fire upon Colonel Sweeny's brigade. The troops of the Second Division, I regret to say, fell back, beginning from the right of the line to the left, some earlier than others. The troops of Colonel Sweeny's brigade and the reserve retired, firing as they went, the reserve 175 yards from their line, and were rallied by Captain Lovell. Most of Colonel Du Bois' brigade fell back 75 yards and some of it farther. The Confederates took possession of the earthwork, captured the seven guns left in it, and held our whole line. Some few of them advanced beyond it some 50 yards, but the troops, having gallantly rallied, drove back the enemy with slaughter, recaptured the guns, charged the enemy from the whole line, directing a most murderous fire upon them, punishing them most severely for their temerity, and in the most splendid style made, I think, a suitable apology for, and corrected, unassisted, their fault. They continued to charge upon the enemy, cheering and yelling, till the line had marched 150 yards in front, when Chapman's battery, on the east of the town, continued a rapid and well-directed fire upon the ground which he supposed the rebels still occupied, and with such rapidity was solid shot and shell thrown in that it arrested the progress of Colonel Sweeny's brigade; and although many of our men were killed by the shell and shot they never wavered, but halted and stood their ground. Seven or eight of these passed directly over my head, and one very close, brushing my adjutant-general, Captain Lovell, on the right arm and raising a contusion, and taking off the legs of two of my brave soldiers directly in his front. Several men of Colonel Du Bois' brigade were also killed by the solid shot and shell from Chapman's battery. The fire of the battery seemed at first to be directed toward this point, and prevented the prompt rallying of that brigade. Those who had rallied and made the stand 75 yards from that line were prevented for a time from advancing by the continuous fall of these missiles in their front and midst, several of Colonel Babcock's (Seventh Illinois) regiment being killed in this way on the rally. I sent two orderlies in succession to the commander of this battery, begging him to reserve his fire for the enemy.
When the advancing line had reached the earthwork and recaptured it Captain Lovell, my adjutant-general, sprang from his horse, captured 5 prisoners in the ditch, and, with the assistance of one of Colonel Sweeny's men and one bugler of the First Missouri Artillery, manned a 20-pounder rifled gun, and fired ten or twelve shots at the retreating enemy before the artillerists returned to their posts.
The enemy did not gain the town on the line assigned to this division to defend, but came in on the left, over the railroad. The distances from my extreme left to the railroad is 250 yards and another clear space over the railroad of the same distance or more. The distance from my left to the railroad was increased to 350 yards by Colonel Du Bois moving the Fifty-seventh Illinois on the right of his brigade to cover the Purdy road. The two regiments of General Sullivan's brigade, the left of which rested about 200 yards to the rear of the earthwork on the right of my line and perpendicular to it, stood fast until the earthwork was retaken, when they made a charge to the north, directly to their front. Lieutenant Miller, Twelfth Illinois, on the advance to retake the earthwork, seized the colors of the Fifty-second Illinois, whose color bearer had been shot down, and planted them on the earthwork.
Colonel Johnson's Confederate brigade now made its appearance out of the woods and made a second charge in front of my line. They were received with a murderous fire. Colonel Johnson being killed and falling from his horse, the brigade broke, and the last of the charge against