Cobb had taken the precaution to leave, and is safe at Little Rock. Let him beware, should ever the Fifth Kansas get him; a short shrift and a long rope will be his reward. The next morning, about two P. M., a despatch came, ordering the Colonel (as we understood) to proceed to Hugh's Ferry, via Mount Vernon, and ascertain the whereabouts of Dobbins's regiment of guerrillas, as well as the practicability of crossing the whole command at that place, and report to Colonel Clayton by message that afternoon. At six A. M. of the eleventh we started, and after going over the hills of Crowley's ridge, about fifteen miles, we came down into the l'anguille bottom. We followed the base of the ridge down to McDaniel's Mills, seven miles from the ferry, taking its owner prisoner. We burned the mill, which had been grinding for the rebels all winter, and in this bottom alone we destroyed by fire about fifty thousand or sixty thousand bushels of corn. A negro here came into camp, stating that General Marmaduke had six thousand men up at Wittsburgh, and that there was a plan laid to cut us off, as follows: Dobbins was to be at the ferry with five hundred men, while a column was to attack us from above. A consultation was held, and then the Fifth Illinois started for the Widow Hinton's, four miles above, at the foot of the ridge, to feed; and as soon as our regiment had fed, the bugle sounded to horse, and we started for Taylor's Creek, where Colonel Clayton was to meet us, or remain to hear from us. Passing the Fifth Illinois about four P. M., we proceeded to a point about five miles beyond; and when nearing Mount Vernon, the quick, sharp report of the rifles of the advanced guard notified us of the proximity of the enemy; a loud and more sonorous volley informed us that they had replied with their double-barrelled shot-guns. Colonel Jenkins immediately rode to the front, and the regiment came up at a sharp gallop. They found the enemy drawn up in a line across the ridge, about one hundred yards in advance. The Colonel now ordered the regiment to dismount, keeping about eight or ten men to hold every forty horses; and company A was deployed to the right, and another company to the left, and ordered to move forward as skirmishers, other companies covering the centre. And now commenced an engagement, lasting about three quarters of an hour, our men driving the rebels before them with loud cheers; breaking their line three different times, and punishing them severely. At length they appeared in such force that it was deemed advisable to choose a favorable position and make a stand. We were on a wide oak ridge, and had forced the enemy back about one third of a mile. A large oak tree had been thrown nearly across the road by a storm, and the road had to bend a little to get around it; having no branches, it afforded an excellent cover for about forty men. Here we were ordered to halt. The centre was now strengthened, the flanks and rear well guarded; and though the rebels kept up an almost continuous volley, it seemed to be felt by both officers and men that their real force was yet to come. The rebels were about eighty yards from us, in line across the road, when they poured in a heavy volley, and parted to the right and left, making way for those from behind. And now a sight met our eyes well calculated to make the sternest heart quail. A regiment or column of cavalry was seen coming down upon us at full speed — the officers waving their sabres, encouraging their men. When within sixty yards, the whole column broke out into a mad yell, such as might have come from ten thousand Camanche Indians. Then it was that our Lieutenant-Colonel showed of what stuff he was made. Sitting calmly and bravely on his horse, right amidst his men, he encouraged them both by orders and example. “Reserve your fire, men, until they are close on you, and then let every shot tell.” And how they obeyed, the sequel but too well showed. When within thirty or forty yards, they were met by such a storm of balls as made many a gallant rider bite the dust; and though the weight and impetus of the column carried them almost to us, the fire was so severe and concentrated they broke right and left and retreated, leaving several dead and wounded behind. In the course of fifteen minutes, or perhaps thirty, during which time they kept up a constant firing, the same thing was repeated again. This time a large and fine-looking officer was at their very head, while a little on one side rode a richly dressed field-officer, whom our men recognized immediately as Colonel Carter, he having been in our camp three days last fall when here with a flag of truce. On they came, with that same wild yell, more desperate from their first repulse; and now their confederate flag was seen waving close to the front. When they are close up, “Give it to them, boys, and fire low!” was the Colonel's orders, as he sat watching the coming shock, while the lead was whistling all around him; and well they obeyed the order. The Captain leading the column fell, shot through and through, within striking distance of our men. Colonel Carter here went down, whilst the color-sergeant tumbled headlong from his saddle close to us. And here a piece of bravery and gallantry was performed. worthy of the far-famed ranger. After a more terrible punishment than before, they broke in the same way, and just as the last of the column wheeled off to the right, a ranger noticed his colors, and swinging himself clear over to one side, gathered them up and rode off. And now a piteous scene presented itself — the ground was strewn with dead and wounded rebels, the wounding asking beseechingly for water. “For God's sake, water!” and though the fight was not over, our men procured a little in a ravine near by, and gave it to them. The Captain proved to be Captain McKee, company
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Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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