War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0494 MO., ARK., KANS., IND.T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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had found that in my front, commanding the road, and very well served, was a battery of two 12-pounder howitzers, well sheltered behind the levee, across the bayou