enemy's lines were distinctly visible on the hill-side. Evidently they were ready. Colonel Smith began the fight without waiting for the First Brigade. A line of skirmishers from the Eighth Missouri sprang out and dashed up, taking intervals as they went, until they covered the head of the column. A lively fire opened on them from the rebel pickets, who retired, obstinately contesting the ground. In several instances assailant and assailed sought cover behind the same tree. Four rebel prisoners were taken in this way, of whom 2 were killed by a shell from their own battery while being taken to the rear.
Meantime the regiments slowly followed the skirmishers. About quarter the way up they received the first volley from the hill-top around which it ran, a long line of fire disclosing somewhat of the strength of the enemy. Instantly, under order of Colonel Smith, both his regiments laid down. The skirmishers were the chief victims. George B. Swarthout, captain of Company H, Eighth Missouri, was killed, gallantly fighting far in advance. Soon as the fury of the fire abated both regiments rose up and rushed on, and in that way they at length closed upon the enemy, falling when the volleys grew hottest, dashing on when they slackened or ceased. Meanwhile their own fire was constant and deadly. Meanwhile, also, Colonel Cruft's line was marching up in support and to the right of Colonel Smith. The woods through with he was moving seemed actually to crackle with musketry. Finally the Eighth and Eleventh cleared the hill, driving the rebel regiments at least three-quarters of a mile before them and halting within 150 yards of the entrenchments behind which the enemy took refuge. This was about 5 o'clock, and concluded the day's fighting. In my opinion it also brought forth the surrender.
While the fighting was in progress an order reached me through Colonel Webster to retire my column, as a new plan of operations was in contemplation for the next day. If carried out, the order would have compelled me to give up the hill so hardly recaptured. Satisfied that the general did not know of our success when he issued the direction, I assumed the responsibility of disobeying it, and held the battle ground that night. Wearied as they were, few slept, for the night was bitter cold, and they had carried the lost field of the morning's action, thickly strewn with the dead and wounded of McClernand's regiments. The number of Illinoisans there found mournfully attested the desperation of their battle and how firmly they had fought it. All night and till far in the morning my soldiers, generous as they were gallant, were engaged ministering to and removing their own wounded and the wounded of the First Division, not forgetting those of the enemy.
Next morning about daybreak Lieutenant Ware, my aide-de-camp, conducted Colonel Thayer's brigade to the foot of the hill. Lieutenant Wood's battery was also ordered to the same point, my intention being to storm the entrenchments about breakfast time. While making disposition for that purpose a white flag made its appearance. The result was that I rode to General Buckner's quarters, sending Lieutenant Ross with Major Rogers, of the Third Mississippi (rebel) Regiment, to inform General Grant that the place was surrendered and my troops in possession of the town and all the works on the right.
In concluding, it gives me infinite pleasure to call attention to certain officers and men of my division. If General McClernand has knowledge of the prompt assistance Colonel Cruft and his brigade carried his brave but suffering regiments in the terrible battle of Saturday morning his notice of their conduct will make it superfluous for me to praise it. In