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The quietly retiring foe—the quietly advancing to make them brave men, turned around without cavalry-the soldiers dismounted, and, creeping having seen a rebel, and ran likewise, so that from tree to tree, occasionally interchanging before the battle had really opened the road shots-and sometimes so many at a time that it presented the strange sight of hundreds of armed sounded like the badly-fired volleys by which and unarmed men hastening to the rear, some some of our militia escorts at home pay the last the pictures of fright, others of abject fear, and honors to a dead comrade. Still, we pushed on, carrying exaggerated stories to all who troubled making progress, but very slow progress indeed, them for information. until we reached a point that seemed to be about Four o'clock had passed, and the long shadows five miles from the bayou, and the clearing be- of the evening were darkening the pine woods. yond, where Genera! Franklin had established Ransom's division fought with intrepid bravery, his headquarters. At this point another clearing all things considered—the sudden attack, the had been made for a plantation. It was roughly panic-stricken cavalry, and the number of the divided into fields for cotton and cane, and an enemy-with a bravery that cannot be too highly old saw-mill near by seemed to indicate that the commended. The rebels, however, saw their adowner had a larger share of enterprise than is vantage, and pressed it. In the beginning of the generally given to the chivalrous lords of these fight General Ransom was struck in the knee, majestic pines. The irregular firing was at an and carried from the field. This dispirited the end, for here the enemy ceased to creep, and men, for they all loved the young commander, seemed disposed to make a stand. Evidently and rejoiced to speak his praise. The fight we were marching too rapidly, and if they desired became furious, and for a few minutes there was to save their trains they must figlit for them. doubt, and gloom, and anxiety among the Federal General Banks saw this, and ordered the infan- commanders. Aid after aid galloped down the try to the front to support the cavalry and make road to bring up the Third division of the Thira spirited assault. In the mean time, in the teenth corps, commanded by General Cameron. event of the enemy being stronger than was ex- It was evident Ransom's men could not stand pected, or too strongly posted, aids were sent to the attack. It was doubted if even Cameron's the rear to hurry forward the advance of Ran- men would be more successful. But other troops som's other division, commanded by General were behind-Emory and his splendid divisionCameron, as well as to General Franklin, direct- and we knew that the day was ours if time ing him to advance with Emory's division of the only permitted us to make a proper disposition Nineteenth army corps. We placed our artillery of our forces. Ransom's column finally broke, in position, and began to shell the woods where but not until Cameron's was formed in the rear the enemy were posted. They made a feeble to renew the battle. Through a long hour-an reply, but were evidently in strength. Our dis- hour that seemed to be an age to all who stood mounted cavalry formed the first line of battle. under those pine trees on that Friday afternoon The Fourth division formed in their rear, the ---the fight raged. The enemy had a temporary line crossing the road, and extending its flanks advantage, and they pressed it with an energy into the woods. It was now about four o'clock, that seemed to be appalling. They must have and it became evident, from the manner in which suffered terribly, for our guns poured into their our cavalry attack was received, that the enemy lines one constant fire. Our men fought them was stronger than was anticipated. The events with unavailing valor, for all the disadvantages that I have been describing transpired very were on their side. slowly, and the afternoon seemed to be wearing If I have succeeded in making plain my aclazily away But after four o'clock events began count of this fight, the reader will understand to grow and thicken with a bewildering fury that that our forces were in an open space--a pine makes it difficult for a mere spectator like your wood clearing—that our line of advance was one correspondent to remember precisely what was single, narrow road, and that, having made the done, and how it was done. The attack of our attack ourselves, we found the enemy superior, cavalry was weak and spiritless. The firing lasted and were compelled to make a defensive tight. for a few minutes, the discharges of musketry be- There were other troubles. The country was so came incessant, the long, thin line of clay-colored formed that artillery was almost useless. We rebels began emerge slowly from the woods, could not place a battery without exposing it in firing constantly, but always advancing at a pace a manner that suggested madness, and yet we that seemed like an uncertain, shufiling run. had the guns and were compelled to fight them. Their fire was too strong for our cavalry, and it A further disadvantage was to be found in the fell back with precipitation—too much precipita- long trains that followed the different divisions. tion it proved; for before Ransom had his line The cavalry had the advance; immediately behind properly formed, he was compelled to meet the came the baggage-wagons, moving in a slow, onset of the whole rebel force. The retreating cumbersome manner, and retarding the movecavalry had partly demoralized his men, for in the ments of the infantry. This made it impossible heat of action, and being where they could not for us to have our divisions in supporting dis. see the field, they could not understand why this tance, and when the time came for that support, multitude of flushed and frightened men should it could not be rendered. General Binks perthus be running from the scene of battle. Many ceived this at once, but it was too late to remedy who wanted nothing but a cheerful look or nod ! it, and he was compelled to fight the battle in
