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[391] line with Hurlbut's. It still did some gallant fighting; once its right swept around and drove the enemy for a considerable distance, but again fell back, and at the last it brought up near the position of W. H. L. Wallace's camps.

We have seen how Prentiss, Sherman, McClernand were driven back; how, fight as fiercely as they would, they still lost ground; how their camps were all in the hands of the enemy; and how this whole front line, for which Hurlburt and Wallace were but the reserves, was gone.

The assault on Sherman's left.

But the fortunes of the isolated brigade of Sherman's division, on the extreme left, must not be forgotten. It was doubly let alone by the Generals. Gen. Grant did not arrive on the field till after nearly all these disasters had crowded upon us, and each division general had done that which was good in his own eyes, and carried on the battle independent of the rest; but this brigade was even left by its division general, who was four miles away, doing his best to rally his panicstricken regiments there.

It was commanded by Col. David Stuart, (of late Chicago divorce-case fame, and ex-Congressman,) and was composed of the Fifty-fifth Illinois, Lieut.-Col. Malmbourg, commanding; Seventy-first Ohio, Col. Rodney Mason; the Fifty-fourth Ohio, (Zouaves,) Col. T. K. Smith. It was posted along the circuitous road from Pittsburgh Landing, up the river to Hamburgh, some two miles from the Landing, and near the crossing of Lick Creek, the bluffs on the opposite side of which commanded the position, and stretching on down to join Prentiss's division on its right. In selecting the grounds for the encampment of our army, it seems to have been forgotten that from Corinth an excellent road led direct to Hamburgh, a few miles above this left wing of our forces. Within a few days, the oversight had indeed been discovered, and the determination had been expressed to land Buell's forces at Hamburgh, when they arrived, and thus make all safe. It was unfortunate, of course, that Beauregard and Johnston did not wait for us to perfect our pleasing arrangements.

When the rebels marched out from Corinth, a couple of brigades (rumored to be under the command of Breckinridge) had taken this road, and thus easily, and without molestation reached the bluffs of Lick Creek, commanding Stuart's position.

During the attack on Prentiss, Stuart's brigade was formed along the road, the left resting near the Lick Creek ford, the right, Seventy-first Ohio, Col. Rodney Mason, (late Assistant Adjutant-General of Ohio, and Colonel of the Second Ohio at Manassas,) being nearest Prentiss. The first intimation they had of disaster to their right was the partial cessation of firing. An instant afterward muskets were seen glinting among the leaves, and presently a rebel column emerged from a bend in the road, with banners flying and moving at double-quick down the road toward them. Their supports to the left were further off than the rebels, and it was at once seen that, with but one piece of artillery a single regiment could do nothing there. They accordingly fell rapidly back toward the ford, and were re-formed in an orchard near the other regiments.

The rebel column veered on further to the right, in search of Prentiss' flying troops, and for a brief space, though utterly isolated, they were unmolested.

Before ten, however, the brigade, which had still stood listening to the surging roar of battle on the left, was startled by the screaming of a shell that came directly over their heads. In an instant the batteries of the rebel force that had gained the commanding bluffs opposite, by approaching on the Corinth and Hamburgh road, were in full play, and the orchards and open fields in which they were posted (looking only for attack in the opposite direction) were swept with the exploding shells and hail-storm rush of grape.

Under cover of this fire from the bluffs, the rebels rushed down, crossed the ford, and in a moment were seen forming this side the creek, in open fields also, and within close musket-range. Their color-bearers stepped defiantly to the front, as the engagement opened furiously, the rebels pouring in sharp, quick volleys of musketry, and their batteries above continuing to support them with a destructive fire. Our sharpshooters wanted to pick off the audacious rebel color-bearers, but Col. Stuart interposed: “No, no, they're too brave fellows to be killed.” Almost at the first fire, Lieut.-Col. Barton S. Kyle, of the Seventy-first, was shot through the breast the brigade stood for scarcely ten minutes, when it became evident that its position was untenable, and they fell rapidly back, perhaps a quarter of a mile, to the next ridge; a few of his men, at great personal risk, carrying Lieut.-Col. Kyle, in a dying condition, from the field they were abandoning. Ohio lost no braver, truer man that day.

As they reached the next woody ridge, rebel cavalry, that had crossed the creek lower down, were seen coming up on their left; and to resist this new attack the line of battle was formed, fronting in that direction. For three quarters of an hour the brigade stood here. The cavalry, finding its purpose foiled, did not come within range. In front they were hard pressed, and the rebels, who had followed Prentiss, began to come in on their right. Col. Stuart had sent across to Brig.-Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, then not engaged, for support. Brig.-Gen. McArthur's brigade was promptly started across, but mistaking the way, and bearing too much to the right, it speedily found itself in the midst of the rebel forces that had poured in after Prentiss. Gen. McArthur could thus render Stuart's brigade no assistance, but he vigorously engaged the rebels to his front and flanks, fell back to a good position, and held these troops in bay till the rest of his division came up to his aid. Gen. MeArthur was himself disabled by a wound in the foot, but he rode in to a hospital, had it dressed, and returned to the brigade, which meantime sturdily held its position.


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