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[424] fire was directed to the place where I halted, I ordered two pieces of the battery which came up to take position on an elevated ground to the left, and shell the enemy. After a few shots the fire of the enemy opposite our position became weaker, and I sent the two pieces forward to join their battery.) I then returned to look after my own troops, and passing along the road met the Iowa Third, (cavalry,) which had been sent in advance of Col. Osterhaus, and which now escorted their Lieutenant-Colonel, who was severely wounded, back into camp. I immediately sent you to order the regiment back to Leesville, which order was given, and the regiment returned. I met Lieut. Gasson, of the flying battery, who reported to me that our cavalry had been driven back by an over-whelming force, and our three pieces taken by the enemy, as there was no infantry to support them. I now ordered Major Mezaros, and the other two pieces of the flying battery, to reinforce Col. Osterhaus, but during their march I learned that Col. Davis had been directed to advance with his whole division to Leesville, which induced me to send only Major Mezaros to that point, and directed the two pieces of the flying battery to act as reserve, and to join the troops left in their encampment. Proceeding to the camp to see what was going on there, and whether we were safe in our rear, (toward Bentonville,) I found the following troops assembled in their respective positions: The Seventeenth Missouri and a detachment of sixty men of the Third Missouri, the Twenty-fifth and the Forty--fourth Illinois, two pieces of Woelfley's battery, (twelve-pounders,) two companies Thirty-sixth Illinois cavalry, and nearly the whole Second division, comprising the Second and Fifteenth Missouri, Carlin's battery, and two companies of the Benton hussars. It was about two o'clock in the afternoon when the cannonading and musket-firing became more vehement, and when you ordered me to reinforce Col. Carr, at Elkhorn Tavern, and Col. Davis and Colonel Osterhaus, near Leesville, as both forces, especially those at Leesville, were, according to your reports, pressed hard and losing ground. I therefore sent Gen. Asboth with four companies of the Second Missouri, under Col. Schaefer, and four pieces of the Second Ohio battery, under Lieut. Chapman, to assist Col. Carr. Major Paten, with the Seventeenth Missouri, one company of the Third Missouri, two companies of the Fifteenth Missouri, two pieces of the flying artillery, under Captain Elbert, and two companies of the Benton hussars, under Major Heinricks, I ordered to advance on the Sugar Creek road toward Bentonville, to demonstrate against the rear of the enemy. Two pieces of the Second Ohio battery, with six companies of the Second Missouri, remained in their position to guard the camp, and two companies of the Forty-fourth Illinois, with twenty men of the Thirty-sixth Illinois cavalry, under Captain Russell, were sent forward in a north-western direction, to remain there as a picket between Leesville and the Sugar Creek road. With all other troops — the Fifteenth Missouri, the Twenty-fourth and Forty-fourth Illinois, and two pieces Captain Woelfley's battery — I marched to Leesville to reenforce Cols. Davis and Osterhaus. My intention was to throw back the enemy from Leesville into the mountains and toward Bentonville, and then by a change of direction to the right to assist Gen. Asboth and Col. Carr, by deploying on their left. On my march to Leesville, I heard Major Paten's firing on the Bentonville road. Arrived at Leesville, the firing in front ceased, whilst it recommenced with new vehemence on the right, at Elkhorn Tavern. At this moment Captain McKenney, A. A. G., requested me, by order of Gen. Curtis. to send some more reinforcements to the right, which I did by detaching five companies of the Twenty-fifth Illinois and four pieces of Hoffman's battery, stationed in reserve at Leesville, to Elkhorn Tavern. I then proceeded beyond the town to the battle-field, which I found in full possession of Cols. Davis and Osterhaus. As no enemy could be seen, except a small detachment on a distant hill, I requested Col. Davis to protect my left flank by sending his skirmishers and one regiment of infantry forward through the woods, whilst I proceeded with the Twenty-fifth Illinois and four pieces of Woelfley's and Hoffman's batteries on the road to the south-east, which was already opened by the Forty-fourth Illinois and Fifteenth Missouri. After making one mile, and passing two hospitals of the enemy, I ordered Col. Osterhaus to follow me with the Twelfth Missouri and Thirty-sixth Illinois, and a section of artillery, which troops came up promptly, except the two pieces--twelve-pounders — that remained with Col. Davis. We advanced slowly, and after making half a mile more, we reached an open field, where we took our position, and from which we could easily discern the camp-fires of our friends and those of our enemies near Elkhorn Tavern. I now sent immediately to Gen. Curtis to apprise him of my position, and that I was ready to cooperate with him. Meanwhile night had fallen in, and although the cannonading was renewed on the right, I did not believe that after a hard day's work the enemy would make a final and decisive attack. In order, therefore, to disguise our position, from which I intended to advance in the morning, I kept the troops in the strictest silence, and did not allow the building of camp-fires, or any other movement further than two or three hundred paces distant. So we remained until one o'clock in the morning, when I found it necessary to remove the troops by a short and convenient road into our common camp, to give them some food, sleep, and a good fire, and to prepare them for battle. To show the whole position of the First and Second divisions on the evening of the seventh, allow me, General, to make the following statement:

Beginning on the left, Major Paten, with the Seventeenth Missouri, one company of the Third Missouri, two companies of the Fifteenth Missouri, two pieces of the flying artillery, and two companies of the Benton hussars, was stationed on the Sugar Creek and Bentonville road. The entrance of the road from this side was guarded by two pieces of the Second Ohio battery, and

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Osterhaus (6)
Jefferson C. Davis (6)
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