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[29] now assumed command and the chief officers were called in council.] The question was a very perplexing one. Nothing had been heard from Colonel Sigel for a long time. No one could tell where he was or what he was doing. Should we move forward in pursuit of the enemy without knowing whether we should receive any support from Sigel, should we make a detour to the left and attempt to join him, or should we withdraw from the field?

At this time a considerable force of infantry was seen to move around the right of the position from which Sigel's cannonading had been seen some time before, and advance in column toward the front of our left wing. These troops wore a dress resembling extremely that of Colonel Sigel's men, and carried the American flag. The opinion was general that this was Sigel's brigade, and preparations were commenced to move to the left and front and join him. Meanwhile the column in front moved down the hill within easy reach of our artillery, but was permitted to march on unmolested until it had reached the covered position at the foot of the ridge on which we were posted, and from which we had been so fiercely assailed before. But suddenly a battery was planted on the hill in our front, and began to pour upon us shrapnel and canister, species of shot which had not been fired by the enemy before. At this moment the enemy showed his true colors, and at once commenced along our entire line the fiercest and most bloody engagement of the day. . . . Captain Totten's battery in the center, supported by the First Iowa and regulars, was the main point of attack. The enemy could frequently be seen within 20 or 30 feet of his guns, and the smoke of the opposing lines was often so confounded as to seem but one. Now, for the first time during the day, our entire line maintained its position with perfect firmness. Not the slightest disposition to give way was manifested at any point, till finally the enemy gave way and fled from the field. . . .

Thus closed, at about 11:30 o'clock, an almost uninterrupted conflict of nearly six hours. The order to retire was given immediately after the enemy gave way from our front and center, and Lieutenant Du Bois' battery at once took position with its supports on a hill in our rear. Captain Totten's battery, as soon as his disabled horses

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