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[13] with this regiment. Every officer, so far as I can learn, did his duty on that trying day. The Colonel brought his command into action, when the enemy were pressing with his whole force upon our line. For a little time he held the enemy in check, but the number of the enemy and the exposed position of his men, the enemy now occupying our left, made it necessary for him to fall back to the river. In falling back his horse was shot, and he was injured in the hip. He remained, however, a half-hour longer on the field, and then went on board the gunboat and gave direction for throwing their shells. The Lieut.-Colonel, Cyrus Sears, commanded the right and held his position and remained on the field during the battle. The Major William Cotton, a brave officer, was mortally wounded, early in the engagement, and borne from the field. The Adjutant, Thomas Free, conducted himself most praiseworthily, and as he is a citizen of Tama County, I may speak freely of him. He was in the thickest of the fight executing orders and cheering on the men to duty. It is a marvel how he passed through the battle of that day untouched, but so it is, save a few bullet-holes in his clothes. He is a brave, spirited, efficient young officer of whom Tama County may feel proud. The line officers without exception did their duty, and to this fact I attribute our success. Tauntingly it has been said that negroes won't fight. Who say it, and who but a dastard and a brute will dare to say it, when the battle of Milliken's Bend finds its place among the heroic deeds of this war? This battle has significance. It demonstrates the fact that the freed slaves will fight. The enemy were at least three thousand strong, mostly Texan troops, infantry, while we were but one thousand four hundred, and yet for eight long hours we contested the field, and finally drove the enemy in such hot haste that he had left one hundred and fifteen of his dead for us to bury. Could we have had a small cavalry force, we might have added many prisoners to the successes of the day; as it was, we only took a few. Our many dead and wounded shall tell how bravely they fought, how dearly they won the battle-field of Milliken's Bend on the seventh of June, 1863.

Allow me to say, that the Twenty-third Iowa honored itself and the State it represented on this bloody field. Iowa has never been dishonored on the field of battle. May her proud fame remain untarnished! The Twenty-third Iowa had one hundred and sixty men in battle, lost twenty-five killed, twenty-six wounded, three missing.

Now come the colored regiments; they are yet unorganized, only eight companies having been mustered in, and may be considered raw material. The Ninth Louisiana went into action with about five hundred men; killed sixty, wounded one hundred fifteen. Eleventh Louisiana went into action with about six hundred; killed forty, wounded one hundred and twenty-five, missing one hundred and thirty-one. First Mississippi went into action with one hundred and fifty; killed two, wounded twenty-one, missing three. I believe there were a few men of the Thirteenth Louisiana in the engagement, mixed with the other regiments.

Total engaged, (colored,) one thousand two hundred and fifty; (white,) one hundred and sixty; killed, one hundred and twenty-seven; wounded, two hundred and eighty-seven; missing, one hundred and thirty-seven; whole number engaged, one thousand four hundred and ten. Total loss, five hundred and fifty-one.

Here is a total loss of near forty per cent and a loss in killed and wounded of thirty per cent nearly, and yet the battle is won. Now let the friend and the enemy of the colored man figure up the per cent loss of the great battles of this war, and decide each for himself, whether Milliken's Bend shall find a place among the records of heroic deeds and battle-fields.

Our figures are our arguments that colored men will fight, and they need no comment. We leave them as the battle-field gave them, mournfully brave.

The enemy's loss as ascertained from prisoners was not less than two hundred killed and four hundred to five hundred wounded. In the charge when the struggle was terrific, they had the open field while our forces occupied the breastworks. It is but reasonable to suppose therefore that their loss would exceed ours. Then again when they retreated the gunboat shelled them for a mile and a half and a number were killed and wounded by shell. I think their loss will exceed seven hundred, and I base my estimate on statements of prisoners and others.

A prisoner said the rebel commander expected to capture the post with ease, and was severely chagrined at being defeated. He said it was the severest fight he had ever been in.

It is rumored that Kirby Smith commands the rebel force and that he said he would take the d — d nigger camp or wade in blood to his knees. It was first reported that the rebels shot all the prisoners taken when they got to Richmond, ten miles from here. We have since learned that the proposition was made and the Louisiana troops were for executing it, but that the Texan troops drew up in line of battle and declared it could not be done while they bore arms. Good for Texans. The threat is not executed. The officers are kept in close confinement and the prisoners are treated with rigor. I understand, however, they will be regarded as prisoners and exchanged the same as white soldiers. A rebel force is still hovering about the vicinity of Richmond, said to be six thousand strong. We may be attacked again, but I doubt not we will give a good account of ourselves if so. Two additional regiments have come into this camp since the battle, and in several particulars we are better prepared to inspect rebel troops.


Another account.

Cairo, June 15, 1863.
The battle of Milliken's Bend occurred on Saturday and Sunday, the sixth and seventh inst., the first attack having been made on the afternoon

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