the best manner possible. Ransom's division deavored to rally his men, but they would not had been engaged and routed. Cameron's divi- listen. Behind him the rebels were shouting sion was in the thickest of the fight. General and advancing. Their musket-balls filled the Franklin had arrived on the field, and a division air with that strange file-rasping sound that war of his magnificent corps, under General Emory, has made familiar to our fighting men. The was pushing along rapidly. General Banks per- teams were abandoned by the drivers, the traces sonally directed the fight. Every thing that cut, and the animals ridden off by the frightened man could do he did. Occupying a position so men. Bareheaded riders rode with agony in exposed that nearly every horse ridden by his their faces, and for at least ten minutes it seemed staff was wounded, and many killed, he constant. as if we were going to destruction together. It ly disregarded the entreaties of those around, was my fortune to see the first battle of Bull who begged that he would retire to some less Run, and to be among those who made that celeexposed position. General Stone, his chief of brated midnight retreat toward Washington. staff, with his sad, earnest face, that seemed to The retreat of the Fourth division was as much wear an unusual expression, was constantly at a rout as that of the first Federal army, with the the front, and by his reckless bravery did much exception that fewer men were engaged, and our to encourage the men. And so the fight raged. men fought here with a valor that was not The enemy were pushing a temporary advantage. shown on that serious, sad, mock-heroic day in Our army was merely forming into position to July. We rode nearly two miles in this madmake a sure battle.
cap way, until on the edge of a ravine, which Then came one of those unaccountable events might formerly have been a bayou, we found that no genius or courage can control. I find it Emory's division drawn up in line. Our retreatimpossible to describe a scene so sudden and be- ing men fell beyond this line, and Emory prewildering, although I was present, partly an pared to meet the rebels. They came with a actor, partly a spectator, and saw plainly every rush, and, as the shades of night crept over the thing that took place. The battle was progress- tree-tops, they encountered our men. Emory ing vigorously. The musketry-firing was loud fired three rounds, and the rebels retreated. and continuous, and having recovered from the This ended the fight, leaving the Federals masdanger experienced by Ransom's division, we ters. Night, and the paralyzing effect of the felt secure of the position. I was slowly riding stampede upon our army, made pursuit impossialong the edge of a wood, conversing with a ble. The enemy fell back, taking with them friend who had just ridden up about the events some of the wagons that were left, and a number and prospects of the day. We had drawn into of the guns that were abandoned. the side of the wood to allow an ammunition. Although its results might seem to be more wagon to pass, and although many were observed unfortunate than the real events of the day going to the rear, some on foot and some on would justify us in believing, this battle conhorseback, we regarded it as an occurrence fa- vinced us of the strength of the rebels in our miliar to every battle, and it occasioned nothing front, and their determination to resist our adbut a passing remark.
It became necessary to fight a battle, I noticed that most of those thus wildly riding and, as we could not do so on ground so disadto the rear were negroes, hangers-on and serving- vantageous, General Banks ordered the army to men, for now that we have gone so deeply into occupy Pleasant Hills, the position in our rear, this slaveholding country every non-commis- that had been held by General Franklin on the sioned officer has a servant, and every servant a morning of the fight. The division of General mule. These people were the first to show any Emory remained on the field, picketing the front. panic, but their scamper along the road only The headquarter trains were removed back to gave amusement to the soldiers, who pelted them Pleasant Hill, and the divisions of General Smith with stones, and whipped their flying animals were formed in line of battle, in which position with sticks to increase their speed. Suddenly they remained the whole night. The divisions there was a rush, a shout, the crashing of trees, of Ransom and Cameron, which had suffered the breaking down of rails, the rush and scamper so much in the engagement, were withdrawn of men.
