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[257] of Col. Carr. The teams were still attached to the wagons, and the braying of the mules — never melodious — became doubly dismal and discordant. The poor animals had been without food for forty-eight hours, and without water for twenty-four hours. They had been standing in harness since daybreak, and their usually hoarse tones gradually softened to a low, plaintive moan that was painful to hear.

Most of the officers were fearful of the results of the conflict on the morrow, since those of the day's battle had been so unfavorable. Some turned their thoughts on escape, but saw not how it was to be accomplished, as our only lines of retreat to the north were completely cut off. Among the soldiers, as they sat by the camp-fires, there was generally but one expression: “We must fight like heroes or surrender to the rebels. There is no falling safely back, as there was at Wilson Creek. Our only alternative is desperate fighting, and we will all do our best.”

Around headquarters most of the commanders passed a sleepless night. Though there were but few words spoken, nearly every one felt that the following dawn would but usher in our defeat. Gen. Sigel brought his division into camp, where it was ready at call, and then calmly lay down to sleep. Col. Davis moved his command at mid-night, and anxiously waited the coming light. The Commander-in-Chief was hopeful but fearful. Col. Dodge and Col. Vandever sent in for a fresh supply of ammunition, and about midnight visited the camp in person to swallow a sup of coffee and return to the field. Ambulances were in constant motion, bringing the wounded to the hospitals prepared for their reception, and surgeons were active in relieving the wants of the sufferers.

In the action of the day the Iowa regiments had suffered fearfully. Nearly two hundred each had been the loss of the Iowa Fourth and Ninth, and the latter had not a single field officer fit for duty. Its Colonel was commanding a brigade, its Lieutenant-Colonel (Herron) was made prisoner while gallantly cheering his men, after losing a horse and receiving a severe wound, and its Major and Adjutant were disabled and in the hospital. Still none of the men were despondent, but were all ready for the work of the morrow. From the camp of a German regiment, the notes of some plaintive air, possibly a love-ditty, was wafted on the breeze in words unintelligible to my ear. It reminded me that long ago in the Crimea, on the night before the storming of the Malakoff, the entire British army in the trenches before Sebastopol joined in singing a famous Scottish ballad, one of the sweetest ever known:

They sang of love and not of fame;
     Forgot was Britain's glory,
Each heart recalled a different name,
     But all sang Annie Laurie.

Daybreak and sunrise at last. Not the bright, clear sun that rose over Austerlitz and cheered Napoleon to his great victory, but a dull, coppertinted globe, slowly pushing itself up through the murky cloud of cannon-smoke that even the long hours of a winter night had not dispelled, the heavens soon became overcast, as if the elements themselves foreshadowed an impending calamity. Every ear was open to catch the sound of the first dull boom of cannon, and every eye was watching for the first curling wreath of smoke that should usher in the contest of the eighth.

The fortune of the day was depending upon Gen. Sigel, and that officer calmly but carefully prepared his command for the conflict. Our whole force was concentrated to the north of our camp, and what, till then, had been our rear became our front. Colonel Carr's division was placed in the centre, occupying the road a short distance on either side. The enemy during the night had planted some of his batteries on an eminence about two hundred feet high, sloping away to the north, but precipitous on the side in our front. Batteries and large bodies of infantry were posted at his right base of this hill and at the edge of some timber to its left. Infantry and cavalry, with a few guns, were posted on his extreme left beyond the road, and to oppose these Col. Davis was sent to our extreme left. It was apparent that if we could dislodge the rebels from this hill, the victory would be with our banners. With the skill of an expert in military science, Gen. Sigel arranged his columns for the coming action. His foremost line was drawn up in battle array, with infantry, cavalry, and artillery, all in their proper positions. At a suitable distance in the rear his reserves were placed ready to be brought, forward at any needed moment. A level, open field of great extent gave splendid opportunity for an imposing display. It had last been a corn-field, and the white and withered stalks were still on the ground, forming a fine background for the dark blue uniforms worn by our men. Throughout the morning skirmishing and light encounters had transpired with the portion of the enemy opposed to our centre and right, but on the left not a gun was fired until the whole of Gen. Sigel's command was in readiness.

At a little past eight o'clock the decisive portion of the engagement commenced. Along the entire line the cannoniers stood to their guns, and at the word of command fire was opened. It was interesting to watch the movements of the artillerists in getting the range. Each gunner took a tree for his mark and tried upon it the effect of his first shell. “Too high,” . was the remark of the captain of a gun stationed near where I was standing. A turn of the elevating screw, a reload, and another shot followed. “Still too high,” and a second turn of the screw was made previous to another shot. “Just right this time,” was the commentary on the direction of the third projectile. For the future trees were not the objects aimed at. A brisk cannonade was kept up for upward of two hours, with occasional intervals of from five to fifteen minutes duration. The sharp booming of the six, twelve, and eighteen-pounders followed each other in rapid succession,

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