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[30] severely wounded, Gen. Curtis's orderly was hit, and one of his bodyguard fell dead. As the shades of night fell, a messenger from Sigel gave tidings that he was coming up on the left, and would soon open fire. Asboth's batteries fell back, being out of ammunition, and the Rebels were enabled to fire the last shot. A little after dark, both armies sank down on the battle-field, and slept amid the dead and the dying.

Curtis, finding that Van Dorn had concentrated all his forces on this point, directed Davis to withdraw all his reserve from the center, and move forward to the ground on Carr's left, which was effected by midnight. Sigel, though he had reported himself just at hand at dark, was obliged to make a detour, and did not reach headquarters till 2 A. M.

Van Dorn slept that night at the Elkhorn Tavern, from which he had dislodged Davis by such desperate efforts.1 He had thus far been fighting a part of our forces with all of his own, and had only gained ground where his preponderance of numbers was overwhelming. Curtis reports his entire command in Arkansas at 10,500, cavalry and infantry — of whom 250 were absent after forage throughout the battle — and 48 pieces of artillery. He estimates the Rebel force in battle at 30,000, including 5,000 Indians.2 Pollard says, “Van Dorn's whole force was about 16,000 men.” But now our whole army was in hand, while at least a third of it had not yet fired a shot. Not a man in our ranks doubted that our victory must be speedy as well as decisive.

The sun rose; Gen. Curtis awaited the completion of his line of battle by Asboth's and Sigel's divisions getting into position; but no shot was fired by the enemy. At length, Curtis ordered Col. Davis, in our center, to begin the day's work. He was instantly replied to from new batteries and lines which the Rebels had prepared during the night, some of the batteries raking our right wing so that it was constrained to fall back a little, but without slackening its fire. Asboth's and Sigel's divisions were soon in position, completing our line of battle a little to the rear of the first, but without a break, and much of it on open ground, our left wing extended so that it could not be flanked. Gen. Curtis ordered his right to advance to the positions held the night before, and, finding himself an elevation on the extreme right, considerably in advance, which commanded the enemy's center and left, here posted the Dubuque battery, directing the right wing to advance to its support, while Capt. Hayden opened from it a most galling fire. Returning to the center, he directed the 1st Iowa battery, Capt. David, to take position in an open field and commence operations; and so battery after battery opened

1 Pollard says, “We had taken during the day 7 cannon and about 200 prisoners.”

2 The Richmond Whig of April 9th, 1862, has a Rebel letter from one present to Hon. G. G. Vest, which says:

When the enemy left Gove creek, which is south of Boston Mountain, Gens. Price, McCulloch, Pike, and McIntosh seemed to think — at least camp-talk amongst officers high in command so represented — that our united forces would carry into action nearly 30,000 men, more frequently estimated at 35.000 than a lower figure. I believe Gen. Van Dorn was confident that not a man less than 25,000 were panting to follow his victorious plume to a field where prouder honors awaited them than any he had yet gathered.

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Samuel R. Curtis (6)
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