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308

THE GERMAN CAMP AT NIGHT

cut off, and that they must win on the morrow, or surrender as prisoners of war; yet they exhibited no discouragement. The regiments had been dreadfully thinned—the enemy had gained their rear, and the prospect seemed gloomy enough. Curtis was oppressed with sad forebodings, and there was little sleep at headquarters that night. The gallant Sigel, however, who had returned from his long pursuit of the enemy, promised certain victory in the morning. In his German camp, the songs of the “Fatherland” stole sweetly out on the evening air, showing that his soldiers, like him, felt little anxiety for the result. Still the night was a painful one, and it was made still more sombre by the pitiful complainings of the poor mules which had eaten nothing for two days, and had not tasted water for twenty-four hours. All night long they made the air resound with their moans. But the heavy hours at length passed away, and the morning of the eighth dawned dull and gloomy.

The appearance of the enemy in the rear, made an entirely new order of battle necessary, and what was the rear became the front, and the whole force was concentrated to the north of the camp. Here, on a ridge, nearly two hundred feet high, sloping away behind, but precipitous in front, the enemy had, during the night, planted several batteries, while at the base, at the right, were other batteries and heavy bodies of infantry massed. A less force, similarly posted, was on the left. This was the enemy's position as the daylight revealed them, from which they could almost look down into our camp.

A road ran up towards this ridge, passing through one of those immense western corn fields, which gave ample room for displaying our force. Amid the white and withered stalks, our line of battle was formed. Carr, occupying the road and a portion of the field on either side, formed the center, while Davis was on the extreme left. On Sigel was to rest the fortunes of the day. This accom,

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plished officer saw that if he could turn the enemy's left flank, and drive him from the ridge, the battle would be

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Occasional shots were exchanged from early in the morning, but it was eight o'clock before the action became general. The cannoneers were all at their places the whole length of the line when the order to open iire was received. The battle of the previous day had filled the whole air with smoke, and there being no wind stirring to drive it away, it had settled down over the field; so that the sun as it now rose in the troubled sky, looked dim and red. For two hours after the action commenced, an incessant cannonade was kept up, and it soon became evident that the enemy's line was shaken by the superior accuracy of our fire, while he dared not advance in a decisive charge over the open field.

field. A battery of three guns to the left of the road was terribly galling to our troops, and it was resolved to take it. The Twelfth Missouri was selected for the undertaking, and just as the order to charge was given, a sudden gust of wind blew away the smoke, showing the exact position of the guns. The brave fellows accepted the omen, and dashed forward on the run. Breasting the storm of fire that smote them, they charged up to the very muzzles, and captured the pieces and held them under fire until support came up.

The enemy's line now began to waver, and it was evident they were preparing to withdraw. Two Indiana regiments were immediately thrown forward when the ranks in front of them sell back in confusion. The whole line then was ordered to advance and close the contest with the bayonet. A loud cheer rolled over the field, answered with a cheer from the enemy. Delivering their rapid volleys as they advanced, our troops were about to close with the bayonet when the whole rebel army turned and fled. Sigel had succeeded in turning the right flank and now pressed fiercely in pursuit.

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Over fallen trees which had been leveled by a hurricane, cavalry and infantry struggled frantically together, while shot and shell struck and burst in thcir midst. Down the slopes, over the fields they rushed, spr:rred on by Sigel's artillery, which strewed the ground with dead and wounded. The wooded and broken country rendered pursuit by cavalry impossible, or a large portion of the army would have been captured. Sigel however kept up the chase for twelve miles, and the next morning marched his exhausted but victorious troops back to camp. The routed army divided into two portions, and felling trees along the road behind them, succeeded in effecting its escape. The battle field, especially where Sigel's artillery had played, presented a ghastly spectacle. Amid dismounted cannon, broken carriages, shattered trees, and along the furrowed up earth, the dead and wounded, mangled by shot and shell, lay thick as autumnal leares. To add to the horrors of the scene, the woods, which had been set on fire by the shells, now began to blaze up in várious directions.

