previous next

[556] signs of yielding, and night charitably threw her mantle over the ghastly scene, and enforced a cessation of hostilities.

The two divisions under command of General A. J. Smith, belonging to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth army corps, had reached Pleasant Hill, and were there halted, General Banks determining to withdraw his army to that point, for the sake of the advantageous position which he could there occupy, knowing that the enemy would follow what they supposed to be a demoralized army. In accordance with this plan of operations, all our men were quietly withdrawn from the enemy's front, and the line of march taken up for Pleasant Hill. This conjunction of his forces was satisfactorily effected, and the result confidently awaited. So well was the movement conducted that although the first body started at ten o'clock, and the remainder were not all under way until nearly day, the rebels had not the slightest suspicion of what was going on.

At seven o'clock on Saturday morning, our forces were all at Pleasant Hill, and the rebels were advancing, cavalry in front, endeavoring to discover our position. Colonel O. P. Gooding, with his brigade of Lee's cavalry corps, was sent out on the Shreveport road, to meet the enemy and draw him on. He had gone about a mile when he came upon the rebel advance. Skirmishing immediately ensued, and according to the plan he slowly fell back. The fight was very sharp between these cavalry bodies, and Gooding lost nearly forty men killed and wounded, inflicting, however, as much damage as he received. Among his casualties are Captain Becker and Lieutenant Hall, of the Second New-York veteran cavalry. Lieutenant Hall has since died of his wounds. Colonel Gooding made a narrow escape, a ball passing through and tearing the crown out of his hat, and grazing the skin. The brigade behaved very gallantly, covering General Emory's front until his line was formed.

The battle-field of Pleasant Hill is a large, open field, which had once been cultivated, but is now overgrown with weeds and bushes. The slightly elevated centre of the field, from which the name Pleasant Hill is taken, is nothing more than a long mound, hardly worthy the name of hill. A semicircular belt of timber runs around the field on the Shreveport side. General Emory formed his line of battle on the side facing these woods, General McMillan's brigade being posted on the right, General Dwight's on the centre, and Colonel Benedict's on the left. Taylor's battery L, First regulars, had four guns in rear of the left wing, on the left of the Shreveport road, and two on the road in rear of General Dwight's line. Hibberd's Vermont battery was on the right.

In the rear of Emory, and concealed by the rising ground, were General Smith's tried troops formed in two lines of battle fifty yards apart. All his artillery was in the front line, a piece, section or battery being on the flank of each regiment, the infantry lying between them. The Thirteenth corps was in reserve in the rear under General Cameron-General Ransom having been wounded the day before. General Smith was Commander-in-Chief of the two lines back of the crest, while General Mower was the immediate commander of the men. The commander of the right brigade in General Smith's first line was Colonel Lynch; the left brigade was Colonel Shaw's. The second line also consisted of two brigades, the right under control of Colonel----, and the left commanded by Colonel Hill. Crawford's Third Indiana battery was posted on the right of the Eighty-ninth Indiana infantry, and the Ninth Indiana battery on the right of the line of battle. The Missouri Iron Sun battery, and others whose names and numbers we could not ascertain, were also in this section of the battle.

The skirmishing was kept up with considerable vigor until about five o'clock in the afternoon, when the rebels had completed their arrangements for the attack. At about this hour General Emory's skirmish-line was driven in on the right by the rebels, who appeared in large force, coming through the timber above mentioned. They soon reached the open ground, and moved on to the attack in three lines of battle. Our batteries and infantry opened with terrible effect, doing great slaughter with grape and canister, while the enemy's artillery, being in the woods and in bad position, did scarcely any damage.

Colonel Benedict's brigade on the left was first engaged, soon followed by Dwight's and McMillan's. This fighting was terrific — old soldiers say it never was surpassed for desperation. Notwithstanding the terrible havoc in their ranks, the enemy pressed fiercely on, slowly pushing the men of the Nineteenth corps back, up the hill, but not breaking their line of battle. A sudden and bold dash of the rebels on the right gave them possession of Taylor's battery, and forced our line still further back.

Now came the grand coup de main. The Nineteenth, on arriving at the top of the hill, suddenly filed off over the hill and passed through the lines of General Smith. We must here mention that the rebels were now in but two lines of battle, the first having been almost annihilated by General Emory, what remained being forced back into the second line. But these two lines came on exultant and sure of victory.

The first passed over the knoll, and, all heedless of the long line of cannons and crouching forms of as brave men as ever trod mother earth, pressed on. The second line appeared on the crest, and the death-signal was sounded. Words cannot describe the awful effect of this discharge. Seven thousand rifles, and several batteries of artillery, each gun loaded to the muzzle with grape and canister, were fired simultaneously, and the whole centre of the rebel line was crushed down as a field of ripe wheat through which a tornado had passed. It is estimated that one thousand men were hurried into eternity or frightfully mangled by this one discharge.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Pleasant Hill (Louisiana, United States) (4)
Shreveport (Louisiana, United States) (2)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Emory (5)
A. J. Smith (4)
O. P. Gooding (3)
Dwight (3)
Dick Taylor (2)
McMillan (2)
R. M. Hall (2)
Benedict (2)
Andrew Jackson Smith (1)
George Shaw (1)
T. E. G. Ransom (1)
Joseph A. Mower (1)
W. F. Lynch (1)
S. P. Lee (1)
Charles Hill (1)
Hibberd (1)
James Crawford (1)
Cameron (1)
Becker (1)
N. P. Banks (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: