Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/319
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t<> ii-,. In this engagement our forces charged the enemy, com- pelled him to abandon his cover, and pursuing him, drove him across an open prairie beyond the rising ground, completely out < >! sii;ht. The enemy having been driven several miles since daylight, and our men needing rrst. it was not deemed prudent to advance further. Therefore, relinquishing pursuit, we returned to a hill about a mile from Palmetto Ranch, where the 34th Indiana had already taken its position.
". \ln nit 4 P. M. the rebels, now largely reinforced, again reap- peared in our front, opening fire upon us with both artillery and small arms. At the same time a heavy body of cavalry and a sec- tion of a battery, under cover of the thick chaparral on our right, had already succeeded in flanking us, with the evident intention of gaining our rear. With the Rio Grande on our left, a superior force of the enemy in front and his flanking force on our right our situation at this time was extremely critical. Having no artillery to oppose the enemy's six 1 2-pound pieces our position became unten- able. We therefore fell back, fighting. This movement, always difficult, was doubly so at this time, having to be performed under a heavy fire from both front and flank.
"Forty-eight men of the 34th Indiana Veteran Volunteer Infan- try, under Captain (A. M.) Templer, put out as skirmishers to cover their regiment, were, while stubbornly resisting the enemy, cut off and captured by the enemy's cavalry. The 62d United States Col- ored Infantry being ordered to cover our forces while falling back, over half of that regiment were deployed as skirmishers, the remain- der acting as their support. This skirmish line was nearly three- fourths of a mile in length, and, reaching from the river bank, was so extended as to protect both our front and right flank. Every attempt of the enemy's cavalry to break this line was repulsed with loss to him, and the entire regiment fell back with precision and in perfect order, under circumstances that would have tested the disci- pline of the best troops. Seizing upon every advantageous position, the enemy's fire was returned deliberately and with effect. The fighting continued three hours. The last volley of the war, it is believed, was fired by the 62d United States Colored Infantry about sunset of the I3th of May, 1865, between White's ranch and the Boca Chica, Texas. Our entire loss in killed, wounded and cap- tured was four officers and in men."
The colonel says above that the Confederates were " repulsed with