On the morning of the 11th instant General Sherman advanced, and I directed Brigadier General A. J. Smith to take position on his left, and to re-enforce General Sherman should it become necessary. I directed General Osterhaus to station Colonel De Courcy's brigade near Notrib's to watch the road over which General Steele had countermarched, and to look to the safety of the boats.
This gallant brigade lost 580 men at Chickasaw Bluffs, and, with Blair's brigade, bore the brunt of that hard-fought but unsuccessful day. Colonel John F. De Courcy deserves promotion.
Brigadier General A. J. Smith deployed nine regiments for the attack, holding three in reserve. His right was opposite the enemy's center.
It had been already arranged by General McClernand with Rear-Admiral Porter that the gunboats should open the attack, when it should be promptly taken up by the army along the entire line. Brigadier-General Osterhaus had placed in position two 20-pounder Parrotts on the river bank, at a distance of 800 yards from the fort, holding two sections of the Chicago Mercantile Battery in reserve.
At 1 p.m. the gunboats, as on the previous night, opened in the most gallant style, and fire was immediately taken up by Webster's section of 20-pounders, and in a few moments the entire line was engaged. The division of General A. J. Smith steadily advanced and drove the enemy before him toward the open ground which separated his command from the enemy's line. The enemy, hotly pressed, sought shelter behind a cluster of cabins. General Smith ordered the buildings to be charged, which was gallantly done by Colonel Guppey with the Twenty-third Wisconsin, and the enemy was forced to flee to his entrenchments.
General A. J. Smith still pressed forward with his command, the brigade of General Burbridge in the advance, until within 200 yards of the fort, when he sent me word that he was within hand-shaking distance of the enemy. For some time a galling fire was kept up between General Smith's division and the enemy, and it will be observed that more than one-third of the loss sustained by the army in that battle was by General Burbridge's brigade, and it is but justice to say that the chief honor of the day belongs to Brigadier General A. J. Smith's gallant division.
As soon as the gunboats and Lieutenant Webster, under the direction of General Osterhaus, had silenced the guns of the fort, Colonel Lindsey promptly advanced with his brigade to the point opposite the fort and put Captain Foster's two 20-pounder and two 10-pounder Parrotts, under Lieutenant Wilson, in a position to secure an oblique fire from the enemy's line of rifle-pits. Their fire was admirable; the enemy's battle-flag was shot away and the trenches were filled with his dead.
About this time I received a message through Major Sanger of General Sherman's staff saying that he was hotly pressed and asking for aid. Major Sanger had applied to General McClernand for re-enforcements and by General McClernand was sent to me. I at once sent an aide-de-cam with Major Sanger to General Smith with instructions to send as many regiments to General Sherman as he could spare. Though hotly engaged he sent three, and afterward requested me to order the attack of the enemy's extreme right. The order was given, and Osterhaus personally conducted Sheldon's brigade into action in a masterly manner. Indeed, throughout the battle he evinced the qualities of a cool and intrepid commander.
My entire force in the field was now engaged, and I took advantage of my chain of vedettes, established at short intervals between De Courcy's position and my own, to order up his brigade. The fight