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[137] of July celebration, and totally unprepared for their approach; but for once they were caught in a trap, and did not realize their mistake until the deadly volleys from our rifle-pits began to mow them down. Our little army was drawn up in line of battle at daylight in the respective camps, an hour before the enemy attacked our pickets, awaiting orders from the General Commanding, and in a few minutes after the signal gun was fired, each detachment was in the position assigned it, and a general fire was opened upon the invading foe. Our pickets behaved gallantly. They fell back steadily, loading and firing until they reached our intrenchments. The gunboat Tyler, the lucky boat of the war, was at anchor in front of the town and joined in the action.

The battle, though overshadowed by the brilliant achievements at Vicksburgh, is nevertheless an important one. I think it has given a final quietus to “Price's army,” about which we have heard so much during the war. It is to be regretted that our force was too limited to admit of pursuit. We could have wiped out the whole concern. The rebel wounded were treated with the greatest kindness. They were brought into our hospitals during the engagement, and every facility was afforded by our surgeons, assisted by their own, to make them comfortable. We started six hundred and fifty prisoners up the river on the steamer Tycoon before the engagement closed. They left the landing amid the incessant roar of artillery and small arms, laughing, cheering, and swearing. The enemy were well armed, and provided with ammunition of an excellent quality.

Our brigade was commanded by Colonel Rice, of the Thirty-third Iowa. He acquitted himself, well. Most of our wounded have been sent North, and it is painful to add that some of them cannot recover, even with the most favorable treatment.

Yours truly,

Official report.

headquarters twenty-Ninth regiment Iowa volunteer infantry, Helena, Ark., July 6, 1863.
Colonel: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken in the engagement of the fourth instant, by my regiment. My men were drawn up in line of battle at daylight, in obedience to a standing order of Brig.--Gen. F. Salomon, commanding forces in the field, and at half-past 4 o'clock A. M., in pursuance of orders from Col. Samuel A. Rice, of the Thirty-third Iowa infantry, commanding Second brigade, we marched westward across the bottom at double-quick, to a position on the Sterling road. Upon reaching the point designated, I found that the enemy occupied the crests of the hills with their skirmishers north of “battery A,” commanding my position. I immediately sent forward two companies of skirmishers to dislodge and drive them back; but finding them too strongly posted, and being directed by Col. Rice to hold the position at all hazards, I continued to reenforce the line until eight companies were deployed.

In the mean time the enemy had placed a battery of two guns in position, with which they opened a brisk fire of shell and grape, and moved rapidly upon us, cheering and exulting as they advanced, being partially shielded from view by a fog which covered the hills at that moment. Our skirmishers met them with a galling and incessant fire, under which they gradually fell back, resolutely contesting every inch of ground as they retired. Our skirmishers advanced steadily and cautiously, and having gained the crest of the hill previously occupied by the enemy, compelled him to abandon his guns, which, after several ineffectual attempts, he subsequently recovered and withdrew, leaving one caisson on the field.

My men were under a severe fire for more than five hours, and it affords me the greatest pleasure to speak of both officers and men in terms of the highest commendation for their coolness and bravery during the entire action. I saw no flinching or wavering during the day. It is proper to add that several of my officers and quite a number of my men, who were excused from duty in consequence of physical debility, left their quarters and joined their respective companies when the signal gun was fired.

Any invidious distinctions among the members of my command would not be admissible in this report, but I would not do justice to an accomplished officer should I fail to acknowledge the efficient services of Lieut.--Col. R. F. Patterson during the action, and the special obligations I am under for the thorough instruction previously given by him to both officers and men in the responsible duties and obligations of the soldier, the importance of which was so forcibly illustrated on the fourth instant.

My regiment was promptly supported by the Thirty-sixth Iowa infantry, commanded by Col. C. W. Kittridge, and was relieved by him a short time before the enemy left the field. The enemy's force in front of our line, so far as I have been able to ascertain, from the most reliable information within my reach, was one brigade of five regiments of infantry, one battery and two regiments of cavalry in reserve, under command of Colonel McCrea.

I regret to have to report that during the engagement the loss in my regiment was seven killed and twenty-four wounded--some of them mortally (two of whom have since died) and many of them severely-among the number some of my best and bravest men. The enemy's loss it is not possible to state definitely, as he succeeded in removing many of them from the field. We buried fourteen of his dead and found the graves of seventeen more buried by himself, and brought one of his wounded from the field.

I have the honor to be, Colonel,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thomas H. Benton, Jr., Colonel Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry. To Colonel Samuel A. Rice, Commanding Second Brigade, Thirteenth Division of Thirteenth Army Corps.

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