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[160] General Churchill's orders. An officer was sent for General Churchill. After a half-hour's delay he was brought. He commanded the brigade to surrender, and it stacked its arms, though it had won every inch of the field over which it had fought for two days.

That gallant little band of about 2,500 men knew what it meant to continue the fight when surrounded by 60,000, and their lines swept by the enemy's fleet, but they were ready and willing to obey their country's commanding officer and lay their lives on their country's altar. To have attempted to take them by assault, with the whole military and naval forces that surrounded them, would certainly have succeeded in the end, but it would have been scored by a loss to the enemy of more than five times our number. I commanded the Tenth Texas regiment of infantry that was in Deshler's brigade, was with him, heard the conversation, participated in it, and know whereof I speak.

General Holmes, when advised of the expedition against Arkansas Post, had ordered Hindman's army to march at once across the State. It was at the most inclement season of this climate—snow, sleet and rain made the roads impassable, and overflowed the creeks and low places. The army literally waded from Van Buren to Little Rock, without tents, without ambulances, strewing the way with the mules which attempted to draw the scanty subsistence and ordnance. At Little Rock the drenched soldiers, in a heavy snowstorm, were housed partly by the citizens and partly in the workshops at the arsenal, and, hurried on transports, proceeded down the Arkansas river, but escaped the doom which might have been theirs also, by being too late to get into the trap. There was no more hope of defending that petty lunette against the assailing horde, supplied with such an armament, than of ‘damming the Nile with bulrushes.’

General Hindman's troops were returned on transports from Pine Bluff to Little Rock in rather sad plight, but were encamped south of the city, where they were soon made comfortable in winter quarters.

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