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[543] fighting took place, on the right of the road: our left being refused, with strong reserves posted upon and around Pleasant Hill, to be used as circumstances should dictate.

The Rebels had followed our retreating column from Pleasant Grove, but not sharply; and they, from about 11 A. M., cautiously skirmished and felt of our lines, to find a weak point, while their forces were coming up and getting into position, till about 4 P. M., before making a serious attack. Meantime, Banks had dispatched his trains and heavy artillery, guarded by most of our cavalry, with the Black troops and the remains of Ransom's pulverized division, on the road to Grand Ecore; thus weakening our force at the front, in the belief that they would not attack till the morrow. Our remaining brigade of cavalry, Col. O. P. Gooding, had been sent out to reconnoiter a mile or two on the road to Shreveport, and had been roughly handled. But now, a Rebel battery opened, and their infantry advanced; when, their intention of turning our right becoming manifest, Emory's 3d brigade, Col. Benedict, moved to the support of his 1st on that flank, and Shaw's brigade of Smith's corps aforesaid moved forward and took its position in our front; so that, when the enemy charged in earnest, the brunt of the fight fell on this gallant brigade. It could hardly have found one more able or willing to meet it.1

At 4 P. M., the Rebel skirmish-fire had seemed suddenly to increase and become general; but it soon died away almost wholly, as if the courage to attack had failed. But a few minutes elapsed, however, till our skirmishers were driven in by two charging columns, advancing obliquely against our left center, and striking heavily Emory's 3d brigade, Col. Lewis Benedict, which, after fighting desperately, gave way, and was slowly pushed back on our reserves: but not till Col. Benedict had been wounded. Emory's 1st and 2d brigades were soon enveloped on three sides in overwhelming force and crowded back; the enemy now passing our right and center in eager pursuit, and pressing on nearly to Gen. Smith's position in reserve; when, after an exchange of several volleys, he was charged in turn by Smith's Western veterans, led by Gen. Mower, and by Emory's division, now formed on their right, and fairly routed ; part of the foe being driven two miles: the 49th Illinois, Maj. Morgan, rushing upon one of their batteries, taking two of its guns, and 100 prisoners. The 58th Illinois, brigaded with the 89th Indiana and 119th Illinois, striking the enemy in flank, retook one of our lost batteries, and captured 400 prisoners, with 6

1 A newspaper correspondent on the field writes:

Col. W. T. Shaw, commanding the 2d brigade, 3d division, 16th corps, deserves great credit for the able mariner in which lie suppresses Rebel cavalry charges. Col. Sweitzer of the----Texas cavalry, undertook to break Col. Shaw's lines by a charge. Orders were given to “Reserve your fire. boys, until he gets within thirty yards, and then give it to him!” As the cavalry dashed on at a gallop, each infantryman had selected his victim, and, waiting till the three or four hundred were within about forty yards, the 14th Iowa emptied nearly every saddle as quickly as though the order had been given to dismount.

Out of this Rebel cavalry regiment, not more than ten men escaped; and the whole movement was done with that terrible death-alacrity which the science of war teaches, and the awful reality of which the eye alone can describe to the soul.

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W. H. Emory (4)
Kirby Smith (3)
Lewis Benedict (3)
William T. Shaw (2)
Sweitzer (1)
W. T. Shaw (1)
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Mower (1)
John Morgan (1)
O. P. Gooding (1)
Nathaniel P. Banks (1)
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