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[351] enrolled militia, (infantry,) under Colonel Henry Sheppard, were ordered forward with two or three companies of the Eighteenth Iowa infantry, and one brass piece. The enemy moved their battery to a point directly in front of ours, and fought for some time, but with little audacity; then abandoned the attack at this point.

Upon the other side of the fort, and within rifle-range, was a two-story brick building, designed for an academy, but occupied during the summer and winter as a prison for rebels. Around this building was a stockade, fifteen feet high, with loop-holes for muskets. The rebels now determined to approach the fort under cover of this stockade.

After marching back, therefore, they moved in first-rate order, and upon the double-quick, to our right. I must state here, that at this time they were all dismounted and fighting on foot. Having a shorter distance to traverse, they arrived first, and took their position in the following order: Next to the fort were the enrolled militia; upon their right was the Third M. S. M.; and the Fourth M. S. M. were still further to the right. The line extended nearly to Fort No. 1, in which were stationed the Eighteenth Iowa. In Fort No. 4 were the Quinine brigade and some other fragments of companies.

The enemy now approached in good order, until they came within gun-shot, when they began to crawl upon the ground, like Indians, with admirable skill, from one stump to another, sheltering themselves as much as possible, but keeping up a deadly fire. Not many hundred men were engaged at this time, but the crack of rifles was continuous, like the roll of thunder, and the enemy's grape hurtled along over our heads in a way that was dangerous. Col. Sheppard's regiment of enrolled militia bore the brunt of the fight. They had never before been in battle, but they stood their ground like heroes, until the fire became too hot to be endured, when they fell back slowly and in good order, but steadily, in spite of all efforts on the part of their officers to stay them. Their retreat enabled the rebels to take possession of the stockade around the academy, and to approach near enough to the fort to engage the Quinine brigade, who opened a murderous fusilade over the parapet, killing some within fifty yards of the ditch.

Finding it impossible to rally his men, General Holland, of the E. M. M., gave the order to fall back on Fort No. 1. The regiment went steadily back, going slower and slower, until they became ashamed of going back at all. General Holland, perceiving that their courage was returning, cried, “Follow me!” and dashed forward, followed by the whole line, who set up a yell of defiance and delight.

At the same time Gen. Brown proposed to his, body-guard to charge, which they did in gallant style, the General riding at their head, almost into the very midst of the rebels. Some miserable wretch took too good aim at him. A ball struck him in the left arm, shattering the bone up to the socket. He fell from his horse and was carried off the field. The command thenceforth devolved upon Colonel Crabb, of the Nineteenth Iowa.

From this time, the fight was carried on, upon both sides, entirely from behind fences and houses, with little method, and with still less organization. Every man took his own station, and fired at his own pleasure. After the militia stopped retreating and again began to advance, they never lost an inch of ground. The rebels were driven out of one house after another, back to the stockade, from which it was impossible to dislodge them.

As the militia advanced, a brass piece, with two companies of the Eighteenth Iowa, was ordered forward to their support; but, in consequence of some unaccountable blunder in conveying the order, it passed along the wrong street, and actually took its position upon a street-corner in the rear of the stockade, and outside our lines. The enemy saw their advantage, made a rush, and captured the cannon, after shooting every horse, both captains, one lieutenant, and more than half the men.

At night the battle ended, having lasted five hours. Time never before seemed to me to pass so rapidly. The enemy had suffered more severely than we. Their loss was probably over two hundred; but ours was nearly one hundred and fifty killed and wounded, out of not more than one thousand. The enrolled militia, who are universally acknowledged to have been the heroes of the day, had lost more than one sixth of their entire number. Out of our little army, twenty commissioned and non-commissioned officers had fallen.

At the close of the day, the Eighteenth Iowa, from Fort No. 1, marched out South street, in splendid order. A cry was raised that we were reenforced. The men set up a tremendous shout, which must have stricken terror to the hearts of our besiegers ; for although they largely outnumbered us, and had actually gained a foothold within the limits of the city, they retreated with all possible silence and secrecy, under cover of the night. They carried their wounded with them, except about eighty, who fell into our hands. They left seventeen dead upon the field, and twenty-four graves of others were afterward found in Col. Phelps's field, south of the town. Among their killed and wounded officers were Major Bowman, Captains Flint, Frazier, Fitsworth, and Woodsmall; and Lieutenants Richardson, Buffington, M. P. Stewart, and F. M. Green.

On Friday morning, the current of feeling in our midst had changed. Our troops were confident and even exultant. They awaited the renewal of the attack, not only with equanimity, but with eagerness. We were, however, disappointed. The battle was not renewed, although a small party of rebel cavalry made a feint at the eastern side of the town, to amuse us and cover the retreat of the main body.

The scenes in Springfield among the women and children were interesting. Our secessionists were delighted in the morning, at night crestfallen. Several loyal families were reft of all property

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Henry Sheppard (2)
C. B. Holland (2)
Woodsmall (1)
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Phelps (1)
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