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[530] on the right, I repeated my orders to Major-General Loring, explained to him the condition of affairs on the left, and directed him to put his two left brigades into the fight as soon as possible. In the transmission of these various messages to and fro, over a distance of more than a mile, much valuable time was necessarily consumed, which the enemy did not fail to take advantage of.

About four o'clock p. M., a part of Stevenson's division broke badly, and fell back in great disorder, but was partially rallied by the strenuous exertions of myself and staff, and put back under their own officers into the fight; but, observing that large numbers of men were abandoning the field on Stevenson's left, deserting their comrades, who in this moment of greatest trial stood manfully at their posts, I rode up to General Stevenson, and, informing him that I had repeatedly ordered two brigades of General Loring's division to his assistance, and that I was momentarily expecting them, asked him whether he could hold his position. He replied that he could not; that he was fighting from sixty to eighty thousand men. I then told him I would endeavor myself to find General Loring and hasten him up; and started immediately with that object. I presently met Brigadier-General Buford's brigade of Loring's division, on the march and in rear of the right of Bowen's division. Colonel Cockrell, commanding the First Missouri brigade, having, in person, some time previously urgently asked for reenforcements, which (none of Loring's troops having come up) I was then unable to give him, one regiment of Buford's brigade was detached at once, and directed to his support; the remainder of Buford's brigade was moved as rapidly as possible to the assistance of General Stevenson. Finding that the enemy's vastly superior numbers were pressing all my forces engaged steadily back into old fields, where all advantages of position would be in his favor, I felt it to be too late to save the day, even should Brigadier-General Featherston's brigade of Loring's division come up immediately. I could, however, learn nothing of General Loring's whereabouts; several of my staff-officers were in


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Loring (7)
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