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*OS JORNS FI165 TO THE RESOUE.
to the right. All now was hot haste-artillery went bound. ing across the field; swift riders galloped hither and thither with orders, and Rosecrans, exclaiming “ Mount, gentlemen, vaulted into the saddle, and striking the spurs into his steed, launched away like a thunderbolt. His face was like ashes, his lips closed like a vice, and a dangerous light burned in his flashing blue eye.
His entire staff and escort pressed after him as he dashed forward into the fire. Horses and riders go down almost within reach of his sword—but, though his life at this fearful moment is worth twenty thousand men, he flings it without a moment's hesitation into the scale. The fugitives darken the fields, and the panic-stricken trains block the roads, but nothing can stay his course. Orders seem struck like fire from his lips. Down Harker's front of battle, shot and shell shrieking through his escort, he gallops, and mounting the only eminence near, draws rein on the top. Here, a sight appalling enough to daunt the stoutest heart, meets his eye. The smoke of battle rests in clouds over the valley below, rent ever and anon with terrific explosions—the dark cedar thickets are ablaze with volleysthe fields are black with his broken battalions, among which artillery wagons are plunging-and the chaos and wreck of a lost battle-field are all around him. Seeing a hostile battery playing with deadly effect on Harker's brigade, he shouteú to the Chief of Artillery, “Silence that battery!” and planting the guns himself, again galloped off through a whirlwind of shot. He was skirting the edge of a thicket, when he met Sheridan leading back his diminished, but compact and heroic column. The gallant leader, as he met him, pointed back to it, saying, “Here is all that is left. General; we have no cartridges, and our guns are empty.” Rosecrans himself directed him where to find ammunition, and in a few minutes the brave fellows were again facing the
A GALLANT STAND.
By this time, the right wing of the center, under Negley, left exposed by Sheridan's retreat, was outflanked. An aid dashed up to Thomas with the startling intelligence that the enemy was in his rear. There was no alternative, and Thomas, in a bitter tone, replied, “ Cut your way out." "Men, we must cut our way out,” shouts Negley. The proud Stanley closes up his strong battalions—the other commanders catch the inspiration—the Eleventh Michigan and Nineteenth Illinois move forward with the bayonet, the Twenty-first Ohio does the same, and the victorious, exultant foe is rolled back in confusion. The rear is clear, and the division falls steadily back with its guns.
What was left of the army was now swung round, and stood nearly at right angles to its former position. The left still clung to its position on the river, for when that should be yielded, all would be gone. Not like Sheridan must Palmer now fight, till his ammunition is exhausted, and then fall back, but fight and die where he stands. But with the falling back of Negley, the right brigade of this division also retired for a space, and Hazen, commanding the left extremity, alone held his ground. Rosecrans but little knew, at this moment, on what an apparently slender thread the fate of his army turned. But, luckily, Hazen embraced the whole danger of the condition of things. He knew, if it came to the worst, he must die there. It was not left to him to seek a new spot on which to fight. The enemy also knew that he held the key of the whole position, and fell upon him with tenfold fury, but he stood rooted rock-fast to the ground, and swept the deep on-coming columns with a wasting fire. But, at length, his ammunition gave out, and he sent off every staff officer for more. In the meantime, whether it came or not, he determined that his brigade should stand there and die, rather than yield. He ordered one regiment to fix bayonets, and another that had none, to club their muskets, and so meet the foe. At
length, he received his ammunition, and what was needed just as much, reinforcements.
