most suitable points, as well as to communicate with that officer. There Rabb's and Tenny's and Hopkins's batteries — the latter captured at Old Fort Wayne--soon opened a terrible and destructive fire upon the foe, and drove him back into the woods at every point where he had come out from beneath its cover. Some of the little howitzers, too, soon joined in the chorus of the cannon, and the enemy danced to it in a most lively manner — back from the front! When, subsequently, our infantry were about entering the woods, Gen. Blunt with his staff rode up to the crest of the hill, near the house of one Morton, to observe as far as was practicable what was going on, and to direct any movement that might be necessary. Two of the Kansas regiments were lying flat upon their stomachs, just within the edge of the wood, at the hill-top, prepared to give the enemy a hot reception so soon as they should come within reach. Just then their fire came rattling over the prostrate men, as if delivered, apparently, for the special benefit of Gen. Blunt and staff; and such undoubtedly was the fact! Nobody was hit; but the sharp cutting of the twigs overhead, and barking of the trees close at hand, makes the escape seem miraculous. Major-General Hindman, it appears, had been issuing lately another of his characteristic orders or addresses to his troops, telling them how to shoot, and whom they must shoot. You have published already one of Hindman's “orders,” upon the subject of “picking off pickets,” killing off “pilots on steamboats,” etc. That was an atrocious document; but his “Address to the troops,” issued on December fourth, only three days before the late battle of Prairie Grove, when he was crossing the mountains to attack us, I think it excels it in infamy! Who ever before heard of the commander of an army, among civilized nations, instructing his men, in a public address, to single out mounted officers in the ranks of his foe, and deliberately shoot them down? Oh! shame upon such chivalry; yet this is the conduct of which Hindman has proven himself capable. Let nobody doubt the genuineness of the “address.” It is just what it purports to be; and, together with his “order,” should be preserved to immortalize their author, “Major-General Hindman!” The case mentioned above is not the only one in which Gen. Blunt and staff received the very special attention of Hindman's trained “sharpshooters” on the field of Prairie Grove. Late in the day the enemy, having gradually worked his way over to the extreme left, (our right,) near Branch's house, it became necessary to put Tenny's battery, with some of the howitzers, in a new position to dislodge him. They had come up to the edge of the timber, and were pouring a terrible cross-fire into some of our people, who were holding their ground near Morton's house. Gen. Blunt went in person with his staff to help to get Tenny's battery properly at work. Hardly had it opened ere the enemy's fire was brought to bear on it — not musketry merely, but ten artillery guns, as was learned the next day from some of themselves. Tenny's six “Parrotts,” however, helped by the two troublesome howitzers, soon shut them up for a time; but as Gen. Blunt and staff rode away from under the dense smoke, and over the field, a perfect shower of long-range “Minies” followed them as they went, with an incessant whiz and whirr, indicating very clearly that those from whom they came were bent on something more than a purpose to fire a mere idle shot. It was in that part of the field, by the way, that the enemy's heaviest musketry fire occurred during the day. Renewed by them just at dark — by way perhaps of a last parting salute — the blaze from their guns, for several hundred yards along the woods, was more like some “fireworks” I have witnessed than like musketry fire; or, to use a homely but appropriate phrase to describe it, it was “a perfect blaze!” It was there that, as Gen. Marmaduke informed the writer, the rebel Col. Stein fell, with a ball from the gun of some of “ours” through his brain. Night and darkness finally closed the battle, each party retaining the ground they had occupied at its commencement; the rebels to hide under cover of the woods and in the hollows and ravines; we to “bivouac upon our arms,” as Blunt expressed it, on the open prairie, and to await the dawn of day to renew the attack. But when the dawn came the enemy had gone, at least the most of them. Early in the morning, Hindman sent, under a flag of truce, a message desiring an interview with Gen. Blunt. The request was granted, and the interview took place at nine or ten o'clock, occupying an hour and a half. Present at it were, with Gen. Hindman, his Adjutant-General, Col. Newton, and General Marmaduke. Accompanying Gen. Blunt were the Inspector General of his division, Major Van Antwerp and Gen. Herron. What transpired at this interview I am not prepared to state. It is said, however, that Hindman, in true diplomatic style, and with the skill and plausibility of a Talleyrand — he is a man of no little polish as well as ability — presented to General Blunt, “for his consideration,” several “points,” in due order, relative to the treatment of the sick and wounded, to an exchange of prisoners, the employment in the army of Indians, negroes — admitting that the former had been first used by the rebels themselves, but with an air of mock chivalry, deprecating the practice by either party; and, finally, wound up with an earnest effort to justify the raising, by himself, of his bands of bushwhacking assassins, whom he plead to have recognized and treated as soldiers in his service — a part of his regular force! Those who were present say that, upon every point where there was any non-concurrence of opinion, Gen. Blunt met the artful and wily diplomatist with a directness of speech and a presentation of his own common-sense views in so practical a manner as to balk him at every turn.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Rebel reports and Narratives.
Doc . 91 .- General Sherman 's expedition.
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.