ONE HUNDRED YEARS WITH THE SECOND CAVALRY
By Joseph I. Lambert, Major, Second Cavalry
Copyright 1939 Commanding Officer, Second Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas
Capper Printing Company, Inc.
Again on July 19, 1836, Company D, under Captain James A. Ashby, who had just joined the day before, took an important part in the fight at Welika Pond near Fort Defiance. With twenty-six men from his company and a detachment of artillery, Captain Ashby was escorting a train from Fort Drane to Fort Defiance when attacked by Indians just outside the latter place. In the first part of the fight Captain Ashby was severely wounded but refused to leave his post until the battle was won. After arrival of reinforcements from the fort, the Seminoles were driven from the vicinity and the train proceeded to the post. For this gallant conduct here Captain Ashby was breveted to major.
Fort Defiance, Micanopy, July 19, 1836.
SIR: In obedience to your instructions to evacuate the post at Fort Drane if the commanding officer, in exercising a sound discretion, should deem it necessary, I have the honor to report that the commanding officer, Captain Merchant, of the Second Regiment of Artillery, in consequence of the large and increasing sick report, determined to remove the troops to this place. The movement commenced this day at eight o’clock, consisting of twenty-two wagons loaded with commissary and quartermaster’s stores, with an escort of a detachment of twenty-six dragoons of the Second Regiment, under Captain Ashby, and thirty-six men detailed from the different artillery companies at the post; also a five-and-a-half-inch howitzer, under the charge of Lieutenant Whitby, Second Artillery, making a force of sixty-two men. On our arrival at the Welika Pond, within one mile of this place, the discharge of several rifles apprised us of the presence of the enemy. Captain Ashby immediately went with his dragoons in that direction from which the firing was delivered and scoured the neighboring hummocks, without finding the enemy. It is proper to state here that in the first fire Private Holmes (since dead) of the Dragoons was dangerously wounded in the abdomen. Proceeding on our route, opposite a long hummock, within a quarter of a mile of Micanopy, we were attacked by a body of Indians estimated, from what we saw of them and from their firing, to be about two hundred and fifty strong. The firing commenced near the front and on the right of the train, and was continued through its whole length, a quarter of a mile. The men returned the fire with spirit and promptness. During the engagement Captain Ashby (who, I regret to say, was soon after the commencement of it severely wounded, but refused to leave the field until loss of blood compelled him) finding the enemy in great strength and pressing on us, despatched a dragoon to this place for a reinforcement.
On his way he met two detachments under Lieutenants Temple and Talcott, thirty-one strong, on their march to assist us. They arrived at an important moment and did us a good service. Lieutenant Temple reached us, having scoured on his approach a point of hummock from which the enemy had very much annoyed us.
As soon as Lieutenant Temple and his command had taken their position in the line, Captain Ashby ordered a charge in the hummock, which was instantly executed, and the Indians driven beyond reach of our fire. During this time Lieutenant Talcott was actively employed in removing the wagons in their direction to this place.
Of the good conduct and courage of the troops, it is sufficient to say that every man did his duty. My gallant commander, Captain Ashby, distinguished himself by his courage and activity, and did not leave the field, even after having received a severe wound, until feebleness from loss of blood made it absolutely necessary.
I regret to say that Assistant-Surgeon Weightman received a severe wound in his left thigh.
Sergeants Smith and Johnson, Company D, Second Dragoons; Smith, Company F, First Artillery; Hall, Company I, Third Artillery; and Boyden, Company H, Third Artillery, all distinguished themselves by their courage and good conduct in discharging the duties that devolved upon them.
Report of the killed and wounded at the battle of We-li-ka, East Florida, 19th of July, 1836:
Dangerously wounded, 5 (two since dead).
Severely wounded, 5.
Slightly wounded, 1.
We had three horses killed in the field, and several severely wounded.
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
M. S. MAITLAND,
First Lieutenant Commanding
General Roger Jones,
Adjutant-General, U. S. A.