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[425] six companies of the Second Missouri. Toward the north, (Leesville,) two companies of the Forty-fourth Illinois and twenty men of the Thirty-sixth Illinois cavalry remained on picket. On the right, near Elkhorn Tavern, were the following troops: Four companies of the Second Missouri, five companies of the Twenty-fifth Illinois, four pieces of the Second Ohio battery, and four pieces of Capt. Hoffman's battery. In the field to the left of Gen. Asboth and Col. Carr, under my immediate command, were the Twelfth Missouri, the Fifteenth Missouri, the Twenty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, and Forty-fourth Illinois, two pieces of Captain Woelfley's, and two pieces of Capt. Hoffman's batteries. The Fremont and Benton hussars and one section of Capt. Woelfley's battery returned to camp with Col. Davis. The detachment of Major Conrad, consisting of six companies of infantry, detailed from the Third, Fifteenth, and Seventeenth Missouri, and the Thirty-sixth Illinois, and one piece of Capt. Woelfley's battery, was encamped a few miles west of Keitsville.

One piece of Capt. Woelfley's battery was spiked and then taken by the enemy, but retaken and unspiked. Three pieces of Capt. Elbert's flying battery had been lost near Leesville, the trails burnt by the enemy, and the guns left on the battle-field. Another piece of this battery had broken down on the retreat from Bentonville to Sugar Creek, but the gun was recovered and brought into camp.


battle of the Eighth-near Elkhorn Tavern.

The different combats of the seventh had fully developed the plans of the enemy. It was evident that his main forces were stationed near and at Elkhorn Tavern, and that he would make all efforts to break through our lines on the Fayetteville road, and thereby complete his apparent victory. I therefore resolved to recall all troops and different detachments of the First and Second divisions from wherever they were stationed, (with the exception of four companies of the Second Missouri, and four pieces of artillery from the Second Ohio battery, sent to their original position at Sugar Creek,) and to fall upon the right flank of the enemy should he attack or advance from Elkhorn Tavern. At daybreak of the eighth the following troops were assembled near and around my headquarters, awaiting orders:

First division, Col. Osterhaus--Two companies of Third Missouri Volunteers, Twelfth and Seventeenth Missouri, Twenty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, and Forty-fourth Illinois ; Woelfley's battery, five pieces; Hoffman's battery, six pieces; Capt. Jenks's squadron of the Thirty-sixth Illinois.

Second division, Gen. Asboth--Second Missouri, six companies, Fifteenth Missouri, two pieces Second Ohio battery, Lieut. Chapman's battalion, four companies Fourth Missouri cavalry, (Fremont hussars,) six companies Fifth Missouri cavalry, (Benton hussars,) two pieces of Capt. Elbert's flying battery.

It was about seven o'clock in the morning when the firing began on the Keitsville road, this side of Elkhorn Tavern. I was waiting for Col. Osterhaus and Lieut. Assenussen, of my staff, who had gone out to reconnoitre the ground on which I intended to deploy, and to find the nearest road to that ground. The Forty-fourth Illinois had already been sent in advance to form our right when the above-named officers returned and the movement began. In less than half an hour the troops were in their respective positions, the First division forming the first line, the Second division with all the cavalry, the reserve, two hundred and fifty paces behind the first line. To protect and cover the deployment of the left wing, I opened the fire on the right with a section of Capt. Hoffman's battery, under Lieut. Frank, and the five pieces of Capt. Woelfley's battery. The enemy returned the fire promptly and with effect, but was soon outflanked by our position on the left, and exposed to a concentric and most destructive fire of our brave and almost never-failing cannoneers.

After the first discharges on a distance of eight hundred paces, I ordered Capt. Woelfley and Lieut. Frank to advance about two hundred and fifty yards, to come into close range from the enemy's position. Whilst I threw the Twenty-fifth Illinois forward on the right, to cover the space between the battery and the Keitsville road, Col. Schaefer, with the Second Missouri, was ordered to the extreme left, and by forming against cavalry, to protect our left flank. This movement proved of great effect, and I now ordered the centre and left to advance two hundred paces, and brought the reserve forward on the position which our first line had occupied. I then took a battery commanded by Capt. Klausand, belonging to Col. Davis's division, nearer to my right, and reported to you that the road toward Elkhorn Tavern was open, and we were advancing. About this time, when the battle had lasted one hour and a half, the enemy tried to extend his line further to the right, in occupying the first hill of the long ridge commanding the plain and the gradually rising ground where we stood. His infantry was already lodged upon the hill, seeking shelter behind the rocks and stones, while some pieces of artillery worked around to gain the plateau. I immediately ordered the two howitzers of reserve, (Second Ohio, under Lieut. Granswood,) and the two pieces of Capt. Elbert's flying battery, to report to Col. Osterhaus, on the left, to shell and batter the enemy on the hill. This was done in concert with Hoffman's battery, and with terrible effect to the enemy, as the rocks and stones worked as hard as the shell and shot. The enemy's plan to enfilade our lines from the hill was frustrated, and he was forced to lead a precipitate retreat with men and cannon. Encouraged by the good and gallant behavior of our troops, I resolved to draw the circle a little closer around the corner into which we had already pressed the enemy's masses, and ordered a second advance of all the batteries and battalions, changing the position of the right wing more to the left, and bringing the troops of the reserve, the Fifteenth Missouri and the whole cavalry, behind our left

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Woelfley (7)
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