It was as sudden as though a thunder- from the field. When this had been done, bolt had fallen among us and set the pines on Emory slowly withdrew his line to a point about fire. What caused it, or when it commenced, no two miles beyond Pleasant Hill. General Banks one knew. I turned to my companion to inquire made his headquarters on the left of the elevathe reason of this extraordinary proceeding, but tion, and shortly before daybreak he arrived in before he had the chance to reply, we found our camp, accompanied by his staff. The tents selves swallowed up, as it were, in a bissing, were pitched, and a hasty cup of coffee served seething, bubbling whirlpool of agitated men. for breakfast. We could pot avoid the current; we could not Having described as faithfully as possible the stem it, and if we hoped to live in that mad com-cvents of this bloody day, it now becomes my pany, we must ride with the rest of them. Our duty to describe one of the most brilliant and line of battle had given away. General Banks successful battles of the war. The first day's took off his hat and implored his men to remain; engagement was an accident. Nothing but the his staff-officers did the same, but it was of no discipline of the troops, and the presence of mind avail. Then the General drew his sabre and en- ! displayed by the Commanding General, prevented
it from becoming a disaster. On the second day looks through spectacles, giving him the appearwe retrieved and redeemed all that had been lost. ance of a schoolmaster. General Arnold, the Pleasant Hill, as I have said before, is a clearing chief of artillery, with his high boots, and his in the midst of these vast pine woods, about slouched hat thrown over his head, seemed the thirty-five miles from the Red River, on the road busiest of all. The other members of the staff, that leads from Natchitoches. It forms a plateau colonels, and majors, and captains, completed the that rises to a noticeable elevation above the group; with orderlies in the distance, and servcountry around. It was probably intended as a ants chiding or soothing their masters' restive settlement of more than usual importance, for I horses, and the body-guard dismounted and noticed an unfinished seminary, a church, a saw-dozing under the trees. It was rather a tedious mill, many fine houses, and one or two that party, and group after group formed and melted would have done credit to our Northern towns. away, and re-formed and discussed the battle of The land was in a high state of cultivation, and the evening before, and the latest news and gosevery acre seemed to be traversed by ridges of sip of New Orleans, and wondered when another ploughed soil. On the elevation where the un- mail would come. It might have been a parade; finished seminary stands, a complete view of it might have been a fair-day, and these men the whole field could be obtained, and with a around us so many plain farmers who came to glass, the features and the rank of men at the receive medals for their cattle and swine, and other could be readily seen. Here we determined hear the county lawyer deliver the agricultural to make a stand. I'he day was as bright and address. It certainly could not be war, and yet clear and fresh as a May day in the North, and the slow rumbling of gun and caisson, the octhe air was so bracing that the officers found casional shell bursting from the cannon, whisttheir great-coats grateful. The morning passed ling in the air, and exploding in the woods beon. The plateau had the appearance of a parade- yond; the sudden musket-shot, and the distant ground on a holiday. For any one man to see cheer-all gave the picture the deep and deathly all that was to be seen, or to understand the tints that made it a battle-piece. It is curious to different movements of the armed and uniformed study the feelings which such a scene produces. men before him, would be impossible. Regi. This morning scene became so weary and tame mnts marching to the right and regiments that, from very languor and apathy, Í began to marching to the left, batteries being moved weave up the bright and real tints of the picture and shifted, cavalry squads moving in single with as many unique fancies as the imagination file through the brush, now and then an aid could suggest, and, finally, turning over on a pine galloping madly, or an orderly at full speed, board, which was resting against a fence, and driving his spurs, and holding an order or made an inviting bed for a weary man, endeavored despatch between his teeth, bugles sounding the to regain a portion of the sleep that the last different cavalry calls, and drums repeating the night had taken away. I had scarcely time for orders of the captains, all passed and repassed, wooing