force of the enemy, about 500 strong, who opened on them from their concealment a severe fire of musketry, driving their support back in confusion, and killing and wounding all of the horses of the section of howitzers nearest the woods. These two pieces, though gallantly defended by Lieutenant Lovejoy and his men, fell into the hands of the enemy. Lieutenant Lovejoy succeeded in escaping with a several wound from a Mine ball in his leg. These guns could only have been saved by a sacrifice of life, of far more value than the guns, or the moral effect of their recapture, as they were in the power of a concealed force of the enemy, at least 500 strong, covered by a naturally strong position.
I succeeded in stopping the remaining six howitzers, with were retreating in confusion, and placed them in battery about 400 yards from the scene of the disaster. I had previous to this ordered Lieutenant Doolittle, with four piece of the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, to take a position a little to the rear, and on the right of where the howitzers were stopped. As soon as our front was clear of our own men, I opened fire on the enemy in their position, and soon drove them back.
I had also ordered Lieutenant [E. B.] Hubbard, with two rifle guns from the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, to assist the First Brigade, occupying the left of our line, and opposed by two guns of a rebel battery, covering the upper crossing of Fourche Bayou. These two guns of Lieutenant Hubbard's being badly posted and supported, did but little good. I found them afterward posted in a corn-field at least a quarter of a mile from any support, and ordered Lieutenant Hubbard, after firing a few rounds from another position selected by myself, to move to the mouth of Fourche Bayou, and there await ordered from me, with his whole battery. I then went forward with the howitzers to the front of the Second Brigade, occupying the right of our line, and found that the rapid advance of the Second Brigade had compelled the rebel battery and its support, posted at the upper crossing of the bayou, to retire, one of the caissons of the battery falling into our hands, and the remainder barely escaping. I am of the firm conviction that had the advance of the left of our line been as vigorous as that of the right, this battery and a large portion of its support could have escaped capture. On returning to the mouth of the bayou, to order the artillery forward, I found an order from Colonel Merrill, commanding First Brigade, for the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery to join his brigade. This order I refused to sanction, knowing that the enemy had at that time retired from his front. I immediately moved forward with the artillery, and entered the city without firing another shot from the artillery, except from the howitzers in the advance.
The conduct of Lieutenant Lovejoy, commanding the howitzer battery, from Merrill's Horse, is deserving of the highest praise. He remained by his guns until every man and section was killed or wounded, and was himself badly wounded while attempting to fire upon the enemy. His men are also deserving of great credit.
Lieutenant Hubbard, commanding Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, and Lieutenant Clarkson, commanding Battery K, Second Missouri Artillery, are both deserving of praise for the efficient manner in which their batteries were handled during the day.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JULIUS L. HADLEY,
Captain 25th Ohio Batt., and Chief of Art., Cav. Div., Dept. of the Mo.
Brigadier General J. W. DAVIDSON,
Commanding Cavalry Division, Dept. of the Missouri.