to camp on the battle-ground.
In this engagement Neapope had command, who was not only brave and fearless, but well skilled in strategy. Having become well acquainted with him after the war, he told the writer that he knew Gen. Dodge personally, and had met him on the field of battle, and considered him one of the bravest men he had ever met, although in this engagement all the officers showed great skill and bravery, and thus encouraged their men to acts of noble daring to a degree that he had never before witnessed in common–not regular–soldiers. He said in this engagement, the command had been entrusted to him of this small force–about two hundred–Indians, in order to give Black Hawk and the remainder of his party, time to cross the river. He reported his loss at twenty-eight (28) killed.
The newt morning a portion of the army was ordered forward to pursue the fleeing enemy, but on reaching the river, found that they had taken to the swamps, when it was deemed prudent to return to camp without attempting to follow them.
Here the army rested for one day, and made comfortable provisions to carry the wounded, after having consigned the remains of John Short, who had been killed the day before, to mother Earth, with the honors of war.
In the meantime, Gen. Atkinson arrived with his regulars and the brigades of Generals Posey and Alexander; and on the 28th of July, took up the line of march with Gen. Atkinson at the head. Their route led through a mountainous country for several days, as the Indiana seemed to have selected the most difficult route they could find in order to gain time, and reach the river in advance, and then secure the best possible positions to defend themselves.
Having learned from an old Indian that had been left behind, that the enemy was only a short distance ahead, Gen. Atkinson, on breaking camp at an early hour in the morning, gave orders for the march towards the river, with Gen. Dodge’s squadron in front; Infantry next; Second brigade, under command of Gen. Alexander, next; Gen. Posey’s brigade next, and Gen. Henry’s in the rear.
After marching a few miles Gen. Dodge’s scouts discovered the rear guard of the enemy, when an express was sent immediately to Gen. Atkinson, who ordered troops to proceed at double quick. In the meantime Gen. Dodge’s command pushed forward and opened a heavy fire, from which many Indians were shot down while retreating toward the Mississippi, where their main body was stationed. Dodge’s squadron being in the lead, were first to open upon the main army of the Indians, whilst Gen. Henry’s brigade, that had been placed in the rear in the morning, came first to his aid. The battle waged furiously for more than two hours, and until the last visible Indian warrior was killed. The Indians had commenced crossing before the battle opened, and a number took to their canoes and made good their escape as the battle progressed. The number killed was estimated at something over one hundred, but the Indians afterward reported their loss at seventy-eight killed and forty-two wounded. Our loss was seventeen killed and about the same number wounded.
During the engagement several squaws were killed accidentally and a number wounded, including children, who were taken prisoners. Among the latter, Dr. Philleo reported a boy with one arm badly broken, who exhibited a greater degree of stoicism during the operation of amputation, than he had ever before witnessed. Being very hungry, they gave him a piece of bread to eat, which he ravenously masticated during the entire operation, apparently manifesting no pain whatever from the work of the surgeon.
Many of the Indians who got across the river in safety were afterwards killed by the Menomonee.