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OUR LINES BROKEN.
ported by numerous artillery, advanced straight on McClernand's encampment.
His division consisted of three brigades, all Illinoisans with the exception of one Kentucky and one Wisconsin regiment. As they came on in splendid line of battle, McClernand prepared to receive them. The Kentucky regiment, stationed near the river, attacked by overwhelming numbers, broke and fled, but the brave. Illinoisans met the shock with undaunted bravery. The enemy flung themselves forward in such masses that our advance regiments had to contend against fearful odds.
It was a strange battle field, made up of hills, hollows, and ravines, all covered with a dense forest, through which the roar of battle: swept like a tornado... On every commanding eminence cannon were placed, which dropped their shọt and shell incessantly into the troops massed below. But little concert' of action could be had among the different regiments, for the woods swallowed up the contending lines, and one could tell only by the advancing or receding roar of musketry, or the columns of smoke rising above the leafless tree tops, how the battle was going. Backward and forward it-surged through the forest, leaving it strewed with the dead and wounded; but at last the enemy by suddenly concentrating an overwhelming number on a single point, broke through McClernand's lines, and threatened to sweep the entire field. McAllister's battery of twenty-four pounders, that all the morning had made: havoc with the rebel ranks, nad by ten o'clock fired away the hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition with which it had entered into action. While he was trying to obtain some more from the rear, a single shot from the enemy passed through three of his horses--a second tore the trail off one of his guns-while a third smashed the wheel of another. Only one gun was
feft unharmed, and hitching six horses to this, he endeavored to drag it off the field; but after getting it a little way it be,
WALLACE COMES TO THE RESCUE.
came mired, and was abandoned with the others to the ene. my. Many of the regiments were out of ammunition, and though they fell back in good order, could do nothing to stay the progress of the enemy, who came on with deafening yells. The day was apparently lost, and an open road left for the garrison to make good their escape.
At eight o'clock in the morning, McClernand, seeing that he was being overwhelmed by numbers, sent to Wallace, who was holding the center, for reinforcements. The latter immediately dispatched the request to headquarters, as his orders had been to hold his position in the center.
But Grant could not be found, he having left the field entirely and gone on board Foote's boat to consult about another attack by the fleet. Wallace waited long and anxiously to hear from him, when a second message came from McClernand, stating that the enemy had turned his flank, and his whole division was in danger of being annihilated. Unable to resist this last appeal, he immediately ordered forward Colonel Cruft (acting as brigadier,) to his support.
The whole line of investment extended several miles, over broken ground, across ravines, and through dense forests. It was necessary. therefore, to have a guide to conduct the column by the proper roads. But the one Colonel Cruft took, after leading him a part of the way, absconded. The Colonel, however, kept on, and soon found himself on the right of McClernand, and between him and the advancing enemy-having pushed the head of his column directly into an overpowering force of the rebels. A severe conflict fol. . lowed,—the gallant Illinoisans, for a long time holding at bay the superior numbers that flushed with victory, pressed
While they were thus maintaining an unequal fight, a portion of the brigade of McClernand to the right began to retreat in confusion; and some of the shattered regiments
THE REBELS CHECKED.
came full on Cruft's line of battle, striking it obliquely, and passing through it like a rolling rock. Colonel Shackleford (in immediate command,) instantly closed up his column again, but being left alone by the retreat of the brigade, he was compelled to fall back, which he did in good order, and took up a new position. The confident enemy came on him with shouts and yells, but were driven back. A second time moving fiercely to the charge, they were again repulsed, when Shackleford charged in turn, driving them back some distance. But seeing himself in danger of being outfanked, and a regiment on his left giving way in confusion, he moved the whole brigade in perfect order to the rear, and took up a strong position.
