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PREPARATIONS FOR BATTLE.
from total destruction. Rosecrans, in alluding to it, said, “The unexpected accident which alone prevented cutting off the retreat of Price, and capturing him and his army, only shows how much, success depends upon Him in whose hands are the accidents, as well as the laws of life.” The total loss in this battle, was six hundred and eighty, or nearly a quarter of the whole force engaged.
Rosecrans immediately fell back on Corinth, where he again took up his head-quarters. He soon discovered that the enemy was concentrating on that place, or some other point, which would cut off his communications and compel him to evacuate it. Price, Van Dorn, and Lovell, had in fact united their entire forces, for the purpose of crushing his comparatively small army, before he could receive reinforcements. The latter, calling in all his troops from the adjacent posts, watched with the deepest solicitude the development of the hostile plan. At length, discovering that the rebels had marched around him to the eastward, and were moving down on Corinth from the north and north-east, he formed his plan, and disposing his troops to the best possible advar: tage, calmly awaited the attack. He knew he was outnumbered by two to one, but he relied on the strength of his position, and the indomitable character of his troops. McKean commanded the left, Davies the centre, and the gallant Hamilton the right, where Rosecrans supposed the weight of the struggle would fall. The old fortifications, thrown up by Beauregard, were too extensive for his little army to hold, and so he erected works within them.
This was on the third of October. Rosecrans' plan was to advance on the enemy, as he approached, in order to compel him to develop his lines, and then retire behind his own works, so that his batteries could sweep the rebels, as they emerged into the open ground in front. In carrying it out, more or less fighting occurred, and night found our army back in the
town, and the rebel lines drawn closely around it. Much uneasiness was felt among the soldiers, because they had been 80 easily driven back into the place, where the enemy's shells could reach them, but they were not aware of the motives which governed their Commander.
This was not lessened by the sound of the enemy at work all night, planting batteries within close rànge. At length, the long wished for, yet dreaded dawn, streaked the eastern sky, and the roll of the drum and the pealing bugle, awoke the morning echoes, and were answered by those of the enemy in the dark forests beyond.
The rebel force was massed in the angle, formed by the Memphis and Columbus railroads. The left of our army rested on the batteries extending west from Fort Robinettethe centre on a slight ridge north of the houses, and the right on the high ground which covered the Pittsburg and Purdy roads, that led away towards the old battle ground of Pittsburg Landing. The rebel plan was to move at once, with overwhelming numbers, on our batteries, and sweep them with the rush of a torrent. The sacrifice, they knew, would be great, but they were ready to make it. Four redoubts covered all the approaches, while batteries were in every place where guns could be advantageously posted, so that the whole open space in front of our lines, could be swept with a hail-storm of fire.
With daylight, skirmishing commenced, and the heavy boom of cannon, here and there, shook the field; but, as yet, the enemy's lines were invisible. They were forming in the roads running through the forest, a half a mile or more in front, and
every eye was strained to catch the heads of the columns as they moved out for the final advance. The very mystery that shrouded the rebel host, hidden in those stirless woods, added impressiveness to the scene. At length, a little after nine o'clock, the fearfui suspense ended, for the
heads (of the dense columns began to issue from their leafy covering. In columns of division, the whole host moved in splendid order up the Bolivar road, straight towards the murderous batteries. Long lines of glittering steel, crested, the gray formations below, as, with steady step and closed ranks, they swept forward. Like a great wedge, the mighty mass at first advanced, and then slowly unfolded like two expanding wings, and swooped down on Corinth, that lay glittering in the mellow sun-light. Price on the left, and Van Dorn on the right, moved on together, but the latter, meeting with unexpected obstacles, lost a little time, înd Price first caught the full fury of the storm. Right up 4 turfy slope, the steady columns pressed, swept by our whole line of batteries, the shot and shell tearing through them every moment with awful desolation. Like clouds, rent before the incessant flashes of lightning, those gray formations 'everywhere parted, showing great ragged openings that closed as quickly as made. The dead and dying darkened all the ground, but the living never faltered. With heads bent, and leaning forms, like those who breast a driving sleet, they pressed sternly forward, making straight for Rosecrans' centre. When they came within musket range, death traversed their ranks with still more frightful rapidity; yet they never faltered. The earth groaned and shook under them, and the air seemed to flow with fire around them, yet they heeded it not. Still onward and upward they came, like the march of fate.
