left, lying where Stuart's brigade had lain on Licking Creek in the morning, and stretching thence in on the Hamburgh road, and across toward our old centre as far as Hurlbut's camps. Steaming up to the mouth of the little creek, the boats rounded to. There was the ravine, cut through the bluff as if on purpose for their shells. Eager to avenge the death of their commanding General, (now known to have been killed a couple of hours before,) and to complete the victory they believed to be within their grasp, the rebels had incautiously ventured within reach of their most dreaded antagonists, as broadside after broadside of seven-inch shells and sixty-four-pound shot soon taught them. This was a foe they had hardly counted on, and the unexpected fire in flank and rear sadly disconcerted their well-laid plans. The boats fired admirably, and with a rapidity that was astonishing. Our twenty-two land-guns kept up their stormy thunder; and thus, amid a crash and roar and scream of shells and demon-like hiss of Minieballs, that Sabbath evening wore away. We held the enemy at bay; it was enough. The prospect for the morrow was foreboding; but sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. We had had plenty of evil that day — of course, therefore, the text was applicable. Before dark the Thirty-sixth Indiana, from Nelson's advance brigade, had crossed, advanced into line with Grant's forces at the double-quick, and had put in fourteen rounds as an earnest of what should be forthcoming on the morrow. The enemy suddenly slackened his fire. His grand object had been defeated; he had not finished his task in a day; but there is evidence that officers and men alike shared the confidence that their morning assault would be final.
The night between two battles.As the sounds of battle died away, and division generals drew off their men, Buell had arrived, and Lew. Wallace had been heard from. Both would be ready by morning. It was decided that as soon as possible after daybreak we should attack the enemy, now snugly quartered in our camps. Lew. Wallace, who was coming in on the new road from Crump's Landing, and crossing Snake Creek just above the Illinois Wallace's (W. H. L.) camps, was to take the right and sweep back toward the position from which Sherman had been driven on Sunday morning. Nelson was to take the extreme left. Buell promised to put in Tom. Crittenden next to Nelson, and McCook next to him by a seasonable hour in the morning. The gap between McCook and Lew. Wallace was to be filled with the reorganized divisions of Grant's old army; Hurlbut coming next to McCook, then McClernand, and Sherman closing the gap between McClernand and Lew. Wallace. Stealthily the troops crept to their new positions and lay down in line of battle on their arms. All through the night Buell's men were marching up from Savannah to the point opposite Pittsburgh Landing and being ferried across, or were coming up on transports. By an hour after dark Lew. Wallace had his division in. Through the misdirection he had received from Gen. Grant at noon, he had started on the Snake Creek road proper, which would have brought him in on the enemy's rear, miles from support, and where he would have been gobbled at a mouthful. Getting back to the right road had delayed him. He at once ascertained the position of certain rebel batteries which lay in front of him on our right, that threatened absolutely to bar his advance in the morning, and selected positions for a couple of his batteries, from which they could silence the one he dreaded. Placing these in position, and arranging his brigades for support, took him till one o'clock in the morning. Then his wearied men lay down to snatch a few hours of sleep before entering into the valley of the Shadow of Death on the morrow. By nine o'clock all was hushed near the Landing. The host of combatants that three hours before had been deep in the work of human destruction had all sunk silently to the earth, “the wearied to sleep, the wounded to die.” The stars looked out upon the scene, and all breathed the natural quiet and calm of a Sabbath evening. But presently there came a flash that spread like sheet-lightning over the ripples of the river-current, and the roar of a heavy naval gun went echoing up and down the bluffs, through the unnatural stillness of the night. Others speedily followed. By the flash you could just discern the black outline of the piratical-looking hull, and see how the gunboat gracefully settled into the water at the recoil; the smoke soon cast up a thin veil that seemed only to soften and sweeten the scene; from the woods away inland you caught faintly the muffled explosion of the shell, like the knell of the spirit that was taking its flight. We knew nothing then of the effect of this gunboat cannonading, which was vigorously kept up till nearly morning, and it only served to remind us the more vividly of the day's disasters, of the fact that half a mile off lay a victorious enemy, commanded by the most dashing of their generals, and of the question one scarcely dared ask himself: “What to-morrow?” We were defeated, our dead and dying were around us, days could hardly sum up our losses. And then there came up that grand refrain of Whittier's — written after Manassas, I believe, but on that night, apparently far more applicable to this greater than Manassas--“Under the cloud and through the sea.”
Sons of the Saints who faced their Jordan flood,
In fierce Atlantic's unretreating wave--
Who by the Red Sea of their glorious blood
Reached to the Freedom that your blood shall save!
O countrymen! God's day is not yet done!
He leaveth not his people utterly!
Count it a covenant, that he leads us on
Beneath the clouds and through the crimson sea!