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[136] beaten. The Tyler has been to-day a valuable auxiliary. I remain, General,

Your obedient servant,

B. M. Prentiss, Major-General.

Colonel Benton's official report.

I send you herewith, for publication a copy of my official report of the part taken by the Twenty-ninth Iowa infantry, in their engagement of the fourth instant, at this place. I would also request that all the papers in our portion of the State, copy for the information of our friends.

I feel proud of the conduct of the Twenty-ninth. They came up to the work promptly and coolly, and stuck to it with unyielding fidelity. The enemy came upon us with a rush and a shout, followed by repeated volleys of small arms and occasionally a little grape, by which several of our men were killed and wounded. It was a critical moment. Had they faltered, serious disaster was inevitable. They stood firm and gave the enemy more than they bargained for, and soon had a portion of his dead and wounded within our lines. The sight of the wounded and dying seemed to inspire them with fresh courage. I advanced several times to the brow of the hills, where I could get a better view of the contending forces. I found our boys in various attitudes-standing, kneeling, half bent, and flat on the ground-loading and firing, and occasionally advancing as deliberately and systematically as a mountaineer after an antelope. Our fire was well aimed. The obstructions behind which the enemy were concealed, after they fell back, were thoroughly peppered with our Enfield balls. By making a sudden dash, we could have taken one of their guns, but prudence dictated that we should not risk an ambuscade for the sake of getting possession of a gun which was no longer doing us any harm.

The respective companies were disposed of as follows: Deployed as skirmishers, A, B, C, E, F, G, H, and K. Held as a reserve, D and I. The following officers were in the engagement: Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson, Major Shoemaker, and Adjutant Lyman; Captain Gardner and Second Lieutenant Kirkpatrick, of company A; Captain Andrews and Second Lieutenant Sheldon, of company B; Captain Bacon, First Lieutenant Hedge, and Second Lieutenant Stocker, of company C; First Lieutenant Stewart and Second Lieutenant Munn, of company D; First Lieutenant Mitchell and Second Lieutenant Ellifritz, of company E; First Lieutenant Turner, of company F; First Lieutenant Johnston and Second Lieutenant McFarland, of company G; Captain Myers and Second Lieutenant Elliott, of company H; First Lieutenant Lenon and Second Lieutenant Muxley, of company I; and First Lieutenant Dale and Second Lieutenant Chantry, of company K. Were I to attempt a eulogy on their conduct, I could not say more than that embraced in the truthful assertion, they did their whole duty. Captains Bower, of company E, and Davis, of company D, were absent on sick leave. Captains Huggins, of company G, and Nash, of company F, were sick and unable to leave their quarters. Time has shown that my selection of Adjutant was a happy one. In the office or in the field he is every inch a soldier, recognizing no deviation from the stern laws that govern a military organization.

Assistant-Surgeons Nicholson and Eakin were on the field, and were active and vigilant in their attentions to the wounded.

A section of the Third Iowa battery (from Dubuque) commanded by Lieutenant Wright, was posted on our right, and did good service, and rendered the position of the enemy very uncomfortable.

I would like to give you the details of the general engagement, but have not time, and you will doubtless see them elsewhere. Suffice it to say that the battle was hotly contested on both sides. The rebels fought well, and yielded only to the superior force of our arms. Our entire effective force, according to the official reports of the day previous, was three thousand eight hundred. That of the enemy, according to their own statement, was between fifteen and twenty thousand, which corroborates the estimates made from our own observation. Our entire loss in killed, wounded, and missing is less than two hundred and fifty. That of the enemy not less than two thousand five hundred. In estimating their loss we have the facts to govern us. We took over one thousand prisoners during the action and a good many stragglers since. We buried some two hundred and seventy-five of their dead on the field, and found the graves of over one hundred buried by themselves. We have had possession of about four hundred of their wounded, some of whom were left at farm-houses a few miles west of the town on their retreat. From the nature of the wounds our surgeons assure us that their dead will not fall short of six hundred. It is fair to presume that they had the usual proportion of slightly wounded, who were taken with them. The rebels were under the leadership of Holmes, Price, and Marmaduke, the former in command. Our forces were commanded by Brigadier-General F. Salomon, brother of Governor Salomon, of Wisconsin.

The limited number of our killed and wounded in a contest against such fearful odds, seems almost incredible. The secret is, that we were not surprised. For the last six weeks we had been vigilant day and night, patrolling the country with scouts, constructing fortifications and digging intrenchments. The hills in the vicinity of our batteries were literally covered with rifle-pits, and the principal roads blockaded with fallen timber. General Salomon deserves great credit for these precautionary steps. The enemy had doubtless ascertained with considerable accuracy our numerical strength, but he was badly deceived as to the extent of our preparations-one of the most important items in modern warfare. They doubtless expected to find us engrossed with a Fourth

1 Council Bluffs (Iowa) Nonpareil, August 1, 1863.

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