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[265] of chivalry, Capt. Churchill Clark. A crimson ocean drawn from Hessian and Yankee veins would be no recompense for the loss of these heroic sons of the South. Generals Price and Slack, and Col. Carneal, were, with many others, wounded, the two latter seriously. Slack almost in the same spot he was shot at Springfield. Carneal has his shoulder badly bruised, and Gen. Price an ugly hole through the arm below the elbow. But I must tell you what came under my own observation during the conflict.

When the enemy left Cove Creek, which is south of Boston Mountain, Generals Price, McCulloch, Pike and McIntosh seemed to think — at least camp-talk amongst officers high in command so represented — that our united forces would carry into action nearly thirty thousand men, more frequently estimated at thirty-five thousand, than a lower figure. I believe General Van Dorn was confident that not a man less than twenty-five thousand were panting to follow his victorious plume to a field where prouder honors awaited than any he had yet gathered. Besides this, he under-estimated the number of our foes. In no case did our estimate reach seventy-five per cent of their actual number. It was believed that Curtis left Rolla with not more than fifteen or sixteen thousand men. A part, of course, would be left as they came along to hold Spring-field and other points. I am certain the enemy have more accurate information in regard to us than we of them; and, besides this, caution accompanies superior discipline.

Well, out we marched, with music and banners, thinking we had thirty-five thousand men “eager for the fray,” besides teamsters and camp-followers. The army went without tents, carrying a blanket each, with three days rations. Long and energetically did the poor fellows trudge on through mud and snow, until twenty-five miles were measured the first day. The second day discovered no abatement in their zeal, and the third morning confronted them with Sigel's forces in the environs of Bentonville. Gates's regiment, the battalion forming Gen. Price's body-guard, and the Louisiana regiment, charged and routed the enemy, the gallant Louisianians and Missourians rivalling each other in deeds of desperate valor, under the immediate eye of our heroic General. Sigel retreated several times, but with characteristic stubbornness, placing his batteries and receiving our charges, once or twice damaging the assailing columns very much, and in no instance losing a gun. In this way he moved backward toward where Curtis held the main wing. Quite a number of men were lost in this day's skirmishing on both sides, the Louisiana regiment being the greatest sufferer on our side.

And now I have clumsily brought you up to Friday, the day of the fall of McCulloch and McIntosh. At night a friend and myself, within five miles of Bentonville, rose and started for the scene of the impending battle. About nine or ten miles up Sugar Creek, north of Bentonville, I stopped to get a drink of water, my friend going on ahead. In a few minutes the Federal scouts, and then one of their regiments, galloped into the road, and occupied it just behind my friend and before me. I rode out into the brush, and then commenced the roar of cannon four miles in advance, where Van Dorn and Price pushed forward some six or seven thousand Missourians against twice that number of well-posted Federals. After listening some moments to the terrible tumult in the distance, suddenly, and within three hundred yards of me, two or three cannon opened their brazen throats, hurling their missiles of death through the undergrowth in almost every direction. As the sound of the cannon came the third or fourth time, like the noise in spring-time on the marshy margin of a lake, only more shrill, loud, and apparently more numerous than even the frogs, came the war-whoop and hideous yell of the Indians. Here I was unconsciously in the midst almost of McCulloch's charging squadron, and in range of a battery of three guns that were hurling death and defiance at them.

The battery was speedily charged and captured, those supporting it being borne backward three quarters of a mile by the impetuous forward press of the confederates. Their retreat, most of the way, was through a corn-field down a road upon its borders, but continuing into woods adjacent, full of undergrowth, where the main force of the enemy's strongest wing was posted. Here began the rattling musketry, which soon increased to a Niagara in sound. For hours there was hardly an intermission save that created by the stunning roar of the cannon, so close that the ears of both parties were deafened. Within this vortex of fire fell McCulloch and McIntosh. At one time, having concluded to make my way to the immediate command of General Price, after passing from the corn-field down to the edge of the woods, just as four of us entered the woods, a shell was thrown at us, bursting in our midst, but without injury to any of our party. We were brought to a stand-still, and in an instant another was shrieking in the same path. Whether any more came in the same direction I am unable to say. We yielded the place, not drawing off in as good order as people generally preserve at funerals. I then went leisurely over the corn-field, and rode back to the deserted guns.

About forty-five men lay in the space of two or three hundred yards to the rear of the battery, all save one entirely dead, and all but three Dutchmen. One was gasping in the agonies of dissolution--three were our comrades. Here was a sterner feature of war than any I had yet seen. The Texans, with their large, heavy knives, had driven skulls in twain, mingling blood and brains and hair. The sight was a sad one, but not devoid of satisfaction to our own exiles from home and wife. The character of the bloody victims, as denoted by their countenances, betoken victory for the South I looked upon the faces of many dead enemies that day, and among them all found no expression of that fixed fierce determination which Yankees describe as belonging peculiarly to the heroic hirelings who enlist for pay to desolate our homes. On the contrary, each face of the defunct

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John H. Price (6)
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