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[310] she could participate in the fight until Tuesday morning. It was then definitely determined that the attack should be made at daylight on the morning of the fifth, the ram Arkansas, of whose steady and uninterrupted progress down the river we had constantly been advised, cooperating with the troops.

At ten o'clock, Monday night, August fourth, the troops, about two thousand four hundred in all, advanced from their camp on Comite River. The men were in the finest spirits and confident of accomplishing their purpose before breakfast-time. The march of ten miles over a smooth, sandy road, between well-cultivated plantations, was conducted with quiet and order.

But about dawn there occurred one of those terrible misadventures that are frequently the harbingers of disasters and gloom. While the column was advancing about three miles from the city, the road skirted on one side by a dense piece of woodland, and the other by a field of sugar-cane, there came a terrible volley of musketry from the woods where a party of Partisan Rangers had been posted. It was evident at once that there was a mistake, but the confusion incident upon the alarm could not be obviated, and several casualties occurred. Brig.-Gen. Helm's horse fell into a ditch and disabled that gallant young officer, his leg being badly mashed. The troops were thus deprived of his valuable services in the field, and he was compelled to remain restive away from the scene of action, while his bold boys were winning fresh laurels. Capt. Alexander A. Todd, (a brother of Mrs. Lincoln,) of Gen. Helm's staff, was instantly killed, and Captain Willis S. Roberts, commanding the Fourth Kentucky, dangerously wounded. Capt. Todd was a young gentleman of fine accomplishments, great personal daring, exceeding amiability, and the warmest home affections. But the evening before he wrote to his mother, and just before the accident he was conversing with Lieut. L. E. Payne, ordnance-officer of the brigade, communicating the messages he wished conveyed home in case of his fall. Brave boy! he met his end serenely, and his body was interred with tender and loving hands. Cobb's Kentucky battery was also rendered hors du combat, the gun-carriages and caissons being broken, and the pieces rendered unmanageable. This was exceedingly unfortunate from the great experience and intrepidity of Capt. Cobb and his cannoniers. At Shiloh the battery was admirably manned, and at Vicksburgh, while in command of Lieut. Graces, it successfully drove back one of the enemy's gunboats.

Order being restored, the column advanced and soon the line of battle was formed. General Clarke's division occupied the right, and that of Gen. Ruggles the left. The advance was made in four lines, that of the left over a very rough country, across ditches, through sugar-cane, over fences — a very fatiguing and exhausting march. It was ten minutes of five o'clock when we first brushed the enemy. They were in good position, under cover, and opened out upon our advance with considerable precision and effect. It was, however, but the work of a moment to dislodge them. Like so many coveys of partridges, they started up and flew rapidly before our advancing columns, the boys giving vent to exulting cheers, as with fixed bayonets they followed the retreating Yankees. The morning was quite foggy, and a heavy mist hung over the entire landscape, rendering it difficult to plant our batteries so as not to operate either upon one or the other of our wings. Our town lines were then converging toward a common centre, the enemy fleeing toward his camps. But it was not without loss that we thus drove them in. They sought every possible covert-place, and, rallying, gave a peppery salute to our men. Their batteries were also admirably handled, and belched forth devastating columns of canister, grape, shrapnel, shell, and solid shot. One by one, however, they were forced to give back. Limber up, and to the rear march, was the constant order, and had it not been obeyed, all their guns would have fallen into our possession.

As it was, the Fourth Louisiana charged a battery twice, each time at considerable loss, and were finally forced to lose their trophy, their commander, Col. Allen, falling, shot through both legs. This somewhat demoralized the regiment, which had already been distinguished for its good conduct. Capt. Hughes, commanding the Twenty-second Mississippi, fell dead while leading a charge; Col. Sam. Boyd, of the Louisiana battalion, was severely wounded in the arm; the gallant Thirty-first Mississippi, while charging ahead, lost its colors, but the battle-flag was immediately grasped by a lieutenant, who, bearing it aloft, was shot down, and a third man seized it, receiving a death-wound. But onward went the left. Gen. Ruggles was conspicuous for daring, and his aid, Col. Charles Jones, of Louisiana, while delivering an order, was struck down by a shell and seriously wounded. Our troops were now in the camps, and though tempting enough, none stopped to pillage. The Third, Sixth, and Seventh Kentucky regiments were going ahead like a hurricane. Nothing could stop their fearful and determined progress. The more obstinate the resistance the fiercer their onset. Overwhelming as were the odds against them, they pressed forward, mostly at a “charge bayonet,” yelling like madmen. Col. A. P. Thompson, of Paducah, fell, wounded severely through the neck, and Adjt. R. B. L. Soery was wounded dangerously. Other officers went down, but the men marched ahead. After the fall of Col. Thompson, Colonel Ed. Crossland, who had been leading his brave Seventh wherever the fire was hottest, assumed command of the brigade, and he discharged this difficult duty with equal bravery and skill. Capt. Bowman led the Third Kentucky, and did it gallantly, Major Johnson not reaching the field until it was well-nigh won. Lieut.-Col. Coffer was in command of the Sixth Kentucky during the first of the action, conspicuous for his daring, but weak from sickness, and scarcely recovered from a terrible wound received at Shiloh, he was


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