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[176] who was on board the ‘Prince.’ There I met Colonel Smith,1 who ordered me back to camp as the gunboats had just commenced an attack on our batteries, and a large force of Federals were reported advancing on the Missouri side of the river. I had barely reached camp when the rattle of musketry and the booming of cannon announced that the battle had begun. Our regiment was ordered to to form in line and be ready to move at a moment's notice. One wild shout went up from a thousand throats at the prospect of meeting the enemy, and we were soon in line waiting with breathless anxiety for the command, ‘Forward march.’ Full two hours elapsed, the roar of cannon, and the rattle of musketry was incessant. We were beginning to fear that the Yankees would be whipped before we could cross the river, when a courier was seen to gallop up with an order for our Colonel—who turned to the regiment and gave the command, ‘Forward march.’ Never was a command more heartily obeyed. But as we descended the hill leading to the river, what a sight met our eyes. On the opposite shore we could plainly see the vandal hordes of Lincoln driving our men before them to the very brink of the river. The Confederates were apparently defeated, and were taking refuge under the river banks. The Federal flag was floating over the Confederate camp, and the enemy had captured our battery. At this critical juncture, our ‘big gun’ opened on them, and threw their lines into confusion. Under a terrific cannonade, we marched to the steamer and crossed the river under a heavy fire. General Polk crossed the river on the same boat with our regiment, and as the balls were falling thick and fast around us, a soldier said to him: ‘All right, General, we will have those guns turned in the other direction in a few minutes.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘You must retake that battery.’ But before we could land, General Cheatham had rallied our men, flanked the enemy, recaptured the battery, and was driving the Yankees like chaff before the wind. We joined in the pursuit of the flying foe, and chasing them for seven miles, came up with them as they were embarking in their boats. Our brave boys charged up to within fifty yards of their gun-boats, and in the very mouth of their cannon, poured volley after volley of musketry into the crowded decks of their transports. Their big guns belched forth their deadly vomit of iron hail, but with little effect, as our regiment came off with a loss of fifteen wounded and one killed. Their route was

1 Promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General and killed in the battle of Chickamauga.

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Preston Smith (2)
Leonidas Polk (2)
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