May 20, 1863
At a little distance off I came to the bodies of two dead Indians, lying not far apart-one a Union Indian, the other a rebel. The signs around these two were, to me, rather mysterious, as to the manner of their deaths, but was explained by one of the Cherokees of the ambulance party, who recognized the features of both dead men, and called their names, which I have forgotten. Both had been shot several times, and one-the rebel-had been partially burned-part of his clothing was still afire, his powder horn had exploded and blown a hole in his side. These dead men, of course, had all had horses, before the attack, which had been driven off by the rebels as they retreated. The Cherokee acquaintance of the two dead men gave this explanation of the affair: These two Cherokees were bitter enemies of old, the one a rebel, the other Corporal of our picket guard, and seem to have chanced to meet here. Judging by the signs, the Corporal has jumped on his horse and started to run when the pickets were attacked: the rebel, singling him out rode after, overtook him, and while riding alongside they had shot each other till both fell off their horses about the same time; or else the reb fell first and our Corporal rode back-finding himself mortally wounded, to finish his enemy before he died. The Corporal has stripped his won shirt off, and wrapping it about the rebs powder horn against his side, set fire to it and then got away a little piece, where he lay watching his enemy blown to death: after which the Corporal has died where he lay or been finished by some of the other rebels; but, no doubt, gobbling his defiance to them with his last breath, Brave man, and died like a true Cherokee, added the narrator.
This man, quite an intelligent half-breed, seemed to think that the Corporal must have died happy, after finishing his old enemy in this gallant Indian style.
Robert M. Peck
I wonder if the "rebel" was George West, an uncle of mine, who was killed in this engagement. If I remember right, only two Confederates will killed in this engagement, Bean and George West.