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[598] between it and Parsons' brigade, so that the latter officer could not see that it had gotten into position. I immediately directed one of my staff officers to communicate these facts to General Parsons and to order him to make the assault without any further delay, as General McRae, to whom I had sent orders to that effect, would be advancing before he (General Parsons) could receive my order.

Both brigades moved forward on the instant, rapidly, steadily, unflinchingly, and in perfect order, under a storm of Minnie balls, grape and canister, which were poured upon them not only from the Graveyard Hill in their front, but from the fortified hills upon the right and the left, both of which were in easy range.

The enemy gave way before the impetuous assault of the attacking columns, which, entering the works almost simultaneously, planted the Confederate flag upon the summit of the Graveyard Hill.

Each brigade had done its allotted duty with equal zeal, devotion, and gallantry, and each is entitled to an equal share of the honor which justly attaches to those who discharge their duty as these men did, fearlessly, well, and successfully.

Being in possession of the hill, and finding that the captured guns had been shot-wedged, I directed my Chief of Artillery to bring forward the pieces which I had left behind. This he did as promptly as the difficulties of the ground would permit, but not until it was too late for them to be used in the action. Meanwhile a heavy fire was concentrated upon the hill from the four fortified positions, which the enemy still continued to hold, and from the hill-sides and ravines, under cover of which their sharpshooters delivered a well-directed and very effective fire, whilst the gunboat, which lay in front of the town, kept up an unintermitting discharge of its heavy guns.

Perceiving at once that the surest way to relieve my men from the disastrous effects of this galling fire, was to aid General Fagan to take the enemy's works upon my right, and receiving information at the same time, that that gallant officer had been repulsed in every attempt to assault those works, I sent to General Parsons an order directing him to move his brigade forthwith to the reinforcement of General Fagan. He replied to the officer by whom I sent the order, that General McRae (who was by his side at the time) would, with my permission, go to the assistance of General Fagan, whilst his (Parsons') brigade, being the stronger of the two, would hold the Graveyard Hill. Before this reply was brought back to me I sent another of my staff, by direction of the Lieutenant-General commanding, to deliver to General Parsons an order similar to the one already sent. General Parsons' reply having been meanwhile received, another order was sent directing him to hold the hill, and General McRae to reinforce General Fagan, as speedily as possible, with his brigade.

It soon became obvious, however, that both brigades had been so much weakened by their heavy losses in killed and wounded, and particularly in prisoners (the most of the latter having been captured in the immediate vicinity of the town, whither they had gone without orders from me), and by the straggling of those whom thirst and the intense heat of the day overcame, or who had become disheartened by the failure of the other assaulting columns, that I could not send any effective aid to General Fagan, without too greatly endangering my own position. It was equally obvious that, unless such aid could be promptly sent to General Fagan, the general attack upon Helena must fail. It was under these circumstances that I received an order from the Lieutenant-General commanding to withdraw my division. In compliance with this order my troops were withdrawn to a point about four miles from Helena, where they rested for the night, and resumed the march hither on the morning of the fifth.

The Lieutenant-General commanding was himself a witness of the conduct of my division. He saw the alacrity with which they advanced to the positions to which they had been assigned. He knows the steadiness and unfaltering courage with which they moved, in the midst of a deadly fire, over deep ravines and precipitous hills, obstructed with felled timber, to, into, and over the works which they had been ordered to take, driving everything before them. He himself was a witness of the undaunted bravery and enduring constancy with which, animated by his own inspiring example and gallant bearing, they stood unshaken in the very centre of that unceasing fire which was hurled against them from gunboat, from flats, and from rifle-pits. I am sure that he will pay them that tribute of praise to which their courage and endurance entitle them. The accompanying reports of Brigadier-Generals McRae and Parsons will explain in detail the part taken by their respective brigades, and point out to the Lieutenant-General commanding, such of their officers and men as are particularly deserving of mention. I have not been able to obtain perfectly accurate reports of the casualties of this division, but these may be stated approximately as follows:
McRae's Brigade46168133347
Parsons' Brigade59336369764

I will forward detailed reports of these casualties as soon as the lists can be carefully revised. The separation of the command will

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M. Monroe Parsons (9)
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