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SIGEL CUTS HIS WAY THROUGH THE ENEMY. 303

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One of these, under Colonel Vandever, in obeying the order,
made a forced march of forty-one miles, with but three halts
of fifteen minutes each the whole distance, and arrived at
headquarters only the night before the battle. Considering
the country this was a most extraordinary march. General
Sigel was near Bentonville-Davis at Sugar Creek, and Carr
at Cross Hollows, all of whom hastened at once to head-
quarters at Pea Ridge. Sigel received his orders on the
fifth, and the next morning with less than fifteen hundred
men, began his march. Two hundred infantry were sent
forward to prevent his being cut off, but the scouts soon
came in, reporting that the rebels, four thousand strong, were
rapidly moving down upon his line of march. This skillful
commander saw at once his danger, but with that cool, confi-
dent manner which characterized him, prepared to meet it.
The teams were hurried off at a tearing pace, in order to
leave him disencumbered, and a courier dispatched in hot
haste to camp for succor, and then the ranks closed firmly
up. He had scarcely completed his preparations before the
enemy appeared, and making the air ring with their shouts
and yells, advanced boldly upon his little band of Germans.
The latter waited till they were within two hundred yards,
when the word "Fire" ran along the steady line. A terrible
volley of Minie balls smote the front rank of the rebels,
shriveling it up like a piece of parchment. They staggered
back at the murderous fire, but in a few minutes their offi-
cers, by riding along their front, with gestures and appeals,
rallied them again, when they came on still nearer than be-
fore. Breasting the first volley, they still pressed on, when
a second smote them. Swaying a moment before this, they
once more rallied, and with hoots and cheers and oaths that
turned the field into a pandemonium, made a last effort to ad-

So desperate was the onset that some of their cavalry
setnally got in the rear, and the battle seemed lost, when a

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304

DISCIPLINED VALOR.

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third volley, and a headlong charge of the bayonet sent them broken and discomfited back. Maddened at this stubborn resistance, the rebel officers once more re-formed their men for a third, still more desperate assault. It was now two o'clock in the afternoon, and Sigel was still seven miles from camp. The prospect before him was gloomy enough. He had not heard from Curtis, and began to fear his messenger had been cut off. Still undismayed, however, he closed up his thinned ranks, and firmly awaited the attack. In orerwhelming numbers--four to one--the enemy now dashed forward, firing as they came, and spurring their horses up to the very points of the bayonets. They completely cnveloped the little band, and for a time it seemed swallowed up in the engulfing flood. Clouds of smoke rolled around it, out of which arose cries and shouts, and incessant volleys of small

But still Sigel towered unhurt amid his devoted followers, and as long as he lived, that band, though slaugh. tered, could not be conquered. The enemy thought so too, and wherever his glancing form was seen, there the bullets fell like hail. One pierced his coat, another cut the visor of his cap, showing to what a deadly fire he was exposed, but he seemed to bear a charmed life, for not one touched his person. Ordering his men to clear the way with the bayo. net, they, with their deep German war cry, moved with un broken front on the foe, sweeping them like chaff from their path. Those western men were fierce fighters, but stood amazed at the disciplined valor that scoffed at numbers, and kept the ranks, though enveloped in flame, solid as iron. As the brave fellows paused to take breath, a courier dashed up announcing that reinforcements were close at hand, when a cheer that made the welkin ring, went up from the peleaguered band. The baffled enemy, knowing well what it meant, made a sudden dash to capture the train, but were again driven back, and the column, without farther molestation, effected

FIRST DAY'S BATTLE.

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its junction with the main army. All the divisions finally got safely in, and Curtis prepared for battle.

