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[536] stragglers as he could find, and at the same time to ascertain, while out, the whereabouts of the enemy.

He had proceeded not more than a mile and a half from Pleasant Hill when he came upon a large body of rebel cavalry, who were within close support of solid phalanxes of infantry, the bayonets of which gleamed through the dense woods wherever the sun's rays penetrated. According to his instructions, Colonel Gooding commenced falling back slowly and in good order, at the same time continuing to reply to the fire of the enemy. While thus retreating, Colonel Gooding lost some thirty men, killed, wounded, and missing, and it was at this period that Captain Basset and Lieutenant Hall, of the Second New-York veteran cavalry were severely wounded, Lieutenant Hall surviving his injuries but a short time. Colonel Gooding had a very narrow escape from instant death, a Minie ball cutting the crown of his felt hat in two places.

We had barely finished our frugal meal at four o'clock on Saturday afternoon, when the previous quietude was suddenly disturbed by the roar of the enemy's artillery and quite rapid musketry firing on our left. During the forenoon, General Banks had evidently decided upon a retreat, as a large body of troops were ordered to fall back to Grand Ecore, thirty-five miles distant. Among the troops sent back were Colonel Dudley's and Colonel Gooding's cavalry brigades, the remnant of the once formidable Thirteenth army corps, several batteries, and nearly, if not all, of the colored troops, as I could not learn of any of the latter participating in Saturday's fight.

Hundreds of wagons were likewise sent to the rear. In fact, preparations were made to fall back to Grand Ecore on Saturday night. The reason for this retrograde movement was the lack of subsistence for our troops, and forage for our horses. The report of our anticipated retreat was received with expressions of dismay and disgust by the officers of the Sixteenth army corps, all expressing a desire to press on toward Mansfield, some fourteen miles distant, the point where Friday's disgrace occurred. From Mansfield, it was General A. J. Smith's intention to push a sufficient force toward Red River, eighteen or twenty miles, where a junction could have been formed with the balance of his forces, some two thousand men, belonging to the Seventeenth army corps, and under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Kirby Smith.

Here our transports were ordered to rendezvous until further instructions were received. Our commissary and ammunition boats were to be met at this point, and after establishing communication, it would have been an easy matter to supply our men with rations for ten days or more, enabling them to pursue the enemy, who, we learned from undoubted authority, were in want of water, which could not be found within fourteen miles of the battle-field. Our forces controlled all the water within a circle of ten or twelve miles, and the rebels suffered severely for want of water. This fact is corroborated by the prisoners whom we captured on Saturday.

The weather on Saturday was most unpropitious for a fair fight. The morning air was intensely cold, and a more cheerless, disheartened sea of bronzed countenances I never beheld. Each private seemed to comprehend the vast magnitude of our needless disaster. There was a gloomy silence apparently pervading every camp, and we could hear no gladsome shouts of victory ring throughout the decimated ranks. It is useless to deny that the universal opinion of the rank and file was that our repulse was an ignominious defeat, which ordinary generalship might have foreseen and prevented.

The wind howled piteously through the trees, fanning the long pendants of gray, funereal-like moss which decked the tops of the tall, waving cypress and pines. The sky was shrouded with portentous clouds, while dense volumes of dust partially concealed the long pontoon-trains as they rumbled heavily to the rear. At halfpast four o'clock precisely, the rebel cavalry advanced toward the right and centre, the exultant foe yelling in the most fiendish manner, at the same time brandishing their sabres in the air.

On they came, at a slow trot, in good order, as they neared our lines gradually quickening their pace, while close in their rear came the three solid battle-lines of the enemy, shouting an indescribable battle-cry, which would cause the nerves of the timid to vibrate, reminding one of all the ferocity of savages. From out the woods belched the enemy's artillery, when there arose from the crouching forms of several thousand loyal men a fearful roll of musketry, opening wide gaps in the rebel lines; but they were as speedily closed, and the enraged foe, with a sudden dash, threw his gigantic force against our front, and for a moment our whole line seemed to waver, giving way a few yards.

The suspense of this fearful moment was terrible to bear, for it did seem to portend defeat. In another moment our artillery scattered grape and canister in appalling quantities upon the exasperated enemy, literally mowing them down as with an enormous scythe. With deafening cheers, and waving of starry banners, our lines pressed on the rear lines, going into the latter conflict at the “double-quick.” It was now five o'clock, and the battle was at its highest, raging with unabated fury, the long and deadly roll of musketry continuing until night, spreading her sable mantle over the bloody picture, screened the combatants from each other's view, and put an end to that day's hostilities.

There was something more than solemn grandeur in the scene at Pleasant Hill at sunset on Saturday, April ninth. Standing on a slight eminence which overlooked the left and centre of our lines, I could see the terrific struggle between our well-disciplined troops and the enemy. The sun shone directly in the faces of our men, while the wind blew back the smoke of both the enemy's fire and that of our own gallant men, into our

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