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[209] Officers and men were killed or wounded in their beds, and large numbers had not time to clutch either arms or accoutrements.

Nevertheless, few prisoners were taken, nor were many either killed or wounded in the first stage of the battles. Hilderbrand's Brigade of Ohioans, swept by the violence of the onslaught from its campaign, scattered, and was heard of no more as a belligerent organization on that field. Prentiss' Division, rallying, was formed in good time on a neighboring ridge, but, little able to stand the torrent that streamed after it, was swept further back.

Meanwhile, Sherman's rightward brigades, which escaped collision with Hardee, he had had time to form, and with them right manfully did he strive to make head against Ruggles' Division of Bragg's Corps, that by this time had come upon the scene and bore down vehemently upon them. As we have said before, the position held by Sherman was one of natural strength; with a small watercourse in front, it afforded a converging fire upon the approaching Confederates.

McClernand, appraised of the attack, was also advancing to support him. Such, however, was the vigor of the assault that Sherman, with the loss of five or six guns, was forced back just as McClernand came up. They were both then swept rearward, near the line of the crossroad from Hamburg to Purdy. There Sherman, with McClernand, gained a foothold, and, with several batteries favorably posted, made another stand on a thicklywooded ridge with a ravine in front. But, speedily assailed by Ruggles and some of Polk's Brigades, with a fury not to be withstood, the Federal line again yielded, losing several pieces of artillery, and receding to the position of McClernand's encampment.

About forty minutes past 7 A. M., hearing the uproar in front, Hurlbut also sent Veach's Brigade of his division to support Sherman, and with his other two brigades moved swiftly to the succor of Prentiss, who had called for aid. With these went forward eight companies of cavalry and three batteries. Prentiss' Division was met, however, in broken fragments, which filtered through his lines as Hurlbut formed in the edge of a field, sheltered by timber and thick undergrowth, near the Hamburg Road, south of the position last taken by Sherman and McClernand. There Hurlbut was also speedily assailed by the

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