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[559] fell from his horse, shot through the left knee, and was carried to the rear just in time to prevent his capture. This is the fourth time that General Ransom has been wounded while fighting bravely for his country. With a courage that shrinks at no danger, he unites a clear and cool judgment on the battle-field that is rarely found in men of the largest experience, and though he could not have saved us from the disaster of this day, had he remained unhurt, still we all felt how seriously we had been weakened by his fall, and both officers and men unite in awarding to him the highest praise for his conduct as a man and a general on the field.

The effort to retire the Fourth division and form a new line in the rear was defeated by the rapid movements of the enemy, who rushed in overwhelming force across the road, captured Nim's battery, drove Dudley's cavalry in utter confusion from the field, and turning the left flank of the infantry, broke the entire line and precipitated the fragments into the woods in every possible direction of escape. The scene that followed baffles all description. Over the field and into the dense and tangled thicket the routed troops fled in disordered masses, followed by the exultant foe, yelling like demons and pouring volley after volley into the fugitive ranks. The effort to arrest or drive back the panic-stricken crowd was like flinging straws back at a hurricane. Appeals, commands, threats, curses or prayers, were alike of no avail. Literally oblivious to any thing but the danger behind, men on foot and men on horseback, promiscuously intermingled with negroes on foot and negroes on mules, charged into the forest and through the thicket in a manner that would have utterly routed the foe if the tide had only set the other way. Amidst this rushing storm the Commanding General remained cool and collected.

About a half a mile from the field, the Third division, Thirteenth army corps, under General Cameron, came up and formed in line of battle, and here two guns of the Mercantile battery were put in position and opened with good effect upon the enemy. For a short time it seemed as if a successful rally would be made at this point, but the effort was in vain. The entire strength of the Third division on the field was only one thousand six hundred men, and after a short and courageous resistance, the line gave way. A check, however, had been given to the panic, and many of the troops formed into squads and continued the retreat in better order. Efficient aid was also rendered by Colonel Robinson, commanding a cavalry brigade detailed to guard the trains, who, hearing the rapidly approaching firing, hastened with a large portion of his command to the front, and wheeling into line in perfect order, delivered a most destructive volley into the rebels who were swarming in the road, and then fell back in good order. For full a mile from the place where Cameron's division had met us, the retreat was continued, the rebels following closely upon our heels, and keeping up a continuous fire, when all at once, as we emerged into a more open piece of woods, we came upon Emory's division, of the Nineteenth army corps, forming in magnificent order in line of battle across the road.

Opening their ranks to permit the retreating forces to pass through, each regiment of this fine division closed up on the double-quick, quietly awaited the approach of the rebels, and within less than five minutes on they came, screaming and firing as they advanced, but still in good order and with closed ranks. All at once, from that firm line of gallant soldiers that now stood so bravely between us and our pursuing foes, there came forth a course of reverberating thunders that rolled from flank to flank in one continuous peal, sending a storm of leaden hail into the rebel ranks that swept them back in dismay, and left the ground covered with their killed and wounded. In vain the rebels strove to rally against this terrific fire. At every effort they were repulsed, and after a short contest they fell back, evidently most terribly punished. It was now quite dark, and each party bivouacked on the field. A sad and fearful day it had been to us. The Third and Fourth divisions, Fourteenth army corps, were completely broken to pieces. Out of two thousand six hundred men in action, the Fourth division had lost one thousand one hundred and twenty-five men killed, wounded, and missing; and the Third division, out of one thousand six hundred men, had lost three hundred and fifty. Every brigade commander of these two divisions was either killed or wounded and a prisoner. Dudley's and Duncan's brigades of Lee's cavalry were scattered in every direction, and seventy of the cavalry baggage-wagons, with all of General Cameron's ambulances filled with our wounded, were captured.

The Chicago Mercantile battery was gone, Captain White wounded and a prisoner, with twenty-two men of the battery missing. Nim's battery, the First Indiana, and two guns from battery G, Fifth United States regulars, had fallen into the hands of the enemy, with the four howitzers stationed on the right and left of our infantry line, in all, eighteen field-guns and four howitzers, with caissons and equipments complete. Colonel Webb, of the Seventeenth Illinois, fell early in the day while skirmishing with the advance. Major Reed, commanding the One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois, was killed on the right, and Captain Dickey, (a son of Colonel T. L. Dickey,) on General Ransom's staff, was shot while carrying an order to the Nineteenth Kentucky, in the woods on the right. As you will doubtless receive a list of killed and wounded as soon, if not sooner, than this letter, I will not name any others here. The loss on the side of the rebels must have been very severe. They suffered severely while crossing the field on our right, and still more from the fire of Emory's division. So much will of course be said and written in regard to the causes that led to the disaster of this day, that I feel justified in making a few suggestions upon this point.

First, the forces under General Lee were decoyed

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