gunboats could give them little support; but, as the famous Rebel ram Arkansas
, hitherto so successful, was counted on as a part of the attacking force, supported by two improvised gunboats, and as our front was wooded, with a cross-road and open fields just beyond it, Gen. Williams
may fairly be supposed to have understood his business.
The battle raged fiercely for two hours, during which the Rebel
right was advanced across the lateral road, driving back the 14th Maine, pillaging and burning its camp; and, while four successive assaults were unsuccessfully made on our front, Gen. Clarke
made a resolute effort to flank our left and establish himself in its rear.
, anticipating tills movement, had placed a battery, supported by two regiments, to resist it; and the Rebels
were repulsed with considerable loss.
Meanwhile, the 21st Indiana, posted at the crossing of the roads — whose Colonel
, suffering from wounds previously received, had twice essayed to join it, and each time fallen from his horse — had lost its Lt.
, Maj. Hayes
, and Adj. Latham
--the two former severely wounded, the latter killed — when Gen. Williams
, seeing Latham
fall, exclaimed, “Indianians!
your field-officers are all killed: I will lead you!”
and was that moment shot through the breast and fell dead; the command devolving on Col. T. W. Cahill
, 9th Connecticut.
But the battle was already won. The Rebel attack had exhausted its vitality without achieving any decided success; while the Arkansas
,from which so much had been expected, had failed to come to time.
she had steamed leisurely down the river until within 15 miles of Baton Rouge
, where her starboard engine broke down; and it had been but partially repaired when the sound of his guns announced to her the opening of Breckinridge
Coming down to within five miles of the city, she was cleared for action; when her engine again broke down, and she drifted ashore on the right bank of the river.
tier tenders, the Music
and the Webb
, were of no account without her; and now her strong armament of six 8-inch and four 50-pound guns, with 180 men, could not be brought into action; and our gunboats, the Kineo
below, and Essex
, and Sumter
above Baton Rouge
, were enabled to devote their attention to the Rebels
on land; firing over the heads of our soldiers at the enemy, nearly two miles distant. It is not probable that their shells did any great harm to the Rebels
, and they certainly annoyed and imperiled our own men; but they served Breckinridge
as an excuse for ordering a retreat, which a part of his men had already begun.
By 10 A. M., his forces were all on the back track, having lost some 300 to 400 men, including Gen. Clarke
, mortally wounded and left a prisoner; Cols. Allen
, and Jones
, of Louisiana
; Cols. A. P. Thompson
and T. H. Hunt
, of Kentucky
; Col. J. W. Robertson
, of Alabama
, and other valuable officers.
On our side, beside Gen. Williams
, and the entire staff of the 21st Indiana, we lost Col. Roberts
, of the 7th Vermont; Maj. Bickmore
and Adj. Metcalfe
, of the 14th Maine; Capt. Eugene Kelty
, 30th Massachusetts,