War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0151 Chapter XXXIV. BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE, ARK.

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manded by First Lieutenant Gregg, was assigned to Colonel Gordon, who had now divided his regiment, leaving four on the right, under Major [George R.] Kirtley, leading the other four on the left, in person, in conjunction with Colonel Jeans, of the Second Regiment, and Major Elliott, of the scouts. The Third Regiment, Colonel Thompson, after returning from its successful reconnaissance, was ordered to the front, on the left of Bledsoe's battery, dismounted. The battle now began with terrific fury. All along the lines the near fire of the infantry rose, crash upon crash, the dense smoke filling the air and the wild powder gloom getting darker and darker. This terrible fire soon rippled out in one vast, mighty wave of bullets, that circled and roared like a storm at sea, varied incessantly by the thunder of impatient cannon and the yell of exultant and furious combatants. On the right, four regiments of Federal infantry formed in the open field, and came up in splendid order, with flaunting banners and waving pennons, the light of battle on their faces and their steps proud with the thoughts of an easy victory. My skirmishers were steadily driven in, and down to meet them like an avalanche our own infantry swept. They met, the shock was terrible, but, broken and rent, our boys drove them back and followed at the charge. Again and again they returned to the fight, and again and again were they repulsed with great slaughter. The four companies under Major Kirtley were now ordered to dismount and join the mad melee. It was done, and they stood shoulder to shoulder and eyes to the front. Now the enemy, gathering all his remaining strength, came back again with unbroken front and steady step. This conflict was intensely hot. Our men drove them from the woods, drove them across the opening directly in our front, and even drove them beyond their batteries, causing them to limber up and change position. In this charge Major Kirtley led the four companies detached from the First Regiment with much skill and coolness. On the left, the remainder of my brigade was attacked by a largely superior force of cavalry and artillery with much vigor and determination. They fought them as cavalry, and drove them back with heavy loss, although I had not a single piece of artillery to cover my attack or meet the batteries of the enemy.

During all the day I had noticed the terrible efficiency of the enemy's batteries, and saw that they were handled with remarkable skill and effect, and thinking it prudent - nay, absolutely necessary - to change the position of some of our guns, I ordered Captain Bledsoe to bring his battery to the brow of the hill, in the center, and draw their fire, while the other guns could be removed without any unnecessary exposure. This move was executed by Bledsoe in keeping with his hitherto high reputation, and once more, with gathered strength, our batteries opened on the foe. Now, on the left of Captain Bledsoe's battery, the Third Regiment was formed, dismounted, and never did men stand a more terrible and well-directed fire, and that, too, without flinching or giving back an inch. When the final struggle came, when General Parsons met the shock of Blunt's entire command, this regiment formed with him, and fought with great effect and intrepidity, for the dead and wounded Federals, lying stretched out in their gory beds, "thick as autumnal leaves in Vallombrosa," can well attest the fury and courage with which the Missourians [fought] shoulder to shoulder and side by side. Colonel Thompson, Lieutenant-Colonel [John C.] Hooper, Major Smith, the captain of each respective company, were amid their men, and did great good by their true and heroic bearing. Now the combat thickens all along the lines, and death, with its black banner on the breeze, nerves each heart and cheers them on to the rough, red fray. Bledsoe was there