FIGHT ON THE LITTLE BLUE!
Major Smith, of the 2d Colorado Killed!
Our Forces Fall Back to Big Blue!
Independence has been Abandoned!
Yesterday was a "field day" with the Army of the Border. Col. Moonlight was holding the line of the Little Blue with his regiment, the Kansas 11th. Early in the day the enemy appeared in force, and succeeded in crossing the Little Blue.
Col. Ford, with his brigade, was immediately ordered up from Independence. His brigade consisted of ten companies of the Second Colorado, the 1st Colorado Battery, part of the 16th Kansas cavalry, and a regiment or two of the Kansas Militia.
The command went down from Independence on the double-quick and struck immediately for the front, C. B., 2d Colorado, in advance. Deploying into the line of battle as they came on the field, the were hotly engaged in less than five minutes. The troops engaged in the fight were Col. Ford's brigade, as above stated, the Kansas 11th, under Col. Moonlight, and the Kansas 15th, under Col. Jennison, and McLane's Colorado Battery.
Generals Curtis and Blunt were on the field in person. Our forces being outnumbered, were forced to fall back, stubbornly contesting every inch of ground, holding the enemy in check at ever favorable position, and fighting in perfect order and discipline. The fight continued all day -- our forces falling back at night behind the Big Blue.
The enemy fought well, it is said, and seemed well disciplined, fighting by the call of the bugle. The fighting on both sides was done by cavalry and artillery, the cavalry dismounting and fighting on foot, most of the time.
The 2d Colorado behaved with the conspicuous gallantry which has always marked the history of that splendid regiment. The "boys" are enthusiastic in praise of Col. Ford, who was under fire all day and acted with the most admirable coolness and bravery. He had several narrow escapes, at one time a s hell bursting in the limbs of an apple tree beneath which he and his staff were standing.
The noble Major Smith, than whom a braver soldier never gave his life for a good cause, was killed early in the engagement. He had just received orders from Col. Ford and rode off waving his hat and cheering his men on, when a musket ball struck him near the left nipple, the ball passing thorough his body. He lived a few moments, long enough to give some directions to a brother officer concerning his private affairs. They boys were nothing daunted by the loss of this brave officer, but seemed possessed by a zeal to avenge his death.
The loss in this regiment will amount to about 100 killed , wounded or missing -- probably not more than 15 or 20 killed. Among the wounded are Lieutenant Spencer, of Company G, wounded in the foot, Sergt. Taylor, Co. K, lost a leg; Sergeant Kenton, of Co. B, wounded; Frank Gould, Orderly Sergeant, time expired by volunteer aid, shoulder torn off by a shell, will probably die. The conduct of Sergeant Gould was heroic in extreme. Though so terribly wounded, he hurrahed for the gallant Colorado as he was born from the field, waving the arm that was left. Sergeant Errest, of Co. D., severely wounded; Corporal Bradford, of Co. C, mortally wounded.
Among the killed of this regiment, we learned the names of Bob Bates, of Co. F, Charles Sherman, of Company C, Cummings and M Bryan, of Co. L, and Duffer of Co. B.
The 15th Kansas, is said to have behaved splendidly. This regiment and the 2d Colorado would alternately fall behind each other, load their pieces, pass to the front and fire. Col. Jennison, to use the language of the boys in the fight, was a "perfect brick" and distinguished himself all day. Lieut. Col. Hoyt behaved like the dashing soldier he is. He made a charge which is spoken of in the most enthusiastic terms.
Col. Moonlight, of the 11th Kansas, won universal admiration by his coolness and skill. The boys of the 2d Colorado are loud in his praise.
McLane's battery did splendid execution. It was the first time the boys had a chance to use their new rifle pieces in action, and they were delighted with them. Captain McLane was reported wounded, but escaped unharmed.
The Kansas 16th regiment is reported to have behaved bravely and to have done good execution. Under the lead of such brave and experienced officers as Lieut. Col. Walker, Major Ketner and others, they could hardly do otherwise. Captain John Wright is said to have distinguished himself.
In this engagement our gallant boys held the whole Rebel force in check all day, fighting them over a distance of seven miles. If the enemy attempts to cross the Big Blue, there wil be a tremendous fight. A courier in from the front this morning says our pickets had been driven in and skirmishes had commenced before he left. Rumor says Rosecrans drove the Rebels out of Lexington yesterday, capturing their transportation and many prisoners. The same authority puts Brown at Hickman's Mills.
We have not been able at this writing to learn the casualties of the Kansas Regiments. Jerry Glahart and Sam Fry, of Lawrence, are reported to have been captured by the enemy. Some prisoners were captured by our side -- how many we cannot learn.
News form the front is that the enemy are moving south from the Blue, towards Hickman's Mills. Whether this is a bonafide retreat to escape from Rosecrans' forces, which are supposed to be closing in on the rear, or is an attempt to flank our forces, is unknown. A few hours will probably demonstrate.
JUST IN. -- A gentleman just form the front reports no fighting, so far, to-day. Some light artillery firing was heard just as he left, on our right, toward Hinkle's Ford. It is believed the enemy is either retreating or attempting to flank us by way of Hickman's Mills. A courier is reported to have just arrived stating that Jennison is hard pushed at Hickman's Mills.
BURIAL. -- Major Smith was buried this afternoon at 4 o'clock. Peace to the ashes of the fallen hero.
ROSECRANS' FORCES. -- Must by this time be close upon Price's rear. Indeed, the pressure of his men on the enemy from the east, is the most reasonable solution of the bold push they have been making toward the rest.
HOLD THE TOWN. -- There should be no disposition to yield the town, save in the last extremity. A couple of thousand resolute men behind these fortifications can hold Price's whole army at bay, at least until Rosecrans can come up.