previous next

[245] of Leetown. The First Missouri cavalry, under Col. Ellis, and the Twenty-second Indiana, under Col. Hendricks, were ordered to support this movement. Col. Osterhaus advanced about a mile beyond Leetown, and found the enemy in force, moving rapidly along the road leading from Bentonville to Elkhorn Tavern, where Col. Carr's division had already sharply engaged him. At this time the unexpected appearance of the Third Iowa cavalry from the field, gave proof of the necessity of reinforcements being sent at once in the direction of Leetown, and an order to that effect was timely received. Passing through Leetown a few hundred yards, I found Col. Osterhaus with the Forty-fourth Illinois, Twenty-second Indiana and some artillery, had taken position on the left of the road, and was contesting the approach of the enemy over a large open field in his front. In the mean time the enemy was rapidly approaching and advancing his forces on the right of the road, and had already lodged himself in large numbers in a thick oak scrub, extending to our camp. I immediately ordered the Second brigade to deploy to the right and engage him. This was done in a vigorous manner by the Thirty-seventh and Fifty-ninth Illinois, assisted by Davidson's battery, which I had put in position for that purpose.

I soon became satisfied, from the increasing and excessive fire of the enemy, that he was being rapidly reinforced, and ordered the Eighteenth and Twenty-second Indiana to make a flank movement to the right and perpendicular to the enemy, and then to move forward and attack him. This was accomplished with alacrity, but not, however, until the Second brigade had begun to recede before the excessive fire of the enemy, who had now concentrated his forces to the number of several thousand, under McCulloch and McIntosh, with a large body of Indians under Pike and Ross. The Second brigade being thus overwhelmed, I ordered it to fall back and change front to rear on its right, and the First brigade to change front forward on its left, so as to attack the enemy in his rear, who was now exultingly following up his temporary success. The Eighteenth Indiana soon executed the movement as directed, and opened a well-directed fire upon the enemy's rear, which had the effect of drawing his fire and disconcerting his pursuit so as to enable the Second brigade to re-form their lines as directed, but not until the enemy had succeeded in capturing two guns of Davidson's battery, which, owing to the precipitate advance of the enemy, and disabled horses, could not be withdrawn. The Eighteenth Indiana pushed rapidly forward and drove the enemy from this part of the field, and advancing to the open ground, found these pieces in the hands of the enemy, charged and routed him with a heavy loss from them. The Twenty-second Indiana, during all this time, engaged a large force of the Arkansas troops and Indians, and, after a sharp engagement, put them to flight. In the mean time, the Second brigade renewed the engagement, when the enemy fled from the field, leaving behind him many of his killed and wounded. Among the former were Gens. McCulloch and McIntosh. At this moment I ordered the cavalry to charge the fleeting foe, but for some unexplained reason it was lot done. The enemy made an attempt to re-form on his former position, near the Bentonville road, but was easily driven from it by the action of our batteries. Two regiments of reinforcements, with two pieces of heavy artillery, (eighteen-pounders,; arrived at this time from Gen. Sigel's command. These I ordered to take position on the right, so as to be able to move the more readily to the support of Col. Carr's division, which had been hotly engaged in the vicinity of Elkhorn Tavern for several hours. Gen. Sigel soon arrived himself, and, accompanied by Osterhaus's command, moved in the direction of Carr's left. I at the same time threw forward the Second brigade to the Bentonville and Elkhorn Tavern road.

Finding the enemy gone, and night upon us, I ordered the troops to bivouac on the field they had so gloriously won. After reporting to the General the entire rout of the enemy at Leetown, he directed me to move my division during the night to the support of our position of the previous day at Elkhorn Tavern. The fore part of the night was occupied by the troops in collecting the wounded and dead. Daylight, however, found us in position in front of the enemy at Elkhorn Tavern, where the troops under Col. Carr had so nobly fought the day before. That gallant officer, though suffering much from a wound, was still upon the ground to assist in disposing of my troops.

The First brigade was deployed a few hundred yards to the right of the Fayetteville road to support Klaus's battery, which was placed, at the edge of an open field intervening between the range of hills at Elkhorn Tavern and the timber protecting our camp. Here the five companies of the Eighth Indiana, under Lieut.-Col. Shunk, joined their brigade. These companies had the previous day participated in the engagement with Col. Carr's forces, and had bivouacked on the field during the night. Davidson's battery was placed in a similar position on the left of the road, supported by the Second brigade. At sunrise the enemy's position was discovered by a few shots being thrown from Davidson's battery, which was at once responded to by the rebel batteries. Klaus's battery responded, but after a sharp contest of a few rounds, was forced to retire by a sudden attack of one of the enemy's heretofore undiscovered batteries, which opened closely upon his flank with grape and canister. This battery, however, soon withdrew on discovering dispositions being made by the First brigade to charge it. The Second brigade at this time was much exposed to an enfilading fire from the enemy's guns, and I ordered it to fall back and take position under shelter of the timber. By this time the position of the enemy's batteries was well developed, and Davidson now took a more commanding position in the open field. He was soon joined by Klaus, whom I had ordered to support him, and in a few moments the contest

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Peter Davidson (5)
James Carr (5)
Osterhaus (3)
Klaus (3)
Franz Sigel (2)
Charles F. McIntosh (2)
Benjamin McCulloch (2)
David Shunk (1)
James R. Ross (1)
Cherokee Indians (1)
Hendricks (1)
C. A. Ellis (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: