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4. Meanwhile, Gardner took his detachment, joined by the balance of the scouting party, and pursued the rebels south, off of the mounds, towards the bottomland of the Marais des Cygnes. Pierson and some members of the scouting party did not continue south with Gardner, but took up a position on the western mound instead. (Perhaps Pierson intended to establish visual contact with camp while maintaining sight of Gardner’s movements.)

As Captain Ward’s detachment (comprised of Lieutenant Hinton and the units of Lieutenants Dickerson and Minor) reached the northern edge of the mounds, rebels were spotted amongst the mounds to the south. Ward could also see Pierson and his men on the western mound from his vantage point, and sent Lt. Hinton there to ascertain the situation. Lt. Hinton soon returned to Captain Ward’s position with information that Gardner and his detachment were down on the river bottom some 800 yards south of the mounds. Realizing the precariousness of Gardner’s position so far from the main body of the expedition, Ward immediately dispatched a messenger back to "Fort Africa" to inform Captain Seaman of the situation, and to request that the remainder of the command be readied and moved forward.