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144,

THE FINAL STRUGGLE.

But the enemy had been too severely punished to risk another determined attack, though, during the latter part of the day, there was some heavy artillery firing. In the morning, Beatty had been sent across the river with two brigades of Van Cleve's division, and occupied a hill commanding the

upper

ford. Bragg, seeing that delay only increased the difficulties before him, determined, on the next day to make another bold attempt to secure a complete victory. This time, his attack was directed against the left. About three o'clock in the afternoon, a double line of skirmishers was seen to advance from the woods in front of Breckenridge's position, and move across the fields. Behind them, came heavy columns of infantry, and it was evident the rebel right wing was bearing down on the small body of troops that had crossed the river the day before. It passed the

It passed the open cotton fields in three heavy lines of battle—the first column, in three ranks, six men deep-the second supporting the firstand the reserve column last. Three batteries accompanied this imposing mass, as it came down in splendid order. White puffs of smoke soon shot out from the hill-side; our single battery responded, and the roar of guns shook the shores of the stream. At first, they came on with steady step and even front, and then, like a swollen torrent, flung themselves forward on that portion of Van Cleve's division which was across the river, and bore it back and over the stream to the main body. But Rosecrans was prepared for this movement-in fact, when it occurred, was about to execute his oriy. inal pian, and swing his left against Breckenridge. He hastily massed fifty-eight cannon on an eminence, where they could completely enfilade the successive columns as they advanced. Their opening roar was terrific, and the crash of the iron storm, through the thick-set ranks, was overwhelming. It was madness to face it, yet the rebel columns closed up and

RETREAT OF THE ENEMY.

145

pressed on; but, as they came within close range of our musketry, the line suddenly seemed to shrivel up like a piece of parchment, in the fire that met it. Yet, pushed on and cheered by the rear lines, the ranks endeavored to bear up against it and advance, but again halted; while officers, with waving caps and flashing swords, galloped along the lines, and still urged them on. They had now got so near that the men could be seen to topple over separately, before the volleys. A third and last time, they staggered forward, the foremost ragks reaching even to the water's edge. But here they stopped—it was like charging down the red mouth of a volcano. Balancing a moment on the edge of battle, they broke and fled. With a wild and thrilling shout, our troops sprung to their feet, and charged forward with the bayonet-dashing like mad. men through the stream. They chased the flying foe for a half a mile, cheering as they charged, their cheers caught up by those on the other side of the river, and sent back with increased volume and power. Darkness ended the fight, and Crittenden's entire corps passed over, and, with Davis, occupied the ground so gallantly won.

That night, the rain again set in, and at daylight next morning, it was coming down in torrents, so that the camps and roads were soon one vast field of mud, rendering the movement of artillery impossible. Some sharp-shooting during the day, and a dash at night by two regiments from, Rousseau's division, clearing the woods in front, comprised the fighting of Saturday.

That night, Bragg evacuated Murfreesboro, and next. morning, Rosecrans spent an hour at “High Mass,” giving glory to God for the victory. It was, however, dearly bought. He had lost, in killed and wounded, nearly nine thousand men, or a fifth of his entire army. He had lorem beside : fifty pieces of artillery, for which he wad only a framg

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captured pieces to show in return. He had gained tho position, and that was all.

The army now settled down into camp life, and no attempt to follow up the enemy was made for nearly six months, or till the latter part of June. He then moved forward, Bragg retreating as he advanced, and abandoning the strong position of Tullahoma, rather than risk a battle. Detached portions of the army occasionally came in collision, in which the rebels were invariably worsted, losing many prisoners. Bragg finally took refuge in Chattanooga, a place immensely strong by nature, and made still more so by art.

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CHAPTER X.

JANUARY, 1863.

CAPTURE OF ARKANSAS POST-GRANT COMMENCES HIS MOVEMENT AGAINST

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QUEEN OF THE WEST-LOSS OF THE ARIEL-SINKING OF THE HATTERAS BY

THE ALABAMA-DISASTER AT SABINE PASS--BANKS IN NEW ORLEANS

RXPEDITIONS-CAPTURE AND LOSS OF GALVESTON-THE HARRIET LANE

WESTFIELD LOST-DEATH OF BUCHANAN--GRAND EXPEDITION THROUGH THE

STATE OF LOUISIANA-CAPTURE OF ALEXANDRIA, ON THE. RED RIVER.

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MMEDIATELY after the failure of Sherman's attack on

Vicksburg, McClernand, who, we have seen, assumed command of the army, on the 4th of January, at Milliken's Bend, set sail for Fort Hindman, or Arkansas Post, on the Arkansas River, which was considered the key to Little Rock, the Capital of the State, and to the extensive country from which hostile detachments were constantly sent to operate along the Mississippi River. Admiral Porter, with three iron-clads and a fleet of light-draft gunboats, accompanied the expedition, to co-operate with the land forces in the attack on the fort, which was known to be a strong one, and well garrisoned. The fleet reached the mouth of the White River on the 8th. Ascending this mere ribbon of water, enclosed by a dense, silent forest, from which the gray moss hung in huge festoons, it came at length to the "cut off,” and passed into the Arkansas River. Slowly moving up this stream, with only here and there a wretched habitation, or a sunken scow, to break the solitude, the fleet cautiously approached the rebel position, which was hid from view by a bend in the river. Here it lay all night, flooded by the mild moonlight, while, inland, the air resounded with

148

ARKANSAS POST.

the ceaseless strokes of the axe, showing that the enemy were busy in obstructing all the roads that led to the place. At daylight, the troops began to disembark, and form on the high banks. The first line of rebel works, was only a half a mile distant, and soon, the fire of the skirmishers echoed along the stream. The country was entirely unknown to McClernand, and all day, Saturday, was spent in marching and countermarching, to avoid impassable swamps and bayous; and so night found the army still struggling to get into position before the place. Part of the army passed most of the cold January night in moving forward, while the remainder dragged it out without fire or tents. Sunday morning, however, dawned bright and cheerful, and, by ten o'clock, both corps of the army were in position, having completely invested the place. At noon, McClernand sent word to Porter that he was ready to attack, and, an hour later, the gunboats gallantly moved up to within four hundred yards of the rebel works, and opened fire. The garrison replied, but the tremendous concentric fire from the river and land batteries gradually overwhelmed that of the fort, and, one by one, its guns grew silent, until, at length, they ceased to . respond altogether. McClernand, who had fought his way teadily for"ard, now gmered a gemeral assault long the #lole line, st, before it puld be eff_tod, a white bag was ra-sed, and the place was opes. Seven stand of colors, five thousand prisoners, seventeen pieces of cannon, besides small arms and munitions of war, were the fruits of this victory. Our total loss was a little under a thousand. Morgan was assigned to the command of the place, but immediately turned it over to General A. J. Smith, as an honor due to him, for the gallant manner in which his division had borne the brunt of the conflict. The brigade of Burbridge especially distinguished itself.

General Grant now assumed immediate command of all the forces in his Department, and began to work seriously

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