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[146] this was checked before disaster. On the left and center the fighting had become close, fierce, deadly. Apparently the enemy had gained a new lease of valor. Fresh troops were there, belonging to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth corps. Word had been passed along their line of battle that the Pleasant Hill road was essential to the plans, nay, to the very safety of the army. The dense woods preventing a clear view on our part of the field, the continuity of our line became somewhat impaired. However, Polignac and the other commanders rallied the men and led them again and again into action. Then, in addition to the denseness of the heights, there fell upon the field an added darkness. Both armies had been thrown by the darkness into some confusion. At the end Banks made no attempt to recover the ground from which his left and center had been driven. It was now observed, when the night fell, that both sides occupied their original fighting positions. When the night grew older, Banks retreated. The hour of retreat for his whole Federal army struck 3:30 a. m. on the 10th. He left 400 wounded in our hands. In further proof of the disaster which had fallen upon his arms, his dead remained on the field so lately abandoned by him.

While Pleasant Hill was still in the balance, Green, commanding the cavalry, was with his accustomed energy preparing under orders from Taylor to await the fleet at Blair's Landing, 16 miles from the Hill. In making this movement, Green found himself delayed by the lack of a pontoon. He finally succeeded in reaching the river near Blair's Landing. He had crossed only three guns and a part of his horse before the fleet on the 12th came hastily down the river. Taylor had felt well assured that the news of Banks' defeat would send the fleet hurrying down toward Grand Ecore, and so enable him to cut it off somewhere en route. Green, always prompt and fearless, at once engaged the fleet. As usual, it consisted of transports, crowded with troops,

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