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[290] sand-spit crossed the bayou in front of this division; but it was so swept and enfiladed by Rebel batteries and rifle-pits, while a difficult abatis forbade egress therefrom on the enemy's side, that to attempt its passage was certain destruction. Nevertheless, Stuart made his dispositions, and was ready to tempt the desperate hazard so soon as Morgan should do likewise.

Still farther to the right was A. J. Smith's division, whereof Burbridge's brigade arrived about noon on the 27th; having been dispatched1 from Milliken's Bend by Sherman to break up the (uncompleted) Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad at the Tensas river, burn several long bridges and trestles, and destroy the cotton, corn, &c., there held for the Confederacy — an order which it had thoroughly obeyed. It was now pushed forward to the bayou, with instructions to cannonade the Rebel defenses opposite, while its infantry should hastily construct rafts and cross; A. J. smith's 2d (Landrum's) brigade holding a key position to the right and rear, having its pickets pushed forward into the abatis in front, with Vicksburg in plain view on its right.

During the ensuing night, Steele's division was reembarked and brought around to the right of the junction of the bayou with the Yazoo, so as to connect closely with Morgan's left; and, all being in readiness, Sherman — having heard nothing as yet of the Holly Springs disaster, though disappointed at the lack of cooperation, or even of tidings, from Grant, being aware that the Rebels in his front were being constantly strengthened, and that time was on the side of his enemy — ordered a general advance and assault.

Morgan, being well forward, was expected to cross the bayou first, and carry the batteries and heights directly before him; but it was noon before he was ready; and, by this time, Frank Blair's and Thayer's brigades of Steele's division were fully abreast of him and ready to go in; Steele's remaining (Hovey's) brigade being close behind them.

Blair's brigade had been debarked between Morgan's and M. L. Smith's divisions; but, in advancing, it had obliqued to the left, crossing the track of Morgan's division, detaching, by order, two regiments to support his batteries; working its way to the extreme front of Morgan's left, and crossing the Chickasaw bayou in Steele's van, where both banks were covered by tangled abatis, and where the bayou presents a quicksand bed 300 feet wide, containing water 15 feet wide by 3 deep. Through this, Blair led his brigade fairly across, leaving his horse floundering in the quicksand, while he carried two lines of rifle-pits beyond, under a deluge of shot and shell from front and flanks, which stuck down a third of his command; among them Col. T. C. Fletcher,2 31st Missouri, who, being wounded, fell into the hands of the enemy; while his Lt.-Col., Simpson, was also wounded, and his Major, Jaensen, was killed. Lt.-Col. Dister, 58th Ohio, was also killed here. Col. J. B. Wyman, 13th Illinois, had fallen the day before.

De Courcy's brigade of Morgan's division charged on Blair's right; while Thayer, with the 4th Iowa (his other regiments having been

1 Dec. 21-22.

2 Since chosen Governor of Missouri.

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