Heroism of the Third Iowa regiment at the battle of Pittsburgh Landing.
,” the correspondent of the West-Union Pioneer
, writes to that paper a graphic account of that portion of the great fight at Pittsburgh Landing
in which he participated.
He says the Third formed in line at the Landing
without orders, in just fifteen minutes from the firing of the first gun, and soon were off on the double-quick for the fight.
Coming up within sixty rods of the enemy, they opened fire, but the distance was too great for execution, and the enemy being in heavy force, they fell back to a less exposed position, behind a rail-fence, where they awaited the coming of the rebels.
The force opposed to them was the Pensacola
brigade, the flower of Beauregard
As was expected, this large body charged upon the Third, and of this charge we will let the Major
's graphic pen relate:
But we were beginning to get sleepy and wishing for a change of programme, when we discovered the enemy were preparing to make the charge.
On they came, a fine set of fellows, with beautiful banners and a line that nothing but what was in waiting for them could break.
On they came, steady and firm, their polished arms reflecting the bright sun and making one ‘snow-blind’ to look at them.
Ah! but 'twas a splendid sight as we peeped through the fence, with our guns all pointed plump at about the second button of their handsome uniform, but still they came, a line of them, reaching across the field, little thinking of what was in store for them as we lay there on our bellies, with our eyes squinted along the barrels of our guns.
We could hear the heavy tread of those deter-mined men, when presently they reached the eminence on the brink of a deep ravine, about thirty rods from us, and the order was given to fire!
Great God of Israel!
what a deluge of flame burst from the Iowa Third from behind their slender breastwork!
And it did not slacken.
That fine body of men stood as if mesmerized, while the line was falling like wheat before the reaper, scarcely returning the fire, and seeming to hesitate whether to advance or which way to turn, their ranks thinning out continually.
What could they do?
To advance would be certain death, and to retreat would be annihilation, while to deploy to the right or left would save a part, but woe to the hindmost.
The latter course was resolved on and away they started on a double-quick, off toward our left, but still keeping formed as well as they could, where whole files were dropping under our cruel fire, till at last all were through the field but about three hundred determined fellows, who must take their chance with our whole fire concentrated on them.
I don't know how many of them escaped to ‘tell the tale,’ but I know that the most of that little party fell on top of their companions who had gone that way before them.