The morning of the seventh broke clear and bright, and the stirring sound of the drum and fife called every soldier to his feet. Curtis had taken his position on Pea Ridge, and receiving information that led him to believe that the main force of the enemy was coming from the westward, he sent out Sigel with his division to meet him, while Colonel Davis held the center on the ridge. The former advanced some three miles, when he came upon the enemy and opened with artillery. After a few rounds, the command to cease firing was received, and Osterhaus, with the Third Iowa cavalry; was ordered to clear the timber in front. The bugles rang

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dashed the squadrons. The enemy, however, was in much stronger force than Siegel supposed, and the cavalry was driven back in confusion. The rebels seeing their advantage, rushed aster with furious yells, and dashing on a battery of three guns, captured it. Their triumph, however, was of short duration, for Osterhaus, bringing up his Indiana regiments, led them fiercely forward. Delivering their rapid volleys as they advanced, they at length charged bayonet, strewing the ground with the slain, and recapturing their

guns, which they bore back with shouts. The artillery then commenced playing again, but after awhile the rebels abandoned their position, and fell back. Sigel then ordered a general advance, and pushing on, drove thein before him for two or three miles.

In the mean time, a force having appeared in front of Davis

, he moved forward, and after a short, severe contest, also drove the enemy back. But as he and Sigel followed up their success, neither found the main force of the enemy. These attacks were mere feints on their part, while the main army was quietly gaining our rear.

Colonel Carr with his brigade, had been sent out in the

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A CAVALRY FIGHT.

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morning in this direction, as a precaution against any possible move of this kind. While passing along through farms that stretched away from the road, he suddenly came upon masses of the enemy posted on a declivity covered with woods. It was now about nine o'clock, and Carr ordered Colonel Dodge to move to the right, and open with his artillery. He did so, and the enemy responding, a close artillery fight soon raged all along the line. Bodies of infantry in the mean time advanced on each other, and for more than an hour the conflict was hotly maintained without any

definite result, when another battery was ordered up to Carr's support. At the same time, the cavalry had made their way along the ridge, beyond the road by which the enemy had advanced, and were about to seize his wagons, when a brigade of rebel cavalry and infantry suddenly appeared. Instantly the bugles on both sides sounded the charge and these two bodies of cavalry, shaking their sabers above their heads, fell with loud shouts upon each other. First their carbines, then their pistols were emptied, but neither were arrested in their course, and they closed sword in hand. The clashing of steel against steel, rang like the hammers on a hundred anvilschargers plunged and reared, while the shrill bugle rang out over the tumult. The Texans fought furiously, but the better armed Missouri cavalry cleared their way through them, like reapers in a harvest, until overborne they fell back in disorder. The victorious squadrons pressed after, driving them back for a mile, when they came upon a heavy battery which completely swept the ground over which they were advancing. Immediately the bugle sounded the recall, and the column fell back. In the mean time, the battle raged furiously all along the lines, on both sides of the road, and Carr soon saw that he had the main army on his hands. Regiment after regiment kept arriving on the field, till he found himself in danger of being surrounded. He

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A BRAVE RESISTANCE.

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immediately sent back to Curtis for help, and in the mean time made desperate efforts to maintain his position. The occupation of a knoll on the east side of the road prevented the rebels from outflanking him, and this they determined at all hazards to gain, and at last by mere weight of numbers succeeded, but not till our force had left nearly half its number on its summit and slopes. Carr was now compelled to fall back to a new position.

Messengers had been hurrying to and from headquarters, but no reinforcements could be sent, for Sigel und Davis had not yet returned from pursuing the enemy.

Carr looked on his thinned division with gloomy forebodings.

6 Three batteries and two regiments, or night, or we are lost,” he exclaimed. He was now not more than a mile from cam, and yet he must still retreat. As a last hope, he resolved to inake one desperate effort to regain the knoll he had lost, as without it he could not maintain his position an hour longer. The chances were fearfully against him, but to allow himself to be driven back on the unprotected camp, was certain ruin. to the whole army. As the order to advance passed along the lines, a loud cheer from the returning column of Davis, announcing that help was near, was borne to the ears of the exhausted troops, nerving them to tenfold daring. Straight on the hostile battery that now surmounted the knoll, they moved with a determined front, and taking the fiery storm on their unshrinking breasts, swept it like a hurricane.

In this last gallant charge the rebel leader Mcculloch fell. The enemy now fell back in confusion, and night closed the

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Within a few hundred yards of cach other, the two armies lay down to rest, and prepare for the morning struggle. The dead were left where they had fallen, but their wounded were carefully picked up and carried where the wounds could be dressea. The soldiers Know that their retreat was

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