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[439] crossed Illinois Creek and deployed in front of the enemy. The latter, already decimated by the Federal cannon, massed his forces on the right to crush Herron's left. Then the Federal general assigned to the Nineteenth Iowa and the Twentieth Wisconsin the dangerous task of preventing the movement which threatened him, by carrying a battery that was preparing to support this attack. The two regiments climbed the hill upon the summit of which the battery was posted; they reached the crest in perfect order, and swept everything before them; they captured the guns and passed beyond them; but the Confederates returned to the charge with fresh troops, drove them back, recaptured the cannon which the Federals had taken, and, chasing them down the slope, charged upon the Union guns. These poured grape into their midst, causing them to waver; they hesitated in their turn, halted and finally fell back, leaving the ground strewn with the dead and wounded. Despite this successful resistance, the situation of Herron was becoming very critical. Seeing his left menaced, he sent for a brigade from the right, and hurled it against the enemy. This attack was followed by the same result as the preceding one. The impetus of the Federals at first carried everything before them, but they were soon driven to the foot of the hill by an offensive return of the Confederates. The latter began at last to feel conscious of their immense numerical superiority. Herron had put all his men under fire, and was barely able to hold the ground he occupied. It was but half-past 2 o'clock, and it would be difficult for him to sustain the struggle alone until night. He had received no message from Blunt, and nothing indicated the approach of this longed — for reinforcement, when suddenly a few cannon-shots were heard on the extreme right, and two or three balls buried themselves in the earth in the midst of the Federal skirmishers. At first this was mistaken for a new attack in flank, but all doubts were soon set at rest; it was Blunt's cannon announcing his arrival on the field of battle. This news, circulated from mouth to mouth, revived the ardor of the Unionists and restored their confidence.

Blunt had quickly discovered that the demonstrations of the enemy along his front were but a feint, and at once guessed the object of the march that Hindman had stolen upon him. He

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