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[185] obvious, however, that both brigades had been so weakened by their heavy losses in killed and wounded, and particularly in prisoners (the most of the latter having been captured in the immediate vicinity of the town, whither they had gone without orders from me), and by straggling of those overcome by the intense heat and thirst, and that I could not send any effective aid to General Fagan without too greatly endangering my own position. It was equally obvious that unless such aid be promptly sent to General Fagan, the general attack upon Helena must fail. It was under these circumstances that I received an order from the lieutenant-general, commanding me to withdraw my division. In compliance with this order my troops were withdrawn to a point about four miles from Helena, where they rested for the night and resumed the march hither on the morning of the 5th.

The lieutenant-general commanding was himself a witness of the conduct of my division. He saw the alacrity with which they advanced to the positions assigned. He knows the steadfastness and unfaltering courage with which they moved, in the midst of a deadly fire, over deep ravines and precipitous hills, obstructed by felled timber, to into, and over the works which they had been ordered to take, driving everything before them. He was himself a witness of the undaunted bravery and enduring constancy with which, animated by his own inspiring example and gallant bearing, they stood unshaken in the very center of that unceasing fire hurled against them from gunboats, from forts and from rifle-pits. I am sure that he will pay them that tribute of praise to which their courage and endurance entitle them. . . . I must also commend the excellent discipline which General McRae maintains at all times in his brigade; the marked good sense and energy with which he conducted its march to Helena; the promptitude with which he has always obeyed my commands, and the earnest efforts which he made to reinforce General Fagan toward the close of the attack.

General McRae said in his report:

As soon as the command was massed in position, a general rush was made into the fort, and the works were

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James F. Fagan (3)
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