ranks, rendering it almost impossible, at times, to distinguish the enemy in the dense clouds of smoke. All of a sudden our whole front seemed to gather renewed strength, and they swept the rebels before them like chaff, following them up closely. The enemy made another desperate stand, when Colonel Shaw, commanding the Third brigade, First division, Sixteenth corps, gave the order to charge bayonets, and the crisis was soon over, the rebels being unable to stand the pressure of “Yankee” steel. In the very thickest of the fight, on our left and centre, rode the patriarchal-looking warrior, Colonel Andrew Jackson Smith, whose troops received an increased inspiration of heroism by his presence. Wherever he rode, cheer after cheer greeted him, for there is an irresistible attraction around this officer, who has exhibited the real Jacksonian energy. Not less conspicuous were Major-General Banks and staff, General Joseph A. Mower, of the First division, Sixteenth army corps, General Franklin and staff, and General Emory and staff. As the dusk of evening became more and more intense, and the last glimmering streaks of day were rapidly fading away, the enemy struggled merely for the possession of the battle-field, and a tremendous roar of musketry burst forth from their staggering lines, which was responded to by two or three terrific volleys from our side, and then came that dead, quiet calm, broken only by the moaning of our men's voices and the groans of the dying. The enemy retreated rapidly that night, General A. J. Mower, of the Sixteenth army corps, having pushed out some four miles from Pleasant Hill, without being able to overtake the enemy. Where so much gallantry was displayed, it would be invidious for me to particularize; but the conduct of Colonel W. T. Shaw, Second brigade, Third division, Sixteenth army corps; Colonel Benedict, Nineteenth army corps, who fell mortally wounded at the head of his noble brigade while cheering them on to the fight; Lieutenant-Colonel James Newbold, of the Fourteenth Iowa, Sixteenth army corps; Colonel Mix, of the----New-York cavalry, Nineteenth army corps, both of whom sacrificed their lives in defence of their country's honor; Colonel Lynch, Second brigade, Sixteenth army corps; Colonel Moore, First brigade, First division, Sixteenth army corps; Colonel Hill,----brigade, First division, Sixteenth army corps, all deserve the highest praise. In fact, though the results were very unfavorable to our cause, yet in the battle of Pleasant Hill we can rest assured the stain of cowardice cannot blot the record of that bloody battle. All of the troops seemed inspired with a degree of courage which nothing but the total annihilation of our men could subdue or extinguish. It is impossible to state who was in chief command on Saturday, Generals Banks and Franklin being both upon the field; but had it not been for the masterly manner in which General A. J. Smith deployed and personally led his troops, aided by the gallant Mower, who has reaped many substantial victories, we should have to record the extinction of the Nineteenth army corps and the Department of the Gulf. This battle of Pleasant Hill is probably the first time on record where the rebels have manifested any desire to meet our soldiers in an openfield fight, and particularly where they have been the attacking party. This rebel phenomenon is easily explained. After the easy victory of Friday, Kirby Smith supposed it would not be a very difficult matter to completely exterminate the balance of the little army, against whose front he hurled his overwhelmingly superior numbers. Deluded with this belief, he at once sent to Shreveport for the balance of his forces, principally Missouri and Arkansas troops, fresh from their camps. Upon their arrival at our front, Kirby Smith and Dick Taylor both harangued the new levies, exhorting them to strike together a steady blow, and the “Yankees” would surely be driven from the soil of Louisiana. They boasted with great bombast upon the capture of eighteen pieces of artillery from us, and nearly two hundred army wagons filled with Government stores, including considerable whiskey, which also fell into their hands. Pointing with exultation to the spoils and trophies which his men had secured, he filled the fresh troops with a degree of hopeful buoyancy, which afterward proved fatal; for while flushed with success, they were entirely ignorant of the arrival of General A. J. Smith's fresh troops; and this explains the recklessness and apparent indifference with which they assailed us, filing in their men to the very jaws of death. This information I derived from wounded prisoners, nearly all of whom corroborate the statement. They deny that General Pop Price was there, although letters have been found by our troops which would seem to indicate that he was on the field during the battle. General Banks, while encouraging his troops in the midst of a galling fire, had his coat pierced with a bullet. General Franklin manoeuvred his troops with great skill, and while leading his men on Friday, he had two fine horses shot from under him, while a Minie ball grazed his boot. The First division of the Nineteenth army corps did nobly on Friday, coming up to the rescue of the remnant of the shattered Thirteenth army corps, with deafening cheers. An officer on General Ransom's staff was riding rapidly in front of our lines with an important order, when a solid shot struck his horse's head, severing it from his body in much less time than it takes to tell it. Battery L, Fifth regulars, was captured by the rebels, and retaken a few minutes after by our men. Colonel Lynch performed a gallant little exploit, which came near costing him his life. Gathering up a small squad of men after the battle was nearly over, he pushed on two miles from our lines, and captured three caissons filled
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 3 .-attack on the defences of Mobile .
Surrender of Fort Powell .
Battle of Olustee .
Battle of Pleasant Hill .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.