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[301] by the fire of the gunboats lying in its mouth. Over this ground, divided and thickly wooded, a continuous line of battle was impracticable. General Beauregard, seeing that nothing but a concerted and well-supported attack, in heavy mass, could, that evening, strike the finishing blow by which the enemy would be crushed, ordered the corps commanders, on the right and left, to make a hasty reorganization of the troops under their control, for a combined onslaught, while he, at the centre, should organize reinforcements for the line of attack in his immediate front. He caused all fragmentary bodies and stragglers, in his vicinity, to be brought up from the rear, and formed into such organizations as the emergency allowed, and they were thus carried forward to swell the line of battle.

The troops, however, were not pressed to the front in combined attack, as ordered, but in a series of disjointed assaults, with but little support from the batteries, many of which were allowed to remain inactive in the rear.1 These assaults were easily broken, and with slaughter, by the formidable weight of metal which girded the Federal position, supported by a still heavy force of infantry, reinforced by some of General Buell's troops, while the shells of the gunboats swept the long ravine which our different commands had to cross in assailing the bluff, and which formed their only rallying cover from the fire in front. The troops, moreover, were greatly disorganized; the commands were cut up and intermingled, and regimental organization was greatly confused. The corps commanders, then as throughout the day, continued to give examples of personal courage, but exhaustion and hunger nullified

1 In his Report, ‘Confederate Reports of Battles,’ p. 324, Captain Hodgson, writing of the charge made by the 18th Louisiana, and, subsequently, by the Orleans Guard battalion, at four o'clock P. M., or about that; time, says: ‘This was about the last firing of my battery, on the 6th instant.’

Captain Ketchum, in his Report (ibid. pp. 340, 341), says: ‘Colonel Pond's fine brigade was badly cut up in a charge on a battery, in one of these camps, which, I have always thought, might have been avoided, had my battery not been withdrawn from the advance I was making on this camp.’

General Chalmers, in his Report, p. 260, says: ‘During this engagement, Gage's battery was brought up to our assistance, but suffered so severely that it was soon compelled to retire.’

See also Pond's and Mouton's Reports, as to the separate and isolated action of their commands.

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