General Price also came on the field. The Fourth Brigade having been divided, so as to throw two regiments on the right and two on the left of the line of battle occupied by the Second Brigade, the order to move forward was given, and the battle commenced anew and raged with terrific fury until dark, our brave troops forcing the foe back step by step some 600 yards.
At the commencement of this conflict the First and Third Brigades had arrived on the field and were ready and eager to join and relive their comrades of the Second and Fourth.
Night having stopped the conflict, arrangements were made to renew it at daybreak or to repel the foe should he in the night move forward his line, then only some 200 yards in front. The Second Brigade, which had suffered severely, was quietly withdrawn from the line and replaced by the First. The Fourth, after being joined by the two regiments which had been at first sent to the right, remained on the line to form the left wing. The Third Brigade was still held in reserve.
In this order the division remained in position until before day, when, in obedience to orders, it commenced falling back to march in retreat. The position occupied in the night was slowly left by daylight, the First Brigade bringing up the rear of the division. In consequence of the train moving in front the rear did not pass out of the town until about 7 a. m.
The march continued on the 20th to the vicinity of New Market Store, on the 21st to Big Brown Creek, and on the 22nd to Twenty Mile Creek, 1 mile east of this place (Baldwyn), where the troops are still in camp, with the exception of the Second Brigade, which was moved on the immediate west side of the railroad on the 23d.
The above is a condensed and general history of the operations of the division from the 11th to the 23rd instant, embracing the period of time given in orders from army headquarters.
Early in the action, when the main charge had been ordered, Brigadier-General Little was instantly killed by a Minie ball, and the command of the division devolved on the undersigned. The fall of the general was immediately known throughout the lines, but, far from creating consternation, panic, or confusion, every officer and every soldier seemed to become animated with new determination. The leader whom they had learned to love and esteem and in whom they had full confidence had fallen. The foe who had deprived them of him was in front and revenge was within their grasp. The First Division of the Army of the West will ever remember and venerate the name of Henry Little.
During the night of the 19th to the 20th our skirmishers and those of the enemy often came together, but very little firing occurred. Some prisoners were taken on both sides.
The forces engaged were as follows: Second Brigade of Infantry, Brigadier General L. Hebert; Fourth Brigade of Infantry, Colonel John D. Martin; Clark Battery, Captain King.
The Saint Louis Battery, Captain Dawson, attached to the Second Brigade, was thrown into position on the extreme left when the brigade first formed line of battle, to prevent a flanking movement of the enemy which was threatened, but did not go into action. A regiment of infantry was sent to protect it during the night.
The First Brigade was commanded by Colonel Elijah Gates and the Third by Brigadier General M. E. Green.
The casualties of the division, according to brigade reports, are as follows: