distance like a beautiful panorama, and the men, catching the inspiration of the scene, forgot all their trials and hardships, and were eager for the rough, red fray. With flaunting banners, and all the pomp and circumstance of war, the Federals had marched gaily out to meet us, and taken their position in our front. I had dismounted, mean while, the First and Third Regiments, and was forming them as infantry, holding Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey's command mounted until the position of the enemy was perfectly understood and all his motions thoroughly seen. When the plan of action had been decided upon, I then dismounted Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey's regiment and formed them as infantry, holding in reserve as cavalry Major Elliott's scouts and Lieutenant Gregg's company. Then forming my lines, I rapidly moved my brigade to the open plain south and southeast of the town, rested for a moment, making the final dispositions, and taking breath for the crisis. Major Elliott and Lieutenant Gregg were on the right flank, watching and skirmishing with the enemy there, and over the level earth squadrons of horse swept gaily and fantastically. 'Twas a bright and beautiful scene. There lay the quiet town, robed in the dull, gray hue of the winter, it domes and spires stretching their skeleton hands to heaven, as if in prayer against the coming strife, and, drawing near and nearer, long black lines came gleaming on, while the sun shone out like a golden bar, uncurling it yellow hair on earth and sky, stream and mountain, and lent the thrilling picture a sterner and fiercer light. My skirmishers advanced steadily, and now continual shots in front tell that the enemy are found and pressed sorely. On the extreme left you have organized Colonel MacDonald's regiment into a storming party and sent it at the fort, and they could be plainly seen winding over the crest of the hill and moving rapidly to the attack. MacDonald has me the enemy and is driving them, but they soon re-enforced, and would in turn compel him to retreat. I saw the crisis, and ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon and Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey to charge with their regiments, to support MacDonald. Gallantly it was done, and as gallantly sustained. At the command, a thousand warriors sprang to their feet, and, with one wild Missouri yell, burst upon the foe; officers mix with men in the mad melee, and fight side by side; some storm the fort at the headlong charge, others gain the houses from which the Federals had just been driven, and keep up the fight, while some push on after the flying foe. The storm increases and the combatants get closer and closer.
I heard the cannon's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the muskets deadly clang,
As if a thousand anvils rang!
In this charge a regiment of Federals, just sent from their main fort, were scattered and driven back, and their entire force forced into their heavy earthworks, surrounded by rifle-pits and other obstructions.
I cannot fail, in this connection, to speak of the daring charge of Captain L. J. Crocker, of Company K, First Regiment; Lieutenant William [H.] Ferrell, of Company F, same regiment, and about a dozen other reckless spirits from Gordon's and Gilkey's regiments, upon one pieces of artillery, supported by a battalion of Iowans, but who fled after a sharp, hot rally, and suffered their gun and caisson, filled with valuable ammunition, to be borne in triumph to the rear. The battle thickens; Colonel Thompson, who had been stationed on the right with his regiment, and who did not participate in the charge, but who was watching and foiling the movements of a large body of cavalry in that direction, was now ordered