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[314] generally believed that he had advanced beyond Jackson, and would join Gen. Sherman on the morning of the twenty-seventh.

A little before daylight on the morning of the twenty-seventh, a large rocket was seen to ascend several miles distant from our right centre in the direction where it was supposed General Grant would come in on the enemy's rear. This was believed by the troops to be the signal of his approach, and the enthusiasm of the men was greatly increased by it.

At daylight on Sunday morning, the enemy commenced the battle by a heavy cannonade on General Blair's brigade and General Morgan's division from the battery across the bayou, which the detachment from General Steele's division had been sent out to flank, and at the same time the conflict was renewed by General M. L. Smith's division, and the enemy in his front, Gen. Smith leading in person. After an hour's hard fighting, he drove the enemy from their position, and seeing that he could drive them across the bayou, started out to the front with his Chief of Staff, Chas. McDonald, Acting Adjutant-General, and two orderlies, to look for a place where he could cross his army in the pursuit, designing to keep the enemy between him and their batteries until he was ready to make a charge on the latter. He discovered a point where a sand-bar had formed in the bayou, and which could be passed without difficulty, and as he was in the act of turning his horse to return to his command, a volley of about seventy shots was fired at him from a force concealed in an adjacent canebrake. One of the shots took effect in his hip, the ball passing in an oblique direction, and lodging in his spine, where it was wedged so tightly that the surgeons could not remove it.

The wound is not supposed to be mortal, but it disables him from further service at present. He evinced great coolness on the occasion, merely turning to his Chief of Staff, and remarking: “Charley, I've got one of them.” He then rode on for half a mile as if nothing had happened, hoping to get to the rear without his men knowing that he was wounded, fearing its demoralizing effect on them. He was unable to proceed further, as he rapidly became faint from loss of blood, and had to be taken in an ambulance to his headquarters on one of the transports. The ball has since been extracted, while he was under the influence of chloroform, and his prospect of recovery is now good. He was wounded at a very inopportune moment, and the result was the loss of the advantage he had gained over the enemy, who now retreated successfully across the bayou and took refuge behind their intrenchments. The command then devolved temporarily upon Gen. Stuart, who seemed somewhat bewildered by the sudden charge which had devolved upon him, but in a short time he recovered his equanimity, and kept up during the day a constant skirmishing with his forces, but without accomplishing any thing of importance. The opportunity of successfully storming the enemy's batteries in that position was lost by the delay necessarily occasioned by the change of commanders, and it could not be regained.

In the mean time General Blair's brigade was busily engaged in building a bridge across the bayou by Mrs. Lake's house, which it succeeded in doing under a very heavy fire, and the brigade passed over in safety, with the loss of but few men. Among these was Col. John B. Wyman, Thirteenth Illinois infantry, who was killed by a ball passing through his right breast, and emerging below the right shoulder-blade. He was an efficient officer and accomplished gentleman, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.

Between General Steele's and General Morgan's divisions there was a long slough, making in from the bayou, and at a point extending into a lake by a few hundred yards extent. During the day it became a matter of importance to establish a communication between these two divisions, and Captains Green, Scammon, and Lokalski, of Gen. Steele's staff, were sent out to reconnoitre for a road. After much seeking, they found a place where infantry could cross, but which was impracticable for artillery or cavalry. As long as they advanced they saw no signs of an enemy, but when they started to return, they found the whole woods full of sharp-shooters, and they had to run the gauntlet for a half-mile amid the constant crack of rifles from foes concealed behind trees. They put spurs to their horses, and by rapid flight managed to escape unharmed.

There appears to have been thus far no general plan of battle, in which each commander was assigned a specific part, but the whole operations of the day seem to have been merely a series of skirmishes in which each division commander acted on his own responsibility. Orders were given promiscuously, and obeyed when they suited the ideas of the officer receiving them. In several cases, parts of brigades were taken in command by officers of other divisions than the one to which they were attached, and in one instance grave consequences very nearly resulted. Gen. Thayer had placed his brigade in line with the intention of crossing the bayou, south of Mrs. Lake's house, and had given orders that when the first regiment moved, the other three should follow. Gen. Thayer moved the first regiment forward, and under a heavy fire succeeded in crossing the bayou with considerable loss, and turned his men on a road through the woods, and was soon shut out from view of the remaining regiments, but naturally supposed they were following.

In the mean time Gen. Steele had sent word to Gen. Morgan that he needed reenforcements at a particular point, and asked for a regiment. Gen. Morgan thereupon ordered away the second regiment of Gen. Thayer's brigade, and the third and fourth followed them according to the orders issued by Gen Thayer. Gen. Morgan sent word to the latter of the chance, but the messenger being killed in crossing the bayou, Gen. Thayer had no knowledge of it, and when he reached the enemy's front, found himself in the face of a superior force without any support. He was compelled


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