War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0149 Chapter XXXIV. BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE, ARK.

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in great confusion. I then strengthened my advance, took other precautions against the increasing danger (for we were nearing the enemy's lines), and moved northward again slowly but surely.

When your order was received to cut off, if possible, the enemy's pickets, I immediately ordered Major [B.] Elliott's battalion of scouts to make forced march across the mountains for that purpose; but, owing to the darkness of the night, the rugged and almost impassable road, and the ignorance of the guide, the expedition failed in its essential points.

During the day of the 5th, a large scout, well acquainted with both country and roads, made a close swoop almost to our camp, but immediately sending forward Colonel [Beal G.] Jeans in command of the Second Regiment, they took the road at a gallop, nor ceased pursuit until the enemy was driven some 10 miles in a running fight.

During this engagement I had the First Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel [B. F.] Grodon, and the Third, Colonel [G. W.] Thompson, dismounted and formed as support to Bledsoe's battery, now in position, with lighted port-fires and eager gunners, keen for the fray that grew fainter and fainter as Colonel Jeans pushed them hard and heavily, until the grand old mountains gave no murmur back, and all was silent, cold, and still.

Early, very early, on the morning of the 6th, I had my brigade under arms, and sending forward three companies as my advance, with the other three regiments dismounted and close up, I drove in the enemy's pickets with great rapidly and execution, although he made three different stands and fought me three times. This advance of three companies was under the charge of Major [M. W.] Smith, who, by his prompt deploying of skirmishers, his quiet self-possession, and his determined coolness, evinced much bravery and skill. The men were this morning keen for a fight, and went furiously up the steep and rugged mountain at a double-quick for miles. After being relieved by a regiment of infantry, I returned with my brigade to camp, where three days' rations were cooked, some little sleep obtained by the men, and again we were marching northward.

After encamping, and upon learning the near proximity of the enemy, I doubled my guards, threw out infantry skirmishers in every direction, under the charge of trusty officers, and lay down with the conscious satisfaction that neither Federal, Kansas jayhawker, nor Pin Indian could surprise us, and if they came they would meet with a bloody and slightest alarm to form rapidly as infantry and to sleep upon loaded arms.

Upon the eventful morning of the 7th, long before the full round moon had died in the lap of the dawn; long before the watching stars had grown dim with age, my brigades was saddled, formed, and their steeds champing frosted bits in the cold, keen air of a December morning, ready and eager for the march. After advancing rapidly and without intermission for several hours, I struck their trail, hot with the passage of many feet, reeking with the foot-prints of the invader. It needed no command now to close up. There was no lagging, no break in serried ranks, no straggling from the line, but each man grasped his gun with the strong, firm grasp and the strange, wild looks of heroes and born invincibles. After riding bard for about an hour, my advance came full upon the foe, and, with the mad, fierce whoop of men who have wrongs to right and blood to avenge, they dashed on and away at the pas de charge. Rapidly and in splendid style Colonel Jeans, by my command, rushed on the follow up the attack, while Colonels Thompson's and Gor-