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[276] of the Thirty-third Illinois, and hastened to the scene of action. Some of the men first fired upon, did not stop till they reached Hill's house, rushing past Captain Potter, who would unlimber his gun, fire a round, and then retire, thus checking the advance of the rebels until Colonel Hovey came up. The latter had hardly time to place his men in ambush behind the fence, at the angle of the corn-field, when the rebels, coming furiously forward with loud yells, received a well-aimed fire from Colonel Hovey and his men. Twenty-five rebels were killed the first pop. They were checked. The column reeled and staggered by this murderous fire, broke and the men fled in confusion. At the same time a heavy column of the enemy was seen moving through the woods between Colonel Hovey's position and our camp, and thus surround our brave men. But when they reached the road, and seeing the Wisconsin troops which had fallen back, and supposing them to be a reenforcement come to our aid, they abandoned their design and returned. Thus what appeared to be disastrous at one time, turned to our advantage.

Colonel Hovey rallied the above companies, and advancing one fourth of a mile to a cotton-gin, held the position over an hour.

At this time, (about half-past 10 o'clock,) Lieutenant-Colonel Wood came up with the second battalion of the First Indiana cavalry, bringing with him two steel rifled guns. This detachment had been ordered by General Curtis to proceed to the Bayou de View-fifteen miles from camp — with orders to save the bridge at that point from being destroyed by the enemy. The arrival of this reenforcement proved extremely opportune. Colonel Hovey was posted about one hundred and fifty yards from Colonel Hill's house on the Des Arc road, and the army were not in view. Coming up at full speed, having heard the firing, the First Indiana were welcomed with enthusiastic cheers from the brave little command of Colonel Hovey. The latter exclaimed, “There comes Colonel Wood; we are all right now, boys;” and advancing to Colonel Wood, he said: “You'll find them (the enemy) down there, Colonel, thick enough; pitch into 'em.” The cavalry, with shouts and yells, then plunged forward at a furious rate toward the rebels. The horses leaped a ditch four feet in width, which crossed their path, the bridge being torn up. One of the horses had a leg broken, and some of the men were pitched to the ground, while making the perilous leap. Fortunately, none were seriously hurt. A few rails were piled into the ditch and the steel rifle guns were passed over. A solitary rebel was now seen advancing to within one hundred yards of our front. He wheeled about and fled. The pieces, under charge of Lieutenant Baker, were unlimbered and the cavalry brought into line of battle. The command was given: “Pieces by hand to the front; forward, march.” The cannoniers seized their pieces by hand, and advanced on the enemy, the latter being now discovered advancing in with extended wings in the form of a V, the concave side facing toward our men. Their attention, it appeared evident, was to surround us. The rebels were dismounted, no horse being seen. Our pieces were loaded with canister, and getting within point-blank range — some two hundred yards--we opened upon them with a terrible fire. The enemy halted and replied by a heavy volley from their cross-fire on our gunners. Several of the latter were wounded, but not disabled. The steel rifled guns now belched forth a continued round of firing, when the enemy finding it too hot, fell back into the woods out of sight. The command was given again: “Pieces by hand to the front; forward, march.” Colonel Hovey himself, caught hold of the trail of one of the guns, and exclaimed: “Let's push them forward, boys.” Colonel Wood and Lientenant Baker also took hold of the drag-rope hooks, and assisted in moving the guns forward. On the guns were pushed, the cavalry under Major Clendenning following in line of battle, ready for the charge. Our men pressed on with enthusiastic ardor. Advancing in this way a quarter of a mile, the enemy were described formed in the same mode as before. We got up to within one hundred yards, when they opened fire upon us. We returned the fire with canister from the little guns, with occasional carbine and pistol-shots from the cannoniers. The fire proving too galling for the enemy, he again retreated, leaving a number of dead strewn on the ground, and the blood besmeared the bushes in the vicinity.

The order was given by Colonel Wood, to Major Clendenning to draw sabre and charge. Taking companies E and G, the Major shouted, “Come on, boys, it's our turn now;” and plunged down the road into the brush, where they were met by a tremendous volley, poured in on them by the rebels. At the first fire the Major was wounded severely, receiving a ball through the left lung; and Captain Sloane of company E, who was bravely charging in front, was instantly killed by a shot in the head. The Major, unmindful of his wound, still led on his men, and the latter poured in several volleys on the rebels from their carbines and pistols, unhorsing one and killing a number of the enemy. The rebels were staggered, and turning on their heels, fled in confusion. Our artillery followed close up, when the recall was sounded, and the cavalry fell back behind the pieces. Major Clendenning, in returning, fainted and fell from his horse, and was picked up by one of the men, who carried him off the field on his shoulders.

The pieces were then limbered up and pushed forward in hot pursuit, the cavalry keeping close in the rear. In this way we advanced three fourths of a mile, when small parties of the rebels were discovered, still retreating. The guns were again unlimbered, and a dozen shells were thrown after them, killing four, who were found at a long distance ahead in the road, soon afterward, by the pursuing cavalry. Colonel Hovey now ordered the infantry to the front, intending to deploy them as skirmishers, with an extended front, and follow up the foe. A consultation was held by the officers, and it was decided to hold the ground

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C. E. Hovey (8)
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