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[142] gained by the enemy in their attack on our right. Fortunately, it was repelled. Time was thus obtained to look up Col. Cruft's brigade, which, after considerable trouble, was found in position to the right of my new line, whither it had fallen back. Riding down its front, I found the regiment in perfect order, having done their duty nobly, but with severe loss, and eager for another engagement. The deployment of a line of skirmishers, readily united them with Col. Thayer's brigade, and once more placed my command in readiness for orders.

About three o'clock Gen. Grant rode up the hill, and ordered an advance and attack on the enemy's left, while Gen. Smith attacked their right. At Gen. McClernand's request I undertook the proposed assault. Examining the ground forming the position to be assailed, (which was almost exactly the ground lost in the morning,) I quickly arranged my column of attack. At the head were placed the Eighth Missouri, Col. M. L. Smith, and the Eleventh Indiana, Colonel George McGinniss, the two regiments making a brigade, under Col. Smith. Col. Cruft's brigade completed the column. As a support, two Ohio regiments, under Col. Ross, were moved up and well advanced on the left flank of the assailing force, but held in reserve.

Well aware of the desperate character of the enterprise, I informed the regiments of it as they moved on, and they answered with cheers, and cries of “Forward! Forward!” and I gave the word.

My directions as to the mode of attack were general: merely to form columns of regiments, march up the hill which was the point of assault, and deploy as occasion should require. Colonel Smith observed that form, attacking with the Eighth Missouri in front. Col. Cruft, however, formed line of battle at the foot of the hill, extending his regiment around to the right. And now began the most desperate, yet, in my opinion, the most skilfully executed performance of the battle.

It is at least three hundred steps from the base to the top of the hill. The ascent is much broken by out-cropping ledges of rock, and, for the most part, impeded by dense underbrush. Smith's place of attack was clear, but rough and stony. Cruft's was through the trees and brush. The enemy's lines were distinctly visible on the hillside. Evidently they were ready.

Colonel Smith began the fight without waiting for the first brigade. A line of skirmishers from the Eighth Missouri sprang out and dashed up, taking intervals as they went, until they covered the head of the column. A lively fire opened on them from the rebel pickets, who retired, obstinately contesting the ground. In several instances, assailant and assailed sought cover behind the same tree. Four rebel prisoners were taken in this way, of whom two were killed by a shell from their own battery, while being taken to the rear.

Meantime, the regiments slowly followed the skirmishers. About quarter the way up, they received the first volley from the hill-top, around which it ran, a long line of fire, disclosing somewhat of the strength of the enemy. Instantly, under orders of Col. Smith, both his regiments lay down. The skirmishers were the chief victims. George B. Swarthout, Captain of company H, Eighth Missouri, was killed gallantly fighting far in advance. Soon as the fury of the fire abated, both regiments rose and marched on; and in that way they at length closed upon the enemy, falling when the volleys grew hottest, dashing on when they slackened or ceased. Meanwhile, their own firing was constant and deadly. Meanwhile, also, Col. Cruft's line was marching up in support and to the right of Colonel Smith. The woods through which he moved seemed actually to crackle with musketry. Finally, the Eighth and Eleventh cleared the hill, driving the rebel regiments at least three quarters of a mile before them, and halting within one hundred and fifty yards of the entrenchments, behind which the enemy took refuge. This was about five o'clock, and concluded the day's fighting. In my opinion, it also brought forth the surrender.

While the fighting was in progress, an order reached me, through Colonel Webster, to retire my column, as a new plan of operations was in contemplation for the next day. If carried out, the order would have compelled me to give up the hill so hardly recaptured. Satisfied that the General did not know of our success when he issued the direction, I assumed the responsibility of disobeying it, and held the battle-ground that night.

Wearied as they were, few slept; for the night was bitter cold, and they had carried the lost field of the morning's action, thickly strewn with the dead and wounded of McClernand's regiments. The number of Illinoisans there found mournfully attested the desperation of their battle, and how firmly they had fought it. All night, and till far in the morning, my soldiers, generous as they were gallant, were engaged ministering to and removing their own wounded and the wounded of the first division, not forgetting those of the enemy.

Next morning, about daybreak, Lieut. Ware, my aid-de-camp, conducted Col. Thayer's brigade to the foot of the hill. Lieut. Wood's battery was ordered to the same point, my intention being to storm the entrenchments about breakfast-time. While making disposition for that purpose, a white flag made its appearance. The result was, that I rode to Gen. Buckner's quarters, sending Lieut. Ross, with Major Rogers, of the Third Mississippi (rebel) regiment, to inform General Grant that the place was surrendered, and my troops in possession of the town and all the works on the right.

In concluding, it gives me infinite pleasure to call attention to certain officers and men of my division.

If General McClernand has knowledge of the prompt assistance Colonel Cruft and his brigade carried his brave but suffering regiments in the terrible battle of Saturday morning, his notice of


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