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[347] artillery and infantry, and fearful they would be cut to pieces, they were ordered to retire under protection of the fort, which order was executed promptly and in good order, bringing with them their wounded. The enemy threw forward a regiment of cavalry on our left, which was promptly checked by the Second battalion, Fourteenth Missouri State militia, cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Pounds. Meantime the enemy were busy with their artillery, throwing shot and shell at the fort and into the houses occupied by our troops. Our artillery before mentioned, under command of Lieutenant Hoffman, and one field-piece, under command of Captain Landes, Eighteenth Iowa infantry, were driving back the enemy's centre.

But the firing from the guns inside the forts, though well aimed, was not sufficiently rapid, owing to their being manned by volunteers with only five artillery soldiers at the three pieces. The enemy, about two P. M., massed their forces and advanced on our centre and right. Captain Landes with his piece of artillery was ordered to advance to the front and right of the fort, which order he promptly executed. He was supported by parts of three companies of the Eighteenth Iowa, under their respective commanders, Captains Blue, Van Meter, and Stonaker. This piece of artillery, owing to some mistake in the delivery of the order, was placed in a very exposed position. The enemy, perceiving this, made a desperate charge upon it with overwhelming numbers, killing the horses and driving back the support, and captured it after a hard and bloody contest. Captains Blue and Van Meter fell mortally wounded, and Captain Landes and many of their brave comrades fell severely wounded, while some were killed. It was now between two and three P. M. The enemy had captured one piece of artillery, at the same time had taken possession of an unfinished stockade fort that had been used as a prison, and were pressing hard on our centre and right. The “Quinine brigade,” which was placed under my command, and who, up to the time, were stationed in various brick buildings in and around the centre of the town, were ordered to move to the front and attack the enemy. I had the honor to lead them in person, assisted by Lieutenant Root, of the Nineteenth Iowa, Lieutenant Wilson, of the Eighteenth Iowa, and Lieutenant Bodenhammer, of the Twenty-fourth Missouri volunteers.

We advanced to the front and west of the fort, and took a position behind a fence, and about fifty to seventy-five yards from the rebels, who were likewise posted behind fences, and in and around a house to our front. After fighting for near an hour, the enemy gave way and fled precipitately from this part of the field. In the mean time they were making strong efforts to turn our right, land after being driven from our centre, threw their main force forward for that purpose, when they were met by the Seventy-second regiment, E. M. M., under the command of Colonel Sheppard, the “Quinine brigade,” under the command of Lieutenants Root, Wilson, and Bodenhammer, and Captain McAfee, who repulsed them. There were also engaged at this time the Third cavalry, M. S. M., Fourth cavalry, M. S. M., and the Second battery, Fourteenth M. S. M., and five companies of the Eighteenth Iowa, two of which had recently come to our support, under the command of Capt. Evans. The enemy had gained possession of several houses, and were pouring into our ranks volley after volley of musketry, while they were endeavoring to dislodge them.

The cause became desperate; the enemy were pressing hard upon our brave men, and they were yielding before the overwhelming numbers brought against them, when General Brown and staff rode forward to encourage them, when he was treacherously shot from a house by some hidden foe, and fell from his horse.

He immediately remounted, but was unable to remain in the saddle, and was carried off the field.

This was about four o'clock P. M., when I received an order from the General to take command, which I immediately complied with. The fighting at this time was hard. It was one continuous roar of musketry and artillery.

The enemy had advanced at a point beyond the range of the small arms of the fort, but the artillery continued to pour a heavy fire of shot and shell into their midst, which would cause them to falter, but they would again and again rally.

The stockade fort, which they had previously taken possession of, gave them great protection, and in and around which they would mass their forces, and from which they would make their charges. They would drive our men, and then, in turn, be driven back. A little after five o'clock the made the most desperate effort that they had made during the day, to drive back our forces, by throwing their whole force upon our centre and right wing, (but mainly upon the centre.) A party of the Seventy-second E. M. M., Fourth cavalry, M. S. M., (dismounted,) the Second battalion, Fourteenth cavalry, M. S. M., (dismounted,) part of five companies of the Eighteenth Iowa infantry, and the “Quinine brigade,” amounting in all to about eight hundred men, had to oppose tile major part of the rebel army, amounting to three or four times their own number. But our troops met them promptly, and fought them most gallantly for near one half hour, when a part of our lines began to give back. At this critical time an officer commanding a company in the Second battalion, Fourteenth M. S. M., ordered his men to horse, (as I was afterward informed,) and the whole battalion came running in great confusion to the rear and took to horse. I tried in vain to rally them — they seemed panic-stricken. This caused a partial giving way among the other troops.

I had no difficulty in rallying them, and they went again into the fight. It was now near dark, and the enemy were making an additional demonstration on our left.

By this time, Lieutenant-Colonel Pound commanding,

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Landes (3)
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