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[740] upon the centre. The assault was resisted with gallantry; but the troops, finding the enemy in the rear, were compelled to yield the ground, and fall steadily back. The road was badly obstructed by the supply train of the cavalry division, which prevented the retreat of both men and artillery. We lost ten of the guns of Ransom's division in consequence of the position of the train, which prevented their withdrawal. Repeated efforts were made to re-form the troops and resist the advance of the enemy; but though their progress was checked, it was without permanent success.

Brigadier-General W. H. Emory, commanding First division, Nineteenth corps, had been early notified of this condition of affairs, and directed to advance as rapidly as possible, and form a line of battle in the strongest position he could select to support the troops in retreat, and check the advance of the enemy. The order to advance found him seven miles to the rear of the first battle-ground. He assumed a position at Pleasant Grove, about three miles from the Cross-Roads, on the edge of the woods commanding an open field sloping to the front. The One Hundred and Sixty-first New York volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Kinsey commanding, were deployed as skirmishers, and ordered to the foot of the hill, upon the crest of which the line was formed, to cover the rear of the retreating forces, to check the pursuit of the enemy, and give time for the formation of the troops.

General Dwight, commanding First brigade, formed his troops across the road upon which the enemy was moving, commanding the open field in front; the Third brigade, Colonel Benedict commanding, formed to the left, and the Second brigade, General McMillan, in reserve. The line was scarcely formed when the One Hundred and Sixty-first New York volunteers were attacked and driven in. The right being threatened, a portion of McMillan's brigade formed on the right of General Dwight. The fire of our troops was reserved until the enemy was at close quarters, when the whole line opened upon them with most destructive volleys of musketry. The action lasted an hour and a half. The enemy was repulsed with very great slaughter. During the fight a determined effort was made to turn our left flank, which was defeated. Prisoners reported the loss of the enemy in officers and men to be very great. General Mouton was killed in the first onset. Their attack was made with great desperation, apparently with the idea that the dispersion of our forces at this point would end the campaign, and with the aid of the steadily falling river, leave the fleet of transports and gunboats in their hands, or compel their destruction. Nothing could surpass in impetuosity the assault of the enemy but the inflexible steadiness and valor of our troops. The First division of the Nineteenth corps, by its great bravery in this action, saved the army and navy. But for this successful resistance to the attack of the enemy at Pleasant Grove, the renewed attack of the enemy with increased force could not have been successfully resisted at Pleasant Hill on the ninth of April. We occupied both battle-grounds at night.

From Pleasant Grove, where this action occurred, to Pleasant Hill, was fifteen miles. It was certain that the enemy, who was within the reach of reenforcements, would renew the attack in the morning, and it was wholly uncertain whether the command of General Smith could reach the position we held in season for a second engagement. For this reason the army toward morning fell back to Pleasant Hill, General Emory covering the rear, burying the dead, bringing off the wounded and all the material of the army.

It arrived there at half past 8 on the morning of the ninth, effecting a junction with the forces of General Smith and the colored brigade under Colonel Dickey, which had reached that point the evening previous.

Early on the ninth, the troops were prepared for action, the movements of the enemy indicating that he was on our rear. A line of battle was formed in the following order: First brigade, Nineteenth corps, from the right, resting on a ravine; Second brigade in the centre, and Third brigade on the left. The centre was strengthened by a brigade of General Smith's forces, whose main force was held in reserve. The enemy moved toward our right flank. The Second brigade withdrew from the centre to the support of the First brigade. The brigade in support of the centre moved up into position, and another of General Smith's brigades was posted to the extreme left position on the hill in echelon to the rear of the left main line. Light skirmishing occurred during the afternoon. Between four and five o'clock it increased in vigor, and about five P. M., when it appeared to have nearly ceased, the enemy drove in our skirmishers and attacked in force, his. first onset being against the left. He advanced in two oblique lines, extending well over toward the right of the Third brigade, Nineteenth corps. After a determined resistance this part of the line gave way, and went slowly back to the reserves. The First and Second brigades were soon enveloped in front, right, and rear. By skilful movements of General Emory, the flanks of the two brigades, now bearing the brunt of the battle, were covered. The enemy pursued the brigades, passing the left and centre, until he approached the reserves under General Smith, when he was met by a charge led by General Mower, and checked. The whole of the reserves were now ordered up, and in turn we drove the enemy, continuing the pursuit until night compelled us to halt.

The battle of the ninth was desperate and sanguinary. The defeat of the enemy was complete, and his loss in officers and men more than double that sustained by our forces. There was nothing in the immediate position or condition of the two armies to prevent a forward movement the next morning, and orders were given to prepare for an advance. The train, which had been turned to the rear on the day of the battle, was ordered to re-form and advance at daybreak.


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