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[49] battery of six pieces, which was taken.1

Gen. Grant--not expecting this striking proof of Rebel vitality — was some miles distant on a gunboat, conferring with Com. Foote, when McClernand's cry for assistance reached headquarters. Gen. Lew. Wallace, commanding our center, ordered Col. Cruft, with his first brigade, to the rescue. Cruft, misdirected by his guide, took a wrong road; but it led him nevertheless into the fight, and served to draw off some Rebel attention from MeClernand's overmatched column. Meantime, Col. Thayer,2 commanding his 3d brigade, was ordered by Wallace to the further support of McClernand; and his fresh troops, admirably handled, uniting with Cruft's, succeeded in stopping and turning back the Rebel advance.

Gen. Grant reached the scene of conflict about 3 P. M., and, after a survey of the ground, ordered a general advance; Gen. Lew. Wallace leading the attack on the enemy's left, while Gen. C. F. Smith, on our left, should charge his right. This combined effort proved entirely successful. Wallace recovered all the ground lost during the day, resting at 5 P. M. within 150 yards of the intrenchments whence Buckner had sallied, only to return baffled at night; while Gen. Smith's charge on our left, magnificently led by him against breastworks whereof the defense had doubtless been weakened to strengthen Pillow's effort, succeeded with little loss. The 2d Iowa went into them on a run, closely followed by the 7th and 14th, with the 25th Indiana, cutting down or chasing off their defenders; and the position thus gained was soon made secure against any effort to retake it. So closed the work of that bloody day.

Since the siege began, the weather had suddenly changed to cold, with a light snow, followed by a piercing N. W. wind, rendering the sufferings on either side fearful and almost universal. Our men were without tents, and at many points without fires; while the Rebels, worse clad and little better sheltered, shivered in their fireless trenches through weary day and sleepless night. Hundreds on either side were frost-bitten; and it is said that quite a number of the wounded, left uncared for by the shifting tide of battle, were actually frozen to death.

The night following the conflict just described was one of anxiety and trouble on the part of the Rebels. Gen. Grant's force had been increased by the arrival of transport after transport, until it must have amounted to 30,000, if not nearer 40,000 men, and was magnified by their apprehensions to 50,000.3 The effort to cut their way out through our right had been gallantly made, and had signally failed. Their outnumbered, roughly handled force, had endured 81 hours of alternate fighting and watching, while suffering all the hardships of a Winter campaign, and were so outworn as to

1 Col. Hanson, 2d Kentucky, and Col. Cook, 32d Tennessee, as well as Maj. Brown, 20th Mississippi, officially report that, after Buckner's defeat of McClernand, on the morning of the 15th, there was no obstacle to the escape of their entire force southward or up the Cumberland. Col. Hanson says the way of escape remained open till they were ordered back to the trenches, late in the afternoon.

2 John M., 1st Nebraska.

3 “Eighty-three regiments,” says one of their reports.

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