Finding that the further advance of the latter was barred by Pearce's brigade, and by a considerable force which was rallying under cover of the woods on the north side of the branch, he hurried back to the point where McIntosh was engaged with Plummer. On getting there he found the Confederates had won the engagement, and that there was no longer any danger in that direction. Taking four companies of the Third Louisiana that were nearest to him, and ordering McIntosh to bring up the rest, McCulloch now hastened toward Skegg's branch, determined to attack Sigel. Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser had already taken position with his own men, O'Kane's battalion, and Bledsoe's battery, on the west side of the Fayetteville road, and south of the branch, Bledsoe's three guns being so posted as to completely command Sigel's position. Sigel and his men were in blissful ignorance of all that was happening in their front, for between them and the valley in which their forces were gathered, stood a dense wood, through whose luxurious undergrowth no eye could pierce. Now and then a skirmisher or an adventurous officer would make his way to the bluff which overhung the little stream and catch sight of the smoke that darkened Bloody hill, and sometimes one, more daring than the rest, would venture far enough to see indistinctly what was going on in the upper part of the valley, toward the ford. At last one of these saw a gray-coated regiment hurrying down the road toward Skegg's branch. Knowing that the First Iowa wore a gray uniform, he at once concluded that this must be it, and such was the report he bore back to Sigel. The latter communicated the glad news to his men and warned them not to fire upon their approaching ‘friends.’ They waved their flags, instead, in joyful welcome. Just at this moment, Reid on the east, and Bledsoe on the west, opened fire upon them at point-blank range. ‘It is impossible for me,’ says Sigel, ‘to describe the consternation and frightful confusion which were caused by this unfortunate event. “They are firing against us,” spread like wildfire through the ranks. The artillerymen could hardly be brought forward to serve their pieces. The infantry would not level their arms till too late.’ The consternation and confusion deepened into a panic when about 400 of the gray-coated Third Louisiana, dashing up the
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