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[530] under the murderous fire which the enemy in overwhelming numbers poured upon it; but even while their comrades were falling thickly around them, the men would rally, re-form, and again drive their bullets in the faces of their desperate enemies.

Harris's, Stone's, and Parsons's batteries-ceased firing shell and round-shot, and hurled into the very bosom of the advancing host a storm of grape and canister, until the ground was literally covered with dead and mangled rebels.

But with ever-increasing strength the enemy continued the assault. He placed several lines upon sloping ground, in such a way that the whole could fire at once, and although this arrangement enabled our batteries to operate with more deadly effect, it created such havoc in our single line of battle as no soldiers could endure. A portion of the Twenty-first Wisconsin, supporting Stone's battery, broke and fled. The greatly superior numbers of the assailants enabled them to outflank our line; and from both front and flank they rushed upon us, delivering their fire within a few feet of our lines, and charging up to the very muzzles of the guns.

The Eightieth Illinois and One Hundred and Fifth Ohio gave way before this mad onset, leaving Capt. Parsons's battery exposed. The artillerymen at once abandoned their hitherto nobly defended pieces, and all but a single gun fell into the hands of the enemy. Four of Capt. Harris's guns were also left upon the field, but the rebels had not time to carry them off, and I think they were all recovered to-day.

Our line being thus broken, the entire division retreated, perhaps a quarter of a mile, where it halted, and held its ground until the battle ceased. But it retreated only after its division commander, Gen. Jackson, and one brigade commander, Gen. Terrell, were killed, and the other, Col. Webster, was mortally wounded. Not a suspicion will ever be cast upon the valor of these noble men; and if it be not true, as some declare, that two companies of the Twenty-first Wisconsin, posted near Stone's battery, broke and ran away with unseemly haste, then all the troops of Gen. Jackson's division will hereafter be classed among the veterans of the Union army.

The partial success of the rebels upon this division, encouraged them to recommence the attack upon Rousseau, and now began one of the bloodiest passages at arms which has occurred during the war. I witnessed it from beginning to end, and gazed upon it with an indescribable horror, which took away all sense of danger. Those whom I have longest known and best loved in the whole Union army here fought and fell in scores before my eyes, and died in every terrible form of death. I may behold great battles hereafter, and my heart may become somewhat callous to their bloody scenes, but never shall I forget what I saw at that time, nor will the impression made thereby ever pass away.

The Seventeenth brigade (Col. W. H. Lytle, of the Tenth Ohio, commanding) formed, as I have said, the right of Rousseau's division, and it was against this that the rebel leaders directed their fiercest assault. Emerging from the shelter to which they had retired after their first repulse from this portion of the line, they advanced in heavy masses toward our position. Their appearance, as regiment after regiment, and mass after mass, came forth from beneath the woods and advanced down the slopes of the hills, was imposing in the extreme. Distance concealed the rags composing their uniform; the bright sunbeams glancing from their bayonets flashed like lightning over the field; and the blue flag with a single star waved all along their lines, as proudly as though it were not the emblem of treason, slavery, and death. At their head advanced a general mounted upon a white horse, and surrounded by a numerous staff, all having horses of the same color. However one might hate these traitors, he could not but admire this conspicuous and daring valor, for each one of these “pale-horse” riders instantly became a mark for a shower of bullets, several of which sped not upon their way in vain. Near the foot of the slope of hills, the wooded crests of which had formed their original position, they planted a dozen pieces of artillery, raking the Third Ohio and Forty-second Indiana, which now advanced to the summit of the hill, (upon which Loomis's and Simonson's batteries were posted at the beginning of the action,) in order that they might meet the dense masses of the enemy's infantry, which were advancing under cover of the fire from their artillery. As soon as these two gallant regiments appeared upon the crest they were saluted with a tempest of bullets from the muzzles of at least four thousand muskets, at the same time that the cannon of the enemy thundered upon their front and flank. The Third Ohio, Col. John Beatty, sustained the heaviest fire, and as long as it remained upon the hill its ranks were continually ploughed by the terrible discharges from the enemy's artillery.

But while it remained there, (and it remained until a third of its number strewed the field,) it never for an instant ceased to belch forth a volley of flame into the face of the foe, nor could the rebel legions, with all their desperation, summon courage to charge it. Every officer stood like a rock to his post, and the gallant Col. Beatty, dismounting from his unmanageable horse, placed himself coolly and calmly in the centre of his regiment, cheered both by voice and example his dauntless men, and seemed totally unconscious that death was everywhere around and about him.

At last a shell from the rebel cannon set fire to a pile of straw, the flame of which instantly communicated to a large barn upon which the right wing of the Third Ohio rested. In a moment the whole was in a blaze; the heat became intense and unendurable, and though some of the heroes stood until their faces were blistered rather than break their ranks, they were compelled at length to retire in confusion upon the centre and left of the regiment, which they also threw into disorder. Slowly and reluctantly the officers

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Jacob F. Stone (3)
Lovell H. Rousseau (2)
C. C. Parsons (2)
J. S. Jackson (2)
L. A. Harris (2)
John Beatty (2)
George Webster (1)
W. R. Terrell (1)
Simonson (1)
W. H. Lytle (1)
Loomis (1)
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