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[398] At a glance he saw the chance. “Forward at double-quick by brigades!” Our men leaped forward as if they had been tied, and were only too much rejoiced at suddenly finding themselves able to move. For a quarter of a mile the rebels fell back. Faster and faster they ran, less and less resistance was made to the advance. At last the front camps on the left were reached, and by half-past 2 that point was cleared. The rebels had been steadily swept back over the ground they had won, with heavy loss as they fell into confusion; we had retaken all our own guns lost here the day before, and one or two from the rebels were left as trophies, to tell in after-days how bravely that great victory over treason in Tennessee was won.

Advance of Crittenden's division.

I have sketched the advance of Nelson. Next to him came Crittenden. He too swept forward over his ground to the front some distance before finding the foe. Between eight and nine o'clock, however, while keeping Smith's brigade on his left up even with Nelson's flank, and joining Boyle's brigade to McCook on the right, in the grand advance, they came upon the enemy with a battery in position, and well supported. Smith dashed his brigade forward; there was sharp, close work with musketry, and the rebels fled, leaving us three pieces — a twelve-pound howitzer, and two brass six-pounders. But they cost the gallant Thirteenth Ohio dear. Major Ben. Piatt Runkle fell, mortally wounded. Softly may he sleep, and green grow the laurels over his honored grave. None worthier wear them living.

For half an hour perhaps the storm raged around these captured guns. Then came the reflex rebel wave that had hurled Nelson back. Crittenden, too, caught its full force. The rebels swept up to the batteries, around them, and on down after our retreating column. But the two brigades, like those of Nelson to their left, took a fresh position, faced the foe, and held their ground. Mendenhall's and Bartlett's batteries now began shelling the infantry that alone opposed them. Before abandoning the guns so briefly held, they had spiked them with mud, and the novel expedient was perfectly successful. From that time till after one o'clock, while the fight raged back and forth over the same ground, the rebels did not succeed in firing a shot from their mud-spiked artillery.

At last our brigades began to gain the advantage again. Crittenden pushed them steadily forward. Mendenhall (with his accomplished First Lieutenant Parsons, one of our Western Reserve West-Pointers) and Bartlett poured in their shell. A rush for the contested battery, and it is ours again. The rebels retreated toward the left. Smith and Boyle, holding the infantry well in hand, Mendenhall again got their range, and poured in shell on the new position. The fortune of the day was against them as against their comrades to Nelson's front, and they were soon in full retreat.

Just then Brig.-Gen. Thomas J. Woods' advance brigade from his approaching division came up. It was too late for the fight, but it relieved Crittenden's weary fellows, and pushed on after the rebels, until they were found to have left our most advanced camps.

McCook's advance.

Thus the left was saved. Meanwhile McCook, with as magnificent regiments as ever came from the Army of the Potomac, or from any army of volunteers in the world, was doing equally well toward the centre. His division was handled in such a way as to save great effusion of blood, while equally important results were attained. Thus the reserves were kept as much as possible from under fire, while those to the front were engaged. The lists of killed and wounded will show that, while as heavy fighting was done here as anywhere on the right or centre, the casualties are fewer than could have been expected.

It would scarcely be interesting to prolong details where the course of one division so nearly resembled that of the others. But let me sketch the close. An Illinois battery, serving in the division, was in imminent danger. The Sixth Indiana was ordered to its relief. A rapid rush; close musketry firing; no need of bayonets here; the battery is safe. The enemy are to the front and right. Advancing and firing right oblique, the Sixth pushes on. The rebel colors fall. Another volley; they fall again. Another volley; yet once more the colors drop. There is fatality in it; so the rebels seem to think at least, as they wheel and disappear.

And then Rousseau's brigade is drawn off, in splendid style, as if coming in from parade, conscious of some grand master of reviews watching their movements. So there was — the rebel general. As he saw the brigade filing back, he pushed his forces forward again. Kirk's brigade advanced to meet them, coming out of the woods into an open field to do so. They were met by a tremendous fire, which threw a battalion of regulars in front of them (under Major Oliver, I think) into some confusion. They retire to reform, and meanwhile down drops the brigade, flat on the ground. Then, as the front is clear, they spring up, charge across the open field — never mind the falling — straight on, on to the woods — under cover, with the enemy driven back by the impetuous advance. And now he rallies. Fierce musketry firing sweeps the woods. They advance--thirty rods perhaps — when the Twenty ninth Indiana gets into a marsh, and falls partially to the rear. Heavier comes the leaden hail. Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth both fall back fifteen or twenty rods; they rally and advance; again they are hurled back; again they start forward; and this time they come in on the vulnerable points. The enemy flees. Col. Waggoner's Fifteenth Indiana comes up to the support; the enemy disappear; fresh troops take their places, and for them the fight is ended. I might describe similar deeds of Willich's and Harrison's regiments, but “from one learn all.”

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