No dispatches had yet reached Wallace, and he sat on his horse, anxiously listening to the roar of battle steadily receding away in the woods on his right, when suddenly a crowd of fugitives rushed up the hill on which he stood, and the next moment a mounted officer came on a tearing gallop along the, road, shouting“ We are all cut to pieces.” The effect on the troops was electrical, and as Wallace saw the sensation run along the lines he was afraid a panic would seize the whole brigade, and immediately ordered it to move forward to the right, riding in front himself to keep it steady. In a few moments he met broken regiments retreating for want of ammunition. Colonel Wallace, one of the commanders, in reply to General Wallace, asking of the state of affairs on the field, replied as coolly as though he were moving off parade, that the enemy were close behind and would attack him soon.
The latter immediately ordered Colonel Thayer, commanding the brigade, to form a new line of battle across the road, and sent for Wood's Chicago light artillery. Thayer's column moved off at double quick, to its assigned position, while Wood's guns came bounding up on a gallop, and unlimbering, were posted so as to sweep the road in front
BTORMING THE WORK S.
The regiments that were retiring for. ammunition, halted, and the soldiers coolly filled their cartridges under the enemy's fire. Scarcely was the formation completed, when the enemy was seen coming swistly up the road and through the oak bushes and trees, on either side, making straight for the battery, and the First Nebraska supporting it. But. Wood's battery, served with great rapidity, mowed them down as they advanced, while the fire of the Nebraska regiment was most terrific and deadly. The rebels bore up. firmly for a while against it, but at length, unable to breast the fiery sleet fell back in confusion. Wallace then dashed over the broken.country to ascertain the...condition of his other bri: gade under Cruft. Finding it standing in perfect order he immediately connected it with Taylor's by a line of skirmishers, and waited for the enemy to advance. His punishment, however, had been too severe, and he fell back to the ground he had won from McClernand in the morning
About three o'clock, Grænt rode on to the field, and fired at this attempt of the rebels to force his lines and their well nigh success, determined at once to move with his entire army on their works. McClernand was directed to storm them on the right up the river, and Colonel Smith of the regular army on the left below. McClernand asked Wallace to lead the assault with his division. He consented, and immediately formed his play of attack. Selecting two brigades, Cruft's and one composed of two regiments under Colonel Smith of the Eighth Missouri, and giving them the simple directions to march up the hill in columns of regiments, and act as circumstances should suggest, he set the columns in motion. Knowing well it was a desperate mission on which these brave troops were going, he showed his confidence in them by telling them so. But this
, apnouncement, which was made to the regiments, as they moved past him, instead of discouraging them, filled them with delight—they answered with
A GALLANT CHARGE.
deafening cheers, shouting "FORWARD, FORWARD!" ward, then, it is,” cried Wallace, rising in his stirrups. The two brigades then moved swiftly forward till they came to the foot of the hill, on the summit of which the enemy stood in strong force. It was full three hundred steps from here to the top, yet Smith as he reached it never waited for Cruft, but boldly began the ascent--the Eighth Missouri leading
The hill was bare in front, though rough with out-cropping ledges of rocks, but farther on, where Cruft was to mount, it was covered with trees, with here and there openings of oak bushes. Here took place the most terrible fighting around fort Donelson. The men, aware of the desperate undertaking before them, nerved themselves to it, and it was evident at a glance, that nothing but annihilation would keep them from reaching the summit of that hill. When about a quarter of the way up, a line of fire ran along its crest, and the plunging volleys tore through their ranks with frightful mortality. But the living stepped into the places of the dead and pressed fiercely on and up. At times, when the deluge of fire rolled in an unbroken sheet down the slope, they fell on their faces, and then as it subsided, rosé, clearing large intervals in their rush.
Cruft's division in the woods advanced more like Indians, dodging from tree to tree-the combatants often fighting for the same cover The woods crackled with the musketry as though a fire was raging amid the withered branches.
But nothing could stop the resolute advance of Smith, and closing nearer and nearer on the enemy, his two reziments finally cleared the hill with a shout, and charging after the discomfited rebels chased them to within a hundred and fifty yards of their intrenchments.
This was the ground that had been occupied by McCler. nand in the morning, and from which his division had been driven by the fierce onslaught of Pillow. It was covered