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[594] they promptly commenced firing the houses, and advancing behind the smoke. The conflagration became general in the lower part of the town, on both sides of the street, and the bullets flew very thickly both from the bluff and up the street. I thought it prudent to dismount, and direct the defence on foot. Just at this point Capt. Dodd, of St. Peter, and some one else, whose name I do not know, charged down the street, to ascertain (I have since learned) whether some horsemen, seen in the extreme lower town, were not our friends coming in, and were met, about three blocks down, with a heavy volley from behind a house, five bullets passing through Capt. Dodd, and several through his horse. They both turned, and the Captain got in sufficiently near to be received by his friends before he fell. He died about five hours after being hit. Too much cannot be said of his personal bravery and general desire to perform his duty manfully.

Capt. Saunders, of the Le Sueur company, was shot through a part of his body shortly after, and retired, placing his rifle in effective hands, and encouraging the men. The fight was going on all around the town during the whole forenoon and part of the afternoon, sometimes with slight advantage to us, and again to the Indians, but the difficulty that stared us in the face, was the gradual but certain approach, up the main street, behind the burning buildings, which promised our destruction. We frequently sallied out and took buildings in advance, but the risk of being picked off from the bluff was unequal to the advantage gained, and the duty was performed with some reluctance by the men. In the lower part of the town I had some of the best men in the State, both as shots and for coolness and determination. It will be sufficient to name two as types of a class of the best fighting men — Asa White and Newell Houghton — known to all old settlers. They did very effective service in checking the advance, both by their unerring rifles and the good examples their steadiness placed before the younger men.

We discovered a concentration of Indians on the side of the street toward the river, and at the rear of the buildings, and expected a rush upon the town from that position, the result of which I feared more than any thing else, as the boys had proved unequal to it in the morning, and we were not disappointed, for in a few moments they came on ponies and on foot, furiously, about sixty in number, charging round a point of a little grove of oaks. This was the critical point of the day, but four or five hours under fire had brought the boys up to the fighting temperature, and they stood firmly and advanced with a cheer, routing the rascals like sheep. They received us with a very hot fire, killing Houghton, and an elderly gentleman, whose name I did not know. As they fled in a crowd at very short range, we gave them a volley that was very effectual, and settled the fortunes of the day in our favor, for they did not dare to try it over. I think, after once repulsing them in a fair fight, we could have successfully resisted them, had they returned a second time, as the necessary confidence had been gained.

White men fight under a great disadvantage the first time they engage Indians. There is something so fiendish in their yells, and terrifying in their appearance when in battle, that it takes a good deal of time to overcome the unpleasant sensation it inspires. Then there is a snake-like stealth in all their movements that excites distrust and uncertainty which unsteadies the nerves at first.

After this repulse the battle raged until dark without sufficient advantage on one side or the other to merit mention in detail, when the savages drew off, firing only an occasional shot from under close cover.

After dark we decreased the extent of our lines of barricades, and I deemed it prudent to order all the buildings outside to be burned, in order to prevent their having come from behind which to annoy us. We were compelled to consume about forty valuable buildings, but as it was a military necessity, the inhabitants did not demur, but themselves applied the torch cheerfully. In a short time we had a fair field before us of open prairie, with the exception of a large square brick building, which we held, and had loop-holed in all the stories, on all sides, which commanded a long portion of our front toward the bluff. We also dug a system of rifle-pits on that front, outside the barricades, about four rods apart, which completed our defences.

That night we slept very little, every man being at the barricades all night, each third man being allowed to sleep at intervals.

In the morning the attack was renewed, but not with much vigor, and subsided about noon.

During the day a body of men appeared in the lower town, and turned out to be a detachment of one hundred and fifty volunteers, from Nicollet and Sibley counties, under Capt. E. St. Julien Cox, which had been forwarded to our relief by Col. Sibley. They had about fifty Austrian rifles, and the balance were armed with shot-guns and hunting-rifles. Their appearance inspired us with gladness, as things were becoming doubtful.

I held a council of the officers, and we determined to attempt an evacuation of the town, carrying off all the inhabitants, women, children, sick and wounded, to the number of about two thousand. This movement was a very perilous one to undertake with the force at our command, but the confined state of the town was rapidly producing disease among the women and children, who were huddled in cellars and close rooms, like sheep in a cattle-car, and we were fast becoming short of ammunition and provisions. I feared the result of another attack by a larger force, and all the people decided that they would abandon the town the first opportunity, as residence there was impossible under the circumstances.

At daylight next morning the barricades were broken, and the wagons taken out and put in motion. The scene was one of indescribable confusion

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