in double-quick and advanced to the front, cheering and shouting.
The cheering was caught up by my three companies in reserve and by the battalions in the rear. At the same time the skirmishers kept up a steady fire, making every shot tell. Just at this time our artillery opened upon the rebels in the neighborhood of Russell's house, and five minutes thereafter the field was in our skirmishers possession. Two hundred yards beyond Russell's our skirmishers halted, by order of General Smith, and remained in position during the night.
The fight, which was stubbornly contested for two hours and a half, was not without its consequences on both sides. I lost some of my best and bravest men. William H. Dwyer, Company A, promoted to a lieutenancy on Saturday morning for previous courageous and skillful conduct in other fields, fell early in the struggle, gallantly urging his men to advance. In three instances the enemy set up a cheer and boldly rushed forward, but my men, undismayed by their pretensions and their boldness, advanced to meet them, and a steady nerve and prompt fire caused them to fall back in confusion. At Russell's the first discharge of our cannon spread panic in the enemy's ranks and they fled. At the same time our skirmishers moved to the right in haste, in order to avoid our own exploding shells. A rebel officer, abandoned by his men, looked out of the window of the house, and, mistaking our movement for a flight, shouted to his men to come back, that the "damned cowardly Yankees were running." A ball from the well-aimed rifle of Private R. M. Snyder, Company G, who was within 50 yards, sped its way to the head of the rebel, and deprived him forever of his command.
I could mention many instances of individual heroism, but I have scarcely space. Corporal William Pritchard and Private James Gant, both of Company E, were shot early in the engagement, depriving each of them of the use of an arm, but they refused to fall to the rear, and loaded and fired upon the enemy with the use of only an arm and leg. At night they remained at their posts away in the advance, and in the morning it required my peremptory orders to make them return to camp. Company C took prisoner a man known to several of us, whose name is Hunt, formerly of Saint Louis. He had been delivered to General Sherman.
General Morgan L. Smith was constantly in front, managing and urging on the skirmishers. He renewed the conduct of himself which so distinguished him at Donelson and at Shiloh. My men, one and all, officers and privates, did their duty. They were constantly under the eye of General Smith, and he knows this truth. The conduct of every one of my officers is worthy of special mention. My assistants upon the staff, Captains William Hill and Giles A. Smith and Actg. Adjt. Edwin E. Furber, acted with judgment and courage. Captain Smith is capable of filling any position in the army.
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Eighth Missouri Volunteers.
Captain D. C. COLEMAN,