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[542] they were close upon our line; when a deadly volley swept them down like grass; Gen. Mouton being among the killed. But, though somewhat astonished, they were not dismayed; their superiority in numbers more than counterbalancing our advantage of position. For an hour and a half, the fighting continued at close quarters, till darkness arrested it — all the enemy's impetuous charges having been repelled by the steady valor of our men ; their losses being at least double ours. Emory's division had saved our army, and probably our fleet also.1

Smith's veterans were still behind. To remain on the ground watered with the blood of both armies was to fight again at daylight with half our force against every fighting Rebel between Shreveport and the Mississippi. To retreat would enable the worsted foe to claim a second victory. Banks preferred the substance to the shadow, and fell back unmolested during the night 15 miles, to Pleasant Hill: Gen. Emory covering the retreat, after burying his dead and caring for his wounded, and only reaching our new position at 8 1/2 A. M.2

Thus far, we had fought against fearful odds — odds that need not, therefore, should not, have been encountered. At Pleasant Hill, the case was somewhat altered., Gen. Smith had arrived and halted here at night, as had Col. Dickey's Black brigade; swelling Banks's forces to fully 15,000 men. But for yesterday's disasters, it might have been nearly 20,000. Our line of battle was formed with Franklin's three brigades in front, supported by Smith's, where — of the 2d, composed of the 14th, 27th, and 32d Iowa, and the 24th Missouri, under Col. Wm. T. Shaw, 14th Iowa, were formed directly across the main road to Shreveport, whereon the Rebels must advance, along the thinly wooded brow of a slight acclivity, half a mile west of the gentle eminence and petty village of Pleasant Hill; though the bulk of our army was formed, and most of the

1 The Chicago Tribune's correspondent says:

About a half a mile from the field, the 3d division, 13th corps, under Gen. Cameron, came up and formed in line of battle; and here two guns of the Mercantile battery were put in position and opened with good effect upon the enemy. For a short time, it seemed as if a successful rally would be made at this point; but the effort was in vain. The entire strength of the 3d division on the field was only 1,600 men, and, after a short and courageous resistance, the line gave way. A check, however, had been given to the panic, and many of the troops formed into squads and continued the retreat in better order. Efficient aid was also rendered by Col. Robinson, commanding a cavalry brigade detailed to guard the trains. who, hearing the rapidly approaching firing, hastened with a large portion of his command to the front, and, wheeling into line in perfect order, delivered a most destructive volley into the Rebels, who were swarming in the road, and then fell back in good order. For full a mile from the place where Cameron's division had met us, the retreat was continued; the Rebels following closely upon our heels, and keeping up a continuous fire, when, all at once, as we emerged into a more open piece of woods, we came upon Emory's division, of the 19th corps, forming in magnificent order in line of battle across the road.

Opening their ranks to permit the retreating forces to pass through, each regiment of this fine division, closing up on the double-quick, quietly awaited the approach of the Rebels; and, within less than five minutes, on they came, screaming and firing as they advanced, but still in good order and with closed ranks. All at once, from that firm line of gallant soldiers that now stood so bravely between us and our pursuing foes, there came forth a course of reverberating thunders that rolled from flank to flank in one continuous peal, sending a storm of leaden hail into the Rebel ranks that swept them back in dismay, and left the ground covered with their killed and wounded. In vain the Rebels strove to rally against this terrific fire. At every effort, they were repulsed; and, after a short contest, they fell back. evidently most terribly punished. It was now quite dark, and each party bivouacked on the field.

2 April 9.

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