War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0202 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

up, and advanced with spirit and alacrity. The battery which accompanied the expedition from Lewisburg, commanded by Lieutenant Richard A. Collins, and consisting of one rifled piece and one smooth-bore 6-pounder, was advanced, one piece being brought up into the very town, and opening at point-blank range with grape and canister. The Federals re-enforced largely, and came back with cavalry and artillery, and a hot, desperate conflict ensued; one side struggling to hold the position gained, the other to drive them from it. Bravely my fighting brigade meets the onset, and stubbornly they resist; blow falls on blow, shot follows shot. Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon leads the gallant First, and they never fail. Major [D.] Shanks, and Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey, and Colonel Thompson are piloting their regiments, bravely and well, and the contest rages, and the wild death-dance goes merrily on.

Still Collins plies his lurid torch,

Where balls will rend or powder scorch;

Still Shanks and Gordon, side by side,

Like veteran heroes stem the tide.

This stern, sanguinary fight was kept up for hours, and even into the night the roar of artillery and small-arms was incessant. On the right Lieutenant [F. M.] Scott made a bold and daring charge, breaking the first line of Federals in splendid style, and only retiring when accumulating numbers made it madness to advance.

About 3 o'clock I had Major Elliott scouts dismounted and brought up in the town, forming in rear of and supporting Collins' iron 6-pounder, made and he was firing a salute over the joyous event, although he was constantly exposed and always in range of minie musketry.

Night came down with weary, brooding wings, laid her dark brown across the cloudy sky, and threw her sable mantle over fort and wall and house and men, checking the bloody strife, and calming the furious passions that had been at war all day. I drew my brigade off calmly and cautiously, formed them in and around the heavy stockade, threw out trusty skirmishers, and prepared to pass the night as best I could, although it was very cold, and the men had no fires, save the smoldering fragments of consumed houses, burned by the terrified enemy at our first approach. When all was quiet, Collins, with his iron 6-pounder and a small support, made a promenade upon the principal streets of the city. Acting upon the principle of the Irishman at a Donnybrook fair, who, whenever he saw a head, hit at it, so this little party, whenever a light appeared, fired at it, and it served not only to encourage our tired soldiers, but it told to the foe, with thunder tones, that we were still victors, proud and defiant. The men lay on their arms until about 2 o'clock in the morning, when I deemed it best, as they were suffering greatly from cold and hunger, to withdraw, which was done quietly and in order, some of Colonel MacDonald's command and Major Elliott's scouts picketing my flanks and front. My brigade suffered seriously in the attack upon Springfield, but it covered itself all over with glory, and won imperishable laurels. There the heroic John W. Buffington, second lieutenant of Company H, First Regiment, ahead of his best and bravest, fell, almost leading a forlorn hope.

Oh! smooth the damp hair over his brow;

It is pale and while, and ghastly now;

And hide the wounds in his gory breast,

For his soul has fled to its final rest.

In the charge beyond the stockade, after that had been won, and almost upon the enemy's guns, H. S. Titsworth, captain of Company H,