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[619]

Shortly after the commencement of the general engagement, the rebels brought a battery of four to bear upon the First brigade of General Hovey's division, and were inflicting serious punishment with it. Having stationed it upon a very formidable point on a commanding ridge, General McGuiness ordered it charged. The Eleventh Indiana and Twenty-ninth Wisconsin being in front, had the hazardous task assigned them. They marched cautiously up a high slope to within seventy-five yards of the guns, and then made a dash at the pieces. The rebel gunners performed their duty manfully, standing by their guns till they were driven away with bayonets or clubbed with muskets. The Eleventh and Twenty-ninth were not to be driven back, however, or denied the object for which they started. As one of the men said afterward: “They were told to take the guns and they were bound to do it, or lose every man among them.” About two minutes after this, the Forty-sixth Indiana made a charge upon a battery of four guns, a short distance from the scene of the first capture, and in one gallant dash took it, and every man belonging to it. The rebels made a desperate effort to recapture those batteries, but did not succeed. Our men, when subsequently compelled to fall back on the left, spiked all the guns which they could not get away.

From statements made by prisoners and citizens, I think a just estimate of the rebel force will place the figures at thirty thousand. Pemberton was in the field in person. The confederate troops were from Georgia, South-Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri. Bowen's command, which we whipped at Port Gibson, was there. A large portion of it was captured, among them fifty men and a captain from Gates's regiment of dismounted cavalry. The rebels concentrated three fourths of their men upon three divisions of our army, those of Logan, Hovey, and Quinby, so that they had really about seven thousand men more than we had in the engagement.

The result of to-day's fight was a complete victory for General Grant's forces, and the total rout and demoralization of the rebel army. Our loss will reach three thousand in killed, wounded, and prisoners. During the early part of the engagement the rebels carried off all their wounded. From the number of their dead found upon the field, and of wounded who fell into our hands while they were falling back, it is fair to say that they lost three thousand in killed and wounded. We took about two thousand prisoners and upward of twenty pieces of artillery during the day.

There were many instances of heroism in the battle to-day, which ought to entitle the actors to the admiration of the country, and embalm their memories in the hearts of every patriot. Lieutenant Perry, of the Forty-seventh Indiana, was with his company under the hottest fire of the engagement. His regiment occupied such a position that his command was very much exposed and was suffering dreadfully. One of his comrades suggested to him that he ought to avail himself of a little cover immediately in his rear. Perry looked at him calmly but resolutely, and said: “No, sir. The Forty-seventh never gives back an inch.” A moment afterward he was shot through the heart and expired without a groan. Two of his men, on seeing him fall, wept like children.

The Lieutenant-Colonel of the Tenth Missouri was shot through the heart while waving his sword to urge his men forward to a charge, which they executed with splendid success.

An officer was sent to General Logan to inquire how the contest was going in his front. Logan sent back word: “Tell General Grant that my division cannot be whipped by all the rebels this side of hell. We are going ahead, and won't stop till we get orders.”

When our left was giving way before the over-whelming force of the enemy a few men became panic-stricken, and it was feared the contagion would spread. The Colonel of the Twenty-fourth Indiana rode to the rear, having received a wound in the hip. He rallied the terror-stricken by a few words of encouragement: “Don't be discouraged, men. They are driving us now, but we'll have them whipped in an hour. We are taking Vicksburgh to-day, boys, and if you all do your duty it's bound to fall.”

On the rebel side an instance of valor occurred, in the conduct of Captain Riddle, of a Mississippi battery, who remained by the side of his guns after all his horses had been shot, and his comrades killed, wounded, or routed. He staid at his post, fighting against an infantry charge with a revolver, until pierced by half a dozen bullets.

In the battle of to-day the rebels did not depart from their uniform practice of barbarity to our wounded. In more than twenty instances they bayoneted, clubbed, or shot our wounded who had fallen into their hands. I saw two or three men dead upon the field, who had been shot in the ranks and afterward run through the breast or abdomen with a bayonet, while found lying upon the ground or leaning against a tree. Several of our officers and men were witnesses to these inhuman acts. They saw their comrades butchered, but dare not remonstrate lest they themselves should share the same fate. On one occasion a regiment of rebels ran their bayonets through six of our wounded, after an unsuccessful charge on one of our batteries.

The Twenty-fourth Iowa is called a Methodist regiment. The colonel and several of the captains are Methodist preachers, and a majority of the soldiers are members of the Methodist Church. They did some of the best fighting of the day, yesterday. They went into the battle full of enthusiasm, and not one of them flinched during the engagement. Their major was wounded late in the day. He walked from the field, and, on his way to the hospital, captured a stalwart confederate, and compelled him to carry him on his back to the Provost-Marshal's headquarters. It was a laughable sight to see Major Wright riding


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Logan (3)
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