All this time, Rousseau and Sheridan had maintained a firm front. Opening their lines to let the fugitives pass through, they closed firmly again, and presented a solid wall on that broken, tumultuous field. In the meantime, Rosecrans, galloping from point to point, and followed furiously by his staff and escort, brought order out of confusion, and, infusing his own daring spirit into the troops, rapidly formed a new line of battle. He massed six batteries on the only commanding eminence near, which swept all the space over which the enemy must advance. The sun was shining brightly, and his beams revealed a waving forest of steel, as the long and glittering lines of the enemy, rank upon rank, , came with awful splendor over the broken fields. The movement of the columns was swift but steady, and many a heart stood still, or trembled at what might be the issue in the coming shock. Rosecrans knew his army was at stake, but, wound up to that pitch of lofty daring which defies fate itself, he awaited it without change of countenance. As the enemy came on, in magnificent order, those six batteries opened like the very jaws of Hell, and out of them poured a wild torrent of fire and death on the astonished enemy. Rent and distorted, still the columns reeled forward, bent on vio ory. Rosecrans sat on his horse a moment, to watch the qct of this orrible fire, and then seashed dow" to Beatty's brigade, which lay on the ground in the plain bexow. Spurring up to the very edge of the line over which the shot were sweeping like a hail storm, he cried, “Now, let the whole line charge! Charge home ! ” Springing to their feet with a shout that rose over the wild din, they hurled themselves on the enemy. The staff officers, catching the enthusiasm of their Chief, flung themselves along the line, with loud cheers, and caps waving in the air. Before
that fierce onset, the rebel line, as it struggles to bear up against it, halts, and shakes like a huge curtain over the fieldthen crumbles to pieces and disappears.
- There they go, shouted Rosècrans; "now drive them home!” They did drive them home, leaving the earth piled with dead. This was the turning point of the battle, and the whole line at once advanced
But, though repulsed, the enemy did not abandon the contest.. Re-forming his lines, with every reserve brought up, he again advanced in imposing array; but Rosecrans had now completed his line of battle, and neither numbers nor reckless daring could force it. About four o'clock, Bragg made his last attempt, and this time it was chiefly directed against Palmer's division, on the river. But Hazen, with his immortal thirteen hundred, still held the ground to which they had. clung with such marvelous tenacity during the day; and there, too, were the heroic Grose, Schaeffer, Hascall and Wagner, equally determined to hold that vital position to the last. Says Hazen, in his report: “About four o'clock, the enemy again advanced upon my front, in two lines. The battle had hushed, and the dreadful splendor of this advance can only be conceived, as all description must fall vastly short. His right was even with my left, and his left was lost in the distance." But this proud array had lost its strength; the confidence of victory was wanting, and at the first volley it wheeled and disappeared.
For a time, the heavy boom of cannon rolled over the field, and, here and there, volleys of musketry showed that detachments were still fighting; yet, at sunset, the battle
As the blazing orb sank to rest, his last look fell on a ghastly spectacle. The earth, torn, trampled and red, lay piled with thousands upon thousands—some, still and calm, as if in sleep, others mangled and blown into fragments, while bleeding arms and legs, without owners, lay
NIGHT AFTET THE BATTLE.
scattered on every side. Dead horses and shattered guncarriages helped to swell the frightful wreck, over which darkness, in mercy; soon drew its pall. Among the dead, was the young, accomplished, modest, yet lion-hearted Chief of the Staff, Garesche, He had never left the side of his Chief all day, wearing not merely a calm, but a gay and smiling air, through the wildest storm of battle. In the last attack, as Rosecrans dashed down the line, to throw the weight of his presence into the fight, a shell shrieking by him, in its flight struck Garesche in the head, carrying away all but the under jaw—and the spouting trunk, inclining gently from the saddle, fell headlong to the earth.
That night, there was a meeting of the Generals at headquarters. All acknowledged that the prospect looked gloomy enough. The enemy was only arrested, not beaten. He still held two-thirds of the battle-field, and had in his hands one-fifth of all our artillery. Seven brigadier-generals, and twenty colonels and lieutenant-colonels, were killed or missing The rebel cavalry had gained the rear, and it was üncertain if another pound of supplies or ammunition could reach the army; while seven thousand men, or one-sixth of the whole army, had disappeared from the field. The enemy, every one thought, would renew the attack in the morning. But Rosecrans, finding that he had ammunition enough on hand for another battle, made up his mind to fight it on that very spot. Mounting his horse, he rode to the rear to examine the country, and on returning, said, " Gentlemen, we conquer or die right here !" It was a clear, cold Decem. ber night, but, about midnight, the heavens became overcast, and the bitter rain came pitilessly down on the weary ranks, and on the dead and wounded that burdened the field.
Making some slight changes in his line of battle, and falling back a short distance to a better position, Rosecrans waited the developments of the coming morning.