Make your own free website on Tripod.com

10. Armstrong’s unit reached the crest of the mound overlooking the tempest of hand-to-hand fighting. So tightly knotted where the combatants that Captain Armstrong had no choice but to order his men to fire upon friend and foe alike. Under the fire of Armstrong’s men, the rebels had finally had enough of theirs and retired from the field. Captain Seaman ordered Captain Armstrong, Lieutenant Minor, and Lieutenant Dickerson back to "Fort Africa" with their men when more horsemen were observed on the mounds to the southeast, but no further attacks materialized.

Captain Thrasher’s company turned to the grim task of gathering the dead and wounded. During the recovery effort, Thrasher’s men skirmished sporadically with rebels that remained in the vicinity of the mound. The rebels also set fire to the prairie at this time, using the cover of the smoke to rush Thrasher’s litter-bearers. Nevertheless, all of the dead and wounded were eventually recovered from the battlefield. Among the "walking wounded" returning to camp was Manuel Dobson, a 14-year-old African-American recruit from Leavenworth, Kansas, who had been shot in both arms during the fight.

Of the 25 men in Gardner’s detachment, (22 enlisted men and 3 officers) 19 had been wounded or killed in the battle. The collection of casualties was a task made all the more gruesome by the fact that several of the bodies had been severely burned by the prairie fire. Thrasher’s men also found that some of the dead were naked, having been stripped of their clothing and equipment by the rebels.

At "Fort Africa" the wounded were tended to, and seven graves were dug just to the north of the Toothman house for the fallen enlisted men. The body of Captain Crew was prepared for transport to his residence in Leavenworth, Kansas. Accompanying Crew’s body was his recovered watch, which was given to his grieving wife.

The day after the battle, reinforcements arrived from Kansas including another 150 or so African-American troops from Fort Lincoln, along with a unit of Ohio cavalry, and a section of artillery. The bolstered command patrolled the area for two more days. However the rebels had vacated Hog Island, and had moved off towards the community of Pleasant Gap in eastern Bates County. On the first day of November, the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteers marched out of their makeshift fort they had named "Africa" and returned to Fort Lincoln, Kansas.