a nap when the General called for his and controlled the vision, making very much the horse and proposed to go to the front. The difimpression that a spectator in the theatre receives ferent generals around him returned to their comas he looks upon a melodrama. In an inclosure mands, and, slowly picking our way out of the near the roadside was a small cluster of gentle yard, we rode along the ridge to an elevation men to whom all this phantasmagoria had the near at hand, and from thence surveyed the field. meaning of life, and death, and power, and fame. It was one of those scenes that battles rarely General Banks, with his light-blue overcoat but- present, but which enables us to see what is toned closely around his chin, was strolling up really the pomp and glory of war. Below, or and down, occasionally conversing with a mem- rather before us, was the whole army of General ber of his staff, or returning the salute of a pass- Banks. There were three distinct lines of battle, ing subaltern. Near him was General William two of which could be seen by the eye, the other B. Franklin, his face as rough and rugged as being hidden by the woods. The batteries were when he rode through the storms of the Penin- in position, and each regiment displayed its flag. sula, the ideal of a bold, daring, imperturbable On our flanks were small detachments of cavalry, soldier. There are few braver men than this who busily scoured the woods to prevent any Charles O'Malley of major-generals. He had two thing like a surprise, or a movement in our rear. horses shot under him the day before. His face It was now eleven o'clock, and our whole army was very calm that morning, and occasionally was prepared for action. The generals had dehe pulls his whiskers nervously, as though he termined to await the attack of the enemy, and scented the battle afar off
, and was impatient finding it impossible to subsist the army in a to be in the midst of the fray. General Charles country without water or forage, concluded to P. Stone, the chief of staff, a quiet, retiring man, move the trains back to Grand Ecore, there conwho is regarded, by the few that know him, as centrate our army, and await news from the one of the finest soldiers of the time, was sit-coöperating column of General Steele, which is ting on a rail smoking cigarettes, and apparently known to be moving through Arkansas on Shrevemore interested in the putt's of smoke that curled port. Accordingly, before our lines were formed, around him, than in the noise and bustle that the trains were ordered to move, and before noon filled the air. There was General Smith, with we had a clear field, and were ready for the athis bushy, grayish beard, and his eager eye, as it tack. In order to look his army face to face, and
satisfy himself that the dispositions were proper, ous harvest, and to the right and left the sheaves General Banks rode to the front with his staff, were falling and thence along the whole line, saying kind The battle was extended along the whole line ; words to officers and men, and wearing that it was nothing but charge and rally, to charge bright, winning smile so peculiar to him, and and rally again. In every point our men gained which seemed to give new confidence to the men the day. The lines of Smith's division stood whose lives were on their country's altar. Noon like the stone walls that Virginian patois bas came and passed; but beyond the slow shelling contributed to our military language, and every of the woods, and a stray shot from some im- effort of the enemy to force them was futile. petuous picket, there was no sign of an engage. Thus it continued for an hour ; and in describment. Our men remained in line all day, and ing the scene at the battery, I find that I have passed the hours by their guns; some lying given in detail all that can be remembered of down, some sleeping and dozing, others reading this brief and glorious fight. One other moveanıl eating the remnants of yesterday's ration; ment was noticeable. The rebels, toward the but all ready for the signal that would bring on end of the engagement, tried to flank our left by the action. The day remained bright, and warm, sending a column over the ridge, upon which the and clear, and it began to be thought that it unfinished seminary stood. The effort was more would close without an action, and that the en- disastrous than the attempt upon the battery. emy had withdrawn with their booty. Those in They were driven back with fearful slaughter, the front knew better. The rebels were there, routed from the field, leaving many hundreds of making their dispositions and preparing for the prisoners in our hands. This ended the engageonset. In the mean time the General and staff ment, and our forces were victorious. returned to the ridge near the brick house, and Night was over all, and the stars began to partook of some refreshment, satisfied that the shine. Our wounded were removed, and, unday was ours, and determined to a wait events. molested, General Banks accomplished his move
