it was evident we were approaching the enemy's stronghold, where they intended giving battle. A few shells from Totten's battery assisted our skirmishers in clearing the ground in front.
The First Missouri and First Kansas moved at once to the font, supported by Totten's battery; and the First Iowa Regiment, Du Bois' battery, Steele's battalion, and the Second Kansas were held in reserve. The Missouri First now took its position in front upon the crest of a small elevated plateau. The First Kansas was posted on the left of the First Missouri, and separated from it some 60 yards on account of a ravine. The First Iowa took its position on the left of the First Kansas, while Totten's battery was placed opposite the interval between the First Kansas and the First Missouri. Major Osterhaus' battalion occupied the extreme right, with his right resting on a ravine which turned abruptly to our right and rear. Du Bois' battery, supported by Steele's battalion, was placed some 80 yards to left and rear of Totten's guns, so as to bear upon a powerful battery of the enemy, posted to our left and front, on the opposite side of Wilson's Creek, to sweep the entire plateau upon which our troops were formed.
The enemy now rallied in large force near the foot of the slope, and under considerable cover opposite our left wing, and along the slope in front, and on our right towards the crest of the main range running parallel to the creek. During this time Captain Plummer, with his four companies of infantry, had moved down a ridge about 500 yards to our left, and separated from us by a deep ravine, and reached its abrupt terminus, where he found his farther progress arrested by a large force of infantry occupying a corn field in the valley in his front. At this moment an artillery fire was opened from a high point about 2 miles distant, and nearly in our front, from which Colonel Sigel was to have commenced his attack. This fire was answered from the opposite side of the valley, and at a little greater distance from us, the line of fire of the batteries being nearly perpendicular to our own. After about ten or twelve shots on either side the firing ceased, and we neither heard nor saw anything more of Colonel Sigel's brigade until about 8.30 o'clock, when a brisk cannonading was heard for a few minutes about a mile to the right of that heard before, and from 2 to 3 miles distant.
Our whole line now advanced with much energy upon the enemy' position. The firing, which had been spirited for the last half hour, was now increasing to a continuous roar. During this time, Captain Totten's battery came into action by section and by piece, as the nature of the ground would permit (it being wooded, with much undergrowth), and played upon the enemy's lines with great effect. After a fierce engagement, lasting perhaps half an hour, and in which our troops retired two or three times, in more or less disorder, but never more than a few yards, again to rally and press forward with increased vigor, the enemy gave way in the utmost confusion, and left us in possession of the position. Meanwhile Captain Plummer was ordered to move forward on our left, but meeting with overpowering resistance from the large mass of infantry in the corn field in his front and in the woods beyond, was compelled to fall back; but at this moment Lieutenant Du Bois' battery, which had taken position on our left flank, supported by Captain Steele's battalion, opened upon the enemy in the corn field a fire of shells with such marked effect as to drive him in the utmost confusion and with great slaughter from the field.
There was now a momentary cessation of fire along nearly the whole line, except the extreme right, where the First Missouri was still