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[308] four o'clock P. M., the enemy, in a heavy column, marched out of the timber beyond the bayou, crossed the narrow neck between the bayous, and marched straight against Lee's centre. The column of attack was commanded by General Frank Blair, and moved up in fine and formidable array; but so deadly was the fire of Lee's line, and so steady were his men, that before the foremost enemy could come within one hundred yards, their lines were broken, the attack was repulsed, the Federals were retreating in disorder to the cover of the woods, leaving one thousand dead, wounded and prisoners on the field, and General Sherman was defeated, and from that moment abandoned all further efforts at an attack, and turned all his energies and attention to effect a safe retreat.

In no battle of the war was the disparity of numbers greater, or was the disparity in losses so great. Lee captured on the ground two hundred and fifty prisoners, officers and men, who, in their fright, had fallen down; our men thought them dead, until examination proved them to be entirely unhurt. Several hundred wounded were removed by Lee to his own hospitals, and more than one hundred were killed upon the field. Captain Hamilton, of Lee's staff, killed by the explosion of a caisson, was the only Confederate officer killed, ten others, privates, were killed, and this was Lee's whole loss, except thirty-eight wounded.

It was about the 22d of December when our little army at Grenada heard of the landing of Sherman's large force before Vicksburg, in our rear. Van Dorn had just gone off on his expedition, and those of us who knew his destination were in the deepest anxiety as to its result. This was relieved by the news of his complete success which reached us next day, the 23d, and on Christmas eve our hearts were gladdened by rumors of Grant's retirement from our front. Christmas day was brightened by the certain intelligence that Grant had fallen back with his whole army, and next day Maury's division marched to reinforce Vicksburg. Our advance entered the town as the last cannon-shots were booming on the battlefield, and we found troops and people in great exultation over Lee's victory, though still anxious for the results of the battle, which would be renewed, as we all believed, at dawn in the morning.

The night closed in stormy and very dark, but the troops found their suppers already cooked for them, and by 9 P. M. we were on the march for the battle-ground, six miles above the city. We were only four hundred, but we were veterans of many battles, and we knew the whole of our division would be up in time for the fight.

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