On our left centre, far in the advance, was a ment toward Grand Ecore. battery of four guns, belonging to a New York Our losses in the two days' battle in killed, regiment. It occupied an exposed position, and wounded, and missing, are estimated at two it had been suggested by some of the staff-officers thousand. Colonel Benedict, commanding a brithat there was danger of its capture. This bat. gade, was the only general officer killed. We tery bad been making itself an object of interest learn that General Mouton, commanding a part to the rebels, for every ten minutes it sent a shot of the rebel army, was also slain. into their midst. About half-past four in the
J. R. Young. afternoon, a sharp volley of musketry was heard, and all eyes turned toward this battery, for over it circles of smoke were ascending, and around
CAMP OF THE EIGHTY-TIURD O. V. I., it men were engaged in battle. The rebel line
GRAND ECORE, LA., April 12. rushed from the woods and charged the battery. The past week has been an eventful one in the The contest was sharp. The smoke obscured the military history of this department. Doubtless, sight, and for a few minutes we could only guess exaggerated reports of rebel success and the dehow the struggle was going. Finally our line moralization of the Federal troops have reached was seen to retreat, but we had no fear. We you, and it is with a view to counteract the inknew that the men composing that line were fluence of such reports that I propose to give men of the Nineteenth corps. We had seen you as brief a description of recent events as is
ny thoir valor on the day before, and, although there, consistent with a proper understanding of them. before our eyes, they were falling back, we felt Let me premise by assuring your readers that assured it was with a purpose. So it proved. the troops are in the best of spirits, and fully The temporary retreat was a feint, intended to confident of their ability to carry the campaign draw the rebels from the woods. They came, to a successful close, provided they have leaders rushed upon the battery, and surrounded it. upon whose judgment they can place reliance. This success brought another line of clay-colored On Wednesday, the sixth instant, our whole rebels, and they cheered as though they had force, with the exception of General A. J. Smith's gained a victory. The time had come. The ene immediate command, left Natchitoches, and purmy was before us. Emory's division rallied; sued their way through the " Piny” woods, in and one of Smith's divisions, which had been the direction of Shreveport, one hundred miles lying on the ground, arose, and sent volley after distant. On the evening of the seventh, we volley into the enemy's midst. This was some- reached Pleasant Hill, a small village, thirty-five thing different from fighting an exposed division miles from Natchitoches, our cavalry advance in pine woods, in the midst of baggage-trains, and skirmishing nearly all the way through the so the poor rebels found. Again and again they woods. They had a severe one on that morning, rallied, but only to fall back again and again, and two miles beyond Pleasant Hill, in which the finally to retreat and scamper through the woods. Eighty-seventh Illinois (mounted infantry) lost The battery which tempted them from their cov- quite heavily. ert was retaken, and its shot and shell went On the morning of the eighth, we resumed our plunging through their retreating column. It march, the Fourth division (to which the Eightyseemed as though death was reaping a mysteri- third has been re-transferred, since I last wrote
you) leading the infantry force. A severe skir-this fatal day was bringing the train so close to mish occurred at an old saw-nill, tên miles be-, the field of battle, by which the road was blockrond Pleasant Hill, in which Lieutenant-Colonel aded, and the artillery prevented from escaping. Webh, of the Seventy-seventh Illinois, was killed; The Nim's battery, of six pieces, Chicago Merbut the enemy kept falling back, and were pur-cantile battery, of the same number, two pieces sued by the cavalry and our division, about eight of the First Indiana battery, and two mountain miles further, to Sabine Cross-Roads, three miles, howitzers belonging to the cavalry division, were this side of Mansfield. Here the enemy was met lost, also the cavalry division's wagon-train and in force, and a check made to our progress. twenty-two loads of ammunition.
