Captain Richard Hinton was with the Union soldiers as they approached from the north. As the "timber of Mine Creek" came into view, Hinton wrote,
the enemy were discovered in great force formed in line of battle upon the north side of the stream....From our front to the rebel lines, the ground formed a gentle descent. On the right, and a little to our front, was a farm house and fences. To our extreme left and front was a slight swale, the timber and the creek, then a rising corn field with a log cabin at the top.
In this vicinity Colonel John F. Philips prepared his brigade of Missouri State Militia for the attack. To the left was Colonel Benteen, commanding a brigade of Iowa, Missouri, and Indiana cavalry regiments. The Union forces were made up of about two thousand five hundred well-armed soldiers. Having won a victory a couple of days before at the Battle of Westport, there men were battle-hardened and confident.
At about 11 o'clock in the morning the mounted Union forces closed on the rebel line and hit them with a "furious charge." With sabers drawn, Philips' troops were the first to slam into the Confederate left flank. Philips wrote, "the fighting became general and terrific. The impetuosity of the onset surprised and confounded the enemy. He trembled and wavered and the wild shouts of our soldiers rising above the din of battle told that he gave way."
The initial charge of Benteen's Tenth Missouri on Marmaduke's position stalled. However, Major A. R. Pierce and the Fourth Iowa "struck the enemy's line like a thunderbolt." The Fourth Iowa pierced the Confederate line then turned back and rolled up the rebel defensive position.
"Being mostly a prairie country the troops of both armies were in full view," reported Major General Samuel R. Curtis.
and the rapid onward movement of the whole force presented the most extensive, beautiful, and animated view of hostile armies I have ever witnessed. Spread over vast prairies, some moving at full speed in column, some in double lines, and others as skirmishers, groups striving in utmost efforts, and shifting as occasion required, while the great clouds of living masses moved steadily southward, presented a picture of prairie scenery such as neither man nor pencil can delineate.
The battle that occurred when these two mounted armies collided was brief, lasting only thirty minutes, but bloody. Colonel Charles W. Blair, Fourteenth Kansas Cavalry, described the engagement as "A rush, a scramble, and all was over." Colonel Philips wrote, "The scene of death was as terrible as the victory was speedy and glorious." The colonel's Union soldiers lost only eight dead and less than one hundred wounded. The routed Confederates suffered terribly: well over one thousand soldiers were dead, wounded, or captured. At least three hundred killed or badly wounded horses littered the battlefield.