At last they reached the crest of the hill, and Davies' division gave way in disorder. Rosecrans, whose eye has never for a moment left this onrolling mass, starts at this sudden great disaster, and dashing amid the broken ranks, heedless of the raining shot and shell, rallies them in person.
But the rebels, seeing their advantage, spring forward with a shout, and Rosecrans’ headquarters are inundated with the hertils troops and the next
moment their fire is pouring into the public square of the town itself. Under this sudden change of fortune, Hamilton's division of veterans is compelled to fall back, and instantly, with a shout of victory, the rebels rush on Fort Richardson, the key of the position. A single sheet of flame bursts from its sides, and when the smoke rises, the space where they stood is clear of living men; only the dead and bleeding are left. But those brave men have not trodden Death's highway so far, to yield now, when their hands are grasping victory; and once more rallying, they precipitate themselves forward with the fury and clamor of demons. Richardson, from whom the battery was named, sinks amid his guns, and the next moment, the rebels are leaping over them. Suddenly, as if rising out of the earth, the Fifty-sixth Illinois, hid in a ravine near it, spring to their feet, and pouring in one close deliberate volley, dash across the plateau, and into the fort, and almost lift the rebels bodily out of it, so sudden and desperate and wild is their charge. Hamilton sees the charge, and "Forward” runs along his glorious line. Sweeping forward with terrible front, he completes the overthrow. The rebel host is at last broken. Human endurance had finally reached its limit-despair at once took the place of courage, and, flinging away their useless arms, they broke wildly for the woods. And then such a shout of victory went up, as those who heard it, will never forget to their latest day. It rolled down the line, and Van Dorn, on the left, heard it with a sinking heart. Struggling through a ravine and thickets and abattis, he was a moment too late to have his blow fall simultaneously with that of Price, else the issue might have been different. He was now in front of Fort Robinette, within a hundred and fifty yards of which, stood Fort Williams. These had poured a deadly enfilading fire through his ranks, as he advanced, and now the former, with its ten pound Parrotts, stood right
A BRAVE TEXAN.
in his path. Over this he must go, or turn back over the field, gained at such horrible sacrifice. The shout of victory borne to him from the left, sounded like the knell of dəom. Price had failed at Fort Richardson, and now alone and unaided, he must carry the works before him, or all be lost. It was a mighty task, and he might well pause, before he undertook it. But instead of shrinking from it, he summoned all his energies for one desperate effort. Two brigades, one supporting the other, at close distance, and led by Colonel Rogers, of Texas, swiftly advanced straight or the fort. Instantly its guns, and those of Fort Williams, opened their fire, and shot and shell went tearing through the dense columns. But they had braced themselves up to the fearful work, they knew to be before them, and breasted the iron storm with sublime devotion.
As they came within close range, and the infantry opened fire, the havoc was awful. The solid formations caved before it, as the sandbank before the torrent, but closing up compact as iron, the diminished numbers, with their eyes bent sternly on the prize before them, kept on their terrible way. Rogers, striding at their head, seemed to bear a charmed life, and “ Forward—FORWARD,” rang clear and strong from his lips, rising even above the roar of cannon. Struggling through the fallen timber, they fell and were caught amid the branches, presenting a ghastly spectacle. Still the living never faltered—with their eyes fixed on their heroic leader, they let the volleys crash, and the devastating fire burn along their ranks, with a heroic indifference. At last they reached the ditch, and for one fearful moment paused. Rogers, still towering in front unhurt, waved the rebel flag with hig left hand, holding a revolver in his right, and, still shouting " Forward," with one bound cleared the ditch. Springing up the slope, he planted his standard on the ramparts. The next moment he fell, banner and all, into the ditch, a corpse