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[481] near the battery. The Twenty-sixth Missouri, under the resolute Boomer, immediately took position on the right of the Fifth Iowa.

The next regiment in the column, the Forty-eighth Indiana, under its brave Colonel, Eddy; took position on the left of the road, a little in advance of the battery, and with its left thrown forward, so as to cover the open field on their left with their fire. This was the position when the battle opened on our side. I directed each of these regiments into positions myself, and they were taken by the troops, under a heavy fire, with the steadiness of veterans determined to conquer. The battle thus opened with but three regiments in position. The rebels were commanded by Major-General Sterling Price in person, who had arrayed against us no less than eighteen regiments. I saw the importance of holding the position we had assumed, and gave each regimental commander orders to hold every inch of ground, at every hazard. As the remaining regiments of the First brigade came up the hill, I threw them into position to protect the flanks of our little line of battle. The Fourth Minnesota, under Captain Le Gro, and the Sixteenth Iowa, under Colonel Chambers, the former on the left and the latter on the right of the line, in rear, and “en echelon.” The battle at this time had become terrific. The enemy, in dense masses, bore down in front. The ground admitted of no more forces being brought into action in front, and our position must be held, or the enemy once forcing it, his overwhelming masses would have passed over the hill and fallen on our unformed column in the rear. Brig.-Gen. Sullivan having reached the rear of the battle-ground with the head of his brigade, placed one of his regiments — the Tenth Iowa, under the gallant Perczel —— with a section of the Twelfth Wisconsin battery, on the road across the ravine and open field on our extreme left; and, finding no more of his forces could be brought into immediate action, placed them in position in reserve, and came gallantly to the front, asking to be of service. I immediately placed him in charge of the right of the line in front, with instructions to hold the ground, and see that the right flank was not turned by the heavy force of the enemy moving in that direction. Col. Sanborn, in command of the First brigade, most gallantly held the left in position, until, under a desolating carnage of musketry and canister, the brave Eddy was cut down, and his regiment, borne down by five times their numbers, fell back in some disorder on the Eightieth Ohio, under Lieut.-Col. Bartelson. The falling back of the Forty-eighth exposed the battery. As the masses of the enemy advanced, the battery opened with canister at short-range, mowing down the rebels by scores, until, with every officer killed or wounded, and nearly every man and horse killed or disabled, it fell an easy prey. But this success was short-lived. The hero Sullivan rallied a portion of the right wing, and with a bravery better characterized as audacity, drove the rebels back to cover. Again they rallied, and again the battery fell into their hands; but with the wavering fortunes of this desperate fight, the battery again fell into our hands, and, with three of its guns spiked, and the carriages cut and splintered with balls, is again ready to meet the foe. While these events were transpiring along the road, the brave Gen. Stanley had come to the front, and joining his personal exertions to mine, the regiments that had fallen into disorder were rallied, and held in position to the close of the battle. One of Stanley's regiments, the Eleventh Missouri, coming up, fresh and eager for action, was pushed into the right, where, uniting its efforts with the Fifth Iowa and Twenty-sixth Missouri, it made a most gallant fight, and aided much, first in holding our ground against the enemy, and afterward in driving him back in confusion to the cover of the ravine, from which the attack was begun. An attempt to turn my left flank, by a heavy force of the enemy moving up the open field and ravine on my left, was most signally repulsed by Col. Perczel, with the Tenth Iowa and a section of Immell's battery. So bravely was this attempt repulsed, that the enemy made no more attempts in that direction.

After this repulse the Fourth Minnesota was withdrawn from the left, and ordered to report to Gen. Sullivan on the right, where it did good service to the close of the action. This completed the movements in the front, and the battle was fought and won in this position. The Thirty-ninth Ohio, of Stanley's division, coming up during the heat of the contest, could not be placed in position to take an active part, owing to the want of ground, and was placed in reserve near the log church. From five P. M., until darkness prevented distinguishing friend from foe, the battle was fought along the road and to the right of it, by the Fifth Iowa, the Twenty-sixth and Eleventh Missouri, with a bravery which scarcely admits of a parallel. The enemy, confident in the heavy forces they had deployed, pushed on with frantic desperation, but they were met by a greater heroism, and though often, rallied and driven to the charge, they were as often met and hurled back to their cover. Against this little front the fiercest of the battle, was waged. Col. Boomer was cut down by a terrible wounds but his regiment held their ground undismayed. The Fifth Iowa, under its brave and accomplished Matthias, held their ground against four times their number, making three desperate charges with the bayonet, driving back the foe in disorder each time — until, with every cartridge exhausted, it fell back slowly and sullenly, making every step a battle-ground and every charge a victory. Night, alone closed the contest, and left us in possession of the field so bravely won. For a detailed report of the operations of each regiment, I respectfully refer you to the reports of subordinate commanders herewith submitted.

I am indebted to able and cheerful assistance rendered by Brig-General Stanley, whose division, with the exception of one regiment, the Eleventh Missouri, being in the rear, could not take an active part. General Stanley had come to the front and tendered his services.

To the commanders of brigades, Brig.-General

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D. S. Stanley (10)
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J. B. Sanborn (2)
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Perczel (2)
Joseph A. Matthias (2)
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