about 1 a. m. of the 5th.
French arrived about 3 a. m., uninformed of the Federal
reinforcements, and before daylight, while skirmishing was going on with the pickets, endeavored to gain the ridge commanding the town.
At dawn he resumed his march, and by 7:30 the head of his column was on the ridge about 600 yards west of the Federal
works, which consisted of three redoubts on the west of the deep railroad cut, and a star fort on the east, with outer works, abatis, stockades and other obstructions.
Meanwhile General Corse
had disposed his forces in and before his fortifications, with Tourtellotte
in command on the east of the cut. French sent General Sears
' brigade to the north of the works, while Major Myrick
opened fire with his artillery.
The plan was for Sears
to begin the fight, upon which Gen. F. M. Cockrell
's Missouri brigade would attack from the other side, supported by four Texas
regiments under Gen. W. H. Young
At 9 o'clock, when the troops were in position, General French
sent in a summons for unconditional surrender, to avoid ‘the needless effusion of blood,’ and gave five minutes for reply.
declined and the attack began.
struck the line on the west of the cut commanded by Colonel Rowett
, and after severe fighting, says Corse
, swept part of his line back like so much chaff.
was only able under cover of a heavy fire from Tourtellotte
to send an aide over for reinforcements.
Before they could arrive both Sears
and Young, according to Corse
's report, assaulted with so much vigor and in such force as to break Rowett
's line, and ‘had not the Thirty-ninth Iowa fought with the desperation it did, I never would have been able to bring a man back into the redoubt.’
After a desperate struggle, Rowett
brought his force, the Thirty-ninth Iowa, Seventh and Ninety-third Illinois into the redoubts, where they were reinforced by the Twelfth and Fiftieth Illinois from the east side of the cut. The Confederates gained