War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0793 Chapter XXIX. ARKANSAS POST

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I think it probable, however, that there were five or six batteries in any front.

After this fire had been kept up for about an hour the enemy pushed forward a column of attack of several battalions against that part of my line occupied by the Tenth Texas. Their artillery fire appeared to have been concentrated against the right of that regiment, where our artillery was posted. We did not open fire upon this column with small-arms until its head was within 80 to 100 yards from our line; then we gave them a very deadly fire, firing by file and with marked effect, as after the first volley those who wee not killed or wounded fell back in great confusion to the shelter of the timber, from whence they kept up a very heavy skirmishing fire.

Immediately after this repulse the enemy pushed another strong column against the left of my line, occupied by the Fifteenth Texas. Here we met them in the same way, allowing them to come up within 80 to 100 yards before opening fire on them, and with the same result as before. Seeing that they were continually pressing toward my left flank, evidently with the intention of passing around it through the interval between it and the bayou, I placed Lieutenant-Colonel Hutchinson, with his six companies of the Nineteenth Arkansas, his left resting on the bayou and his line being nearly parallel to the prolongation of my line, but retired somewhat so as to give him as much protection as possible by sweeping with a flank fire from my left the ground over which the enemy would have to pass in order to reach him. This battalion had no intrenchments whatever, though sheltered in a measure by a pretty heavy growth of timber. Even after this disposition was made there was still an unoccupied and comparatively open space of about 100 to 125 yards between the left of my trench and the right of the Arkansas battalion. The enemy made two more attacks upon the left of my line in heavy force, but were driven back each time, as at first, with great loss. They also pushed forward several columns against my line further to the center and right, but with the same result, never receiving more than one or two volleys at close range before they would be compelled to fall back to the cover of the timber, from whence, however, they kept up a very heavy and unremitting fire with long-range rifles upon us. We also kept up a slow and deliberate but effective fire from our sharpshooters along the line and with marked effect.

Seeing that the enemy were determined to turn my left flank, from the large force being massed against it and extending for some distance beyond it to my left, I sent a request to Colonel Garland for re-enforcements, if he could spare me any. He very promptly ordered twelve companies of the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Texas Dismounted Cavalry and the Sixth Texas Infantry to report to me, under command of Lieutenant Cols. P. H. Swearingen and W. M. Neyland and Major A. H. Phillips. These companies had to pass through a very galling fire almost the entire length of the line, a it was on my extreme left that I wanted them, and it was necessary to crawl on all fours in our shallow trench the whole distance.

Before these re-enforcements reached me, however, as there was a temporary cessation in the attack on my left, I passed up the line to the extreme right and found everything going on well, my men in good spirits, &c.; but the four pieces of artillery had been silenced some time before, as the enemy concealed in the timber along the front of the line kept up such an unremitting and intensely hot skirmishing fire that it was almost impossible for a man to show himself without being struck. Out of the horses belonging to the four pieces and their caissons only one or two escaped being either killed or wounded.