The Eighty-third was six miles in the rear, as It was now nearly dark, and the fighting conguard for the ammunition-train, and the remain- tinued with some slight intermissions, until night der of the force had gone into camp near the saw- brought it to a close. Estimates of losses are so mill before mentioned. Orders were immediate- various and contradicting, that a reliable report ly sent back for the Eighty-third and the Third cannot be given until the official report is made. division of the Thirteenth corps, to come up The Second brigade, Fourth division, lost, in “ double-quick.” The fatal error of that day con- killed, wounded, and missing, about five hundred sisted in having the forces divided, and the ad- and fifty men, as near as can be ascertained. vance so far from support. A general engage- General Ransom, commanding the Thirteenth ment was not apprehended, but the mistake was, corps, was wounded above the knee, but is doing nevertheless, an inexcusable one, and the parties well. Colonel J. W. Vance, of the Ninety-sixth who are censurable, should meet with a severe Ohio volunteer infantry, commanding Second punishment. Who they are, I am unable to say, brigade, Fourth division, was severely wounded but there is a very general want of confidence and taken prisoner, as was also Colonel Emerson, felt in the head of the department, who, although of the Sixty-seventh Indiana, commanding First he proved himself on that day not devoid of cour- brigade of the same division. age, is not generally looked upon as possessing The loss of the Eighty-third was three officers great military ability. Certainly, there never and twenty-eight enlisted men killed, wounded, was a more forcible illustration of the old Indian and missing. I append a list of names: Captain chief's theory of the bundle of sticks, which, Cornelius A. Burns, company F, was instantly taken together, it was impossible to break, but killed by a musket-ball through the head. Captain when taken singly, the feat was easily accomplish- J. P. Cummins, company I, was severely wounded. But I anticipate. The Eighty-third reached ed in the left arm and side, but is doing well; the division, before the engagement became gener- and Captain Lawrence Waldo, company B, is al, and took up a position on the extreme right. missing. The officers and men all behaved nobly, Soon after its arrival, the enemy who were post- but Captain Waldo particularly distinguished ed upon a small, crescent-shaped elevation, which himself by his coolness and bravery, and it is commanded the road, opened fire, and the con- deeply regretted that he is among the missing; flict soon became terrific. The rebels were in but hopes are entertained that he is still living. very heavy force, and closed in upon both our As soon as the scattered fragments could be flanks, charging with desperate fury upon them, collected together, an order was issued to return and it becoming evident that the position could to Pleasant Ilill, which was reached at sunrise not be maintained, a retreat was ordered, which of the ninth, the Nineteenth corps covering the was accomplished with heavy loss, until the retreat, and forming in line a mile beyond it. broken ranks met the Third division coming to The enemy followed us closely, and picket-skirtheir assistance. Orders were now sent for the mishing continued all the forenoon. Nineteenth corps to come up, but they were Here we met General A. J. Sinith, with his eight miles in the rear, and it was feared they force, coming to our rescue, and he was exceedwould not reach us in time to be of any avail. ing wroth at the manner in which his old comThe Third division formed in line and checked mand (Fourth division) had been handled and the progress of the enemy, and the battle raged entrapped. The management of affairs was virfuriously once more, but their overwhelming num- tually placed in his hands, and about eleven bers soon crushed the gallant little division, and o'clock A.M., the train was moved to the rear, the drove them in all directions.
lines formed, and the artillery placed in position The Nineteenth corps was now most anxiously on the southern and eastern sides of an open looked for, and they soon came up in gallant field of perhaps three hundred acres in extent. style, and formed in line three miles to the rear General Smith divided his command and the of the first line of battle, and in the face of the cavalry force, placing a portion of each on the flying squadrons of the cavalry division and wings in the woods some distance to the rear, Thirteenth corps.
but within supporting distance of the batteries. On came the rebels, charging furiously upon The shattered fragment of the Thirteenth the new line, which, when they were within one corps was ordered to follow the train as a guard, hundred and fifty yards of it, opened fire upon and the Nineteenth was placed in front, with them along its whole length, slaughtering them directions to fall back in good order before the dreadfully, and bringing them to a stand, thus enemy's advance. saving the remainder of the Thirteenth corps and Battery L, of the First United States artillery, the wagon-train from capture. Another error of /was placed somewhat in the advance as a bait