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[77]

In fact, there was no faltering upon the field; all fought nobly and won a glorious victory over a force outnumbering them two to one.

I have not fully ascertained our loss in killed and wounded; you will get the official report long before this will reach you. The enemy's loss will never be known by us, their ambulances and every team they could raise were engaged all day and night, drawing them from the field, and parties were engaged burying them in deep, large pits; how many were put into one of these places, no one knows, but we do know that after all their efforts for two days and nights under a flag of truce, to get their dead and wounded out of our sight, piles of them, from ten to thirty in a place, are still unburied, and lying upon the field, while every house and yard within from three to five miles of us, are filled with their wounded and dying. Three thousand I consider a moderate estimate upon their loss.

The fight continued unceasingly until darkness put an end to the deadly conflict for the night. We bivouacked that night upon the field, expecting to renew the fight at early dawn in the morning, but when morning came the enemy were not to be found. They had retreated during the night, leaving a party with a flag of truce to bury their dead, and care for the wounded.

Their army was well supplied with new arms and ammunition, of English manufacture, and of a superior quality. They were completely broken up, and demoralized, and I expect the next we see of them will be at Fort Smith, where they may make another stand behind their intrenchments.

The Iowa First cavalry held the post of honor during the fight, being the reserved troops, supporting the artillery, and held in readiness for any desperate emergency that might arise, but the presence of the regiment upon the ground in front of their flanking regiments, caused them to fall back under cover of the woods, and abandon every such attempt.

Why it is I cannot tell, but the very name of the “Iowa First” strikes terror to the hearts of their troops, many of whom are from Missouri, and were compelled to flee before us to this State--and to that cause more than any other I attribute our wonderful success and escape during the day.



Chicago Tribune narrative.

camp Thirty-Seventh Illinois Vols., battle-field, Prairie Grove, Dec. 10, 1862.
On this beautiful morning, as I write, the sun shines out clearly and brightly, and the hum and bustle in our camp is as plain and cheerful as though battle smoke had not hung like a pall over this valley three days ago; and none, to look around, would suppose that in that time many of our brave men had been made martyrs by death or heroes by wounds. But the smoke has floated away on the winds which now serve to purify the air. The bodies of the dead are mostly gathered home, and over their last resting-place the volleys have been fired, and the wounded whose groans of agony filled and frighted the night of the seventh of December have been carried to the hospitals to be cared for in the best way possible under the circumstances.

The excitement of the day has passed, also, and we can now sit down and write coolly of the incidents of a day which has given this little spot a place in history, and given another step forward in the effort for the maintenance of our Government to the armies which have sprung up as if by magic and rallied to the flag of the Union.

An actor in a battle has not perhaps the best opportunity of describing all the moves in the grand but terrible scene going on, but he can at least give accurately a description of that part which he acted. And so though I shall strive to do all justice, you will expect me to refer more particularly to the part of my own regiment and those immediately connected with us in the proper place. The Second and Third divisions of the army of the frontier, under Gen. Herron, on the morning of the fourth of December, were camped, the Third on Flat Creek, twenty-nine miles south-west of Springfield, Mo., and the Second some six miles nearer the same place. :)n that morning we started at three o'clock, on the march for (Gen. Blunt, who lay at Cane Hill, threatened by an overwhelming force of the rebels. On that day the Second division marched twenty miles, and on the fifth they marched twenty-three miles; on the sixth marched twenty-six miles, and starting at midnight of the sixth, marched on the seventh to our present position, a distance of thirty miles, arriving about half-past 1 o'clock P. M. On the last ten miles of our march we had been cheered by the music of cannon, from which we knew that the Third division in advance of us were engaging the enemy. Already the news of the rout of our cavalry and capture of eighteen or twenty of their wagons had reached us, and from this we knew that a powerful and determined enemy was before us, and that Gen. Blunt needed our assistance, which had arrived just in time. Arriving on the field, we immediately formed line of battle, and the battle opened as all modern battles do, with the thundering of artillery, and just here, while our artillery is at work and doing splendid work too, as we lay in line supporting it, let me describe the position the enemy had chosen on which to meet us. Instead of Prairie Grove, this should be called Grove Prairie, for it is a beautiful open valley lying between these hills, which forms Arkansas, running east to west some five miles long and one mile wide, bordered on either side by a range of heavily wooded hills and watered by Illinois Creek. On the range of hills on the south side, rising abruptly in some places, and in all places rapidly, till some thirty to fifty feet high, and then sloping gradually back for one and a half miles, the rebels had planted their batteries and formed their line of battle. Across this valley, then, we witnessed an artillery duel, proving as at Pea Ridge, and all Western battles, the superiority of our guns and practice. This could not last long, however, for the rebel batteries were


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