command of Lieutenant Colonel [John] Charles Black; Twentieth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under command of Lieutenant Colonel J. B. Leake; Second Battalion, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, under Major Samuel Montgomery, and Battery F, First Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery, under command of Captain David Murphy.
The brigade moved by forced marches for about eighty consecutive hours, during the last thirty-one of which it passed a distance of about 52 miles. On the day of the battle there were absent from the brigade two companies of cavalry, en route to join General Blunt-one company at Springfield and the other company guarding the train, with orders to force up all stragglers lounging around it; also one company from each of the infantry regiments guarding the train, in addition to the old guard of 100 infantry, who were a part of the train guard. This, with the sick and stragglers, diminished the brigade to a total fighting force of 644, and aggregate, 694, infantry; Major Samuel Montgomery, of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry (stripped necessarily of his companies one by one), and Battery F.
The Second Brigade was directed to take a position on the extreme right. Captain Murphy's battery occupied the most commanding position in the vicinity. Three guns, under the command of Lieutenant John [L.] Matthaei, occupied the right, and three guns the immediate command of Lieutenant James Marr, occupied the left, of the line; the first supported by the Thirty-seventh and the second by the Twentieth, both regiments being well under cover; the former with a defensive crotchet of two companies on the right flank to prevent a surprise, &c., from that direction through the thicket; the latter, with a small detachment thrown to the right and rear, to assist in securing the brigade form surprise.
At 1.30 p. m., Lieutenant Marr, seconded by Lieutenant Matthaei, opened our side of the contest, and elicited a spirited reply. After about three-fourths of an hour's remarkable artillery practice, during which time new rebel batteries were being constantly exposed, only to be silenced, the Thirty-seventh Illinois debouched, and, in battle-line, to the music of their own voices, moved to an advanced position, far in front of its battery. About fifteen minutes afterward, Lieutenant Marr's artillery, with its support, was directed to advance to a certain position. In doing so we found it necessary, as the battery to our left was moving, to take position to its right, from which the battery opened on a rebel one within 300 yards (which was being brought into position in the road near the white house), and, by a few well-directed shots, prevented its opening upon us. What remained of the battery moved to its left under cover (white house), which necessitated the moving of ours to a new position to the right.
While doing this, the general commanding ordered the battery to return to a position near that of the half battery under Lieutenant Matthaei. The Twentieth being a new regiment under fire, and without orders to return with the battery, I assisted it in to a position from which it could assume the offensive or defensive at pleasure, making its movements secondary to those of other parts of the line. This regiment, instead of the Thirty-seventh, now occupied the extreme right of the advanced position.
My special attention was from this time forward directed to the movements of this regiment, remaining at times with it, and then in a position from which I could see and make its movements conform to those of the infantry on its left. Under a sharp fire the regiment and make its movements conform to those of the infantry on its left. Under a sharp fir the regiment in gallant style