Our exhausted troops nade every exertion to rescue the bodies of friends and foes alike from the devouring flames, and nearly all were removed to a place of safety. A few however, who had fallen in secluded places, or crawled off to thickets, were overtaken by the fire, and their charred and blackened corpses were afterward found ly. ing amid the ashes and cinders of the forest. The rebels haa Indian allies in the fight, who in accordance with their savage custom, scalped those of our dead they were able to reach. . This afterward drew forth a stern remonstrance from Curtis, when Van Dorn, under a flag of truce, requested permission to bury his dead.

Our loss in killed and wounded was full a thoʻisand menthat of the enemy could only be conjectured-among them were the two rebel Generals, McCulloch and McIntosh. It was a nobly fought battle. The Iowa, Missouri and Indiana

JOHNSON GOVERNOR OF TENNESSEE.

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regiments covered themselves with glory, while the Germans had again proved themselves worthy of their heroic leader. Two of the regiments, while under fire, actually struck up a national song, and its loud chorus rang over the field making strange harmony with the stern roar of the artillery.

This victory settled the fate of Missoiiri. Price had strug. gled desperately to save the state to the southern confederacy, but failed at last.

It was evident that the rebel forces would not venture to give Curtis battle again, and he quietly went into camp among the hills and woods of Arkansas, while other acts in the great tragedy were being enacted on the Mississippi and Atlantic coast.

Andrew Johnson, former governor of Tennessee, had been appointed provisional governor of the state, and entered on his duties, while the great army of the west was slowly moving southward in rear of the enemy. The latter immediately began to concentrate his forces preparatory to a great decisive battle. A. Sidney Johnston effected a junction with Beauregard, who commanded at Memphis, while Bragg was ordered up from Mobile, with nearly the whole army that had been stationed in its vicinity. From every part of the south-west, troops were hurried forward to resist the advance of the “northern hordes,” and in a short time a mighty army was assembled at Corinth. Towards this point, car various divisions began slowly to move, and all eyes were turned thither in expectation of a battle that should settle the fate of the valley of the Mississippi.

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FOOTE MOVES AGAINST ISLAND NUMBER TEN.

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In the mean time, Foote, having got his gun boats ready, moved down towards Island Number Ten. Seven gun boats, ten mortar bouts, and a large fleet of transports filled the

312

MORTAR PRACTICE.

river as far as the eye could reach, and it was believed that nothing could long stop their victorious progress towards New Orleans. Each of the mortar boats carried a mortar weighing seventeen thousand one hundred and eighty pounds, and throwing a shell weighing, before loaded, two hundred and fifteen pounds. · Impelled by a charge of twenty-three pounds of powder, this ponderous missile would reach a distance of over two miles.

These were finally got into position along the banks on the Fifteenth, and opened fire on the enemy's works. They were of the most formidable character, consisting of batteries both on the island and bluffs on the main shore, in which guns

of the heaviest caliber were mounted.

The fire of the mortar boats was found to be less effective than had been anticipated. The several batteries were small objects to hit two miles off, by shells thrown at an angle of forty-five degrees. Had it been a large inclosed fortification, filled with troops, on which the fire was concentrated, the destruction would have been terrible; but here, an ex: actness was required, that it was impossible to attain. The slightest puff of wind, acting on a shell in so long a flight, would frustrate the nicest mathematical calculation. It was soon evident, that if they alone were to be relied on, the enemy would be able to maintain his position for an indefinite length of time. The gun boats might have succeeded in demolishing the works, but Foote thought it too hazardous to engage the batteries down stream on the rapid current of the Mississippi; for the slightest accident to their machinery would leave them to drift directly under the enemy's guns, where they would be quickly sunk.

The bombardment however, went on day after day, while other means of reducing the place were carefully canvassed. Thus for weeks it was almost a continuous thunder peal along the shores of the Mississippi

. When the gunners fired of

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