previous next

[258] and with such regularity that one could easily imagine that the huge dark object in that yellow field was an enormous organ on which a Mozart or a Verdi was executing one of his latest compositions.

The shot from the rebel batteries were well directed, but failed of execution equal to those from ours. Several guns were disabled and taken to the rear, and their places speedily supplied by others. During the cannonade Col. Carr's and Col. Davis's divisions advanced slowly upon the enemy, until they held the edge of the timber where the rebels had position in the morning. A battery of three guns in front of a wooded space on the left of the road at length became troublesome, and orders; were issued for a bayonet-charge to capture it. Just at this moment a gust of wind blew away the smoke from the front of the rebels, revealing their exact position. The Twelfth Missouri was designated for the honor of taking the battery, and nobly acquitted themselves, advancing at the pas de charge under a terrible musketry fire, possessing themselves of the guns and holding them until their supports came up. Twelve of their men were killed in this charge, and a large number wounded. Another gun was shortly after taken in the timber near by, and still another spiked piece on the extreme right of Davis's division.

After sustaining a heavy cannonade for two hours and a half, the rebels showed signs of a desire to leave the ground. Their batteries were withdrawn from the hill, and their infantry was fast melting away, large numbers of them, as we since learn, fleeing in terror at the fearful fire under which they had stood. The Eighteenth and Twenty-second Indiana regiments were ordered to charge, and did so in gallant style; but the rebels were too quick for the movement to succeed in taking the guns. Their infantry fled in disorder, and their artillerymen had barely opportunity to attach their horses to the guns and move them from the field. It was useless to pursue with cavalry, the country being too densely wooded to admit of using this arm of the service. The entire line moved forward to the support of the Indiana regiments, and up and down its entire length the air resounded with cheer upon cheer from our exultant troops. The enemy had been driven from its stronghold, and the victory was upon our banners.

Gen. Sigel went in pursuit of the fleeing rebels, following their main body for twelve miles and capturing a considerable quantity of wagons, supplies, etc., several ammunition-wagons, a load of powder, and nearly a thousand stand of arms. They fled too rapidly to permit of a capture of the entire force, and on the morning of the ninth Gen. Sigel's division returned to camp. A portion of the rebels fled to the eastward, felling timber across the road to prevent pursuit. Another portion turned to the westward, fleeing by the way of Bentonville toward the sunny South. When last heard from, they were in camp eight miles to the southward. A flag of truce came in to-day to arrange for burying the dead and making exchange of prisoners.

The morning of the eighth I passed the hospital, where most of our wounded were carried on the previous night. Here lay dead officers and soldiers mingled indiscriminately together, most of them having died after or during amputations. Outside of the buildings were several legs and arms, the former with the stocking and occasionally a portion of the pantaloons still unremoved. A row of corpses lay in front of the principal hospital, and a number of attendants were busy in their removal. Each was covered with a blanket, and the utmost nonchalance was displayed in all their movements. “That's Captain----,” was a remark as a blanket was turned down from the face of a corpse, revealing at the same time the double-barred shoulder-strap. “That's private----, of company--,” or “That's a sergeant of----regiment,” and similar remarks were the only hospitable eulogiums as the column of dead was passed by. Whatever bravery and daring were shown when these death-wounds were received was here unnoticed, the duties of the surgeon and his aids not requiring such knowledge. Satiated with these horrors, I turned away and hastened to the field, where the final battle was about commencing.

The appearance of the hill and woods shelled by Gen. Sigel's division attests the terrific shower of missiles that fell upon them. Walking over the ground immediately after the flight of the enemy and the pursuit by our forces, I found it thickly strewn with dead and wounded, most of them having fallen by the deadly artillery projectiles. Tree after tree was shattered or perforated by shot and shell, and many were filled with grape and canister-balls. One tree was pierced through and through by a solid shot, its top shivered by a shell, and the base of its trunk scarred by seventeen canister and rifle-balls. In one place lay the fragments of a battery-wagon, wherein a shell had exploded, utterly destroying the wagon and killing two mules, which had been its motive power. A ruined caisson and five cannon-wheels were lying near it. Two dead artillerymen were stretched on the earth, each killed by a grapeshot, and by their side was a third, gasping his last, with his side laid open by a fragment of a shell. On the hill, where the cannonade had been severe, trees, rocks, and earth bore witness to its fierceness. Fifteen wounded rebels lay in one group, and were piteously imploring each passer-by for water and relief for their wounds. A few rods from them was another, whose arm had been torn off by a cannon-shot, leaving the severed member on the ground a few feet distant. Near him was the dead body of a rebel, whose legs and one arm had been shattered by a single shot. Behind a tree a few yards distant was stretched a corpse, with two thirds of its head blown away by the explosion of a shell, and near it a musket, broken into three pieces. Still further along was the body of a rebel soldier, who had been killed by

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Bentonville, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
F. Sigel (3)
Jefferson C. Davis (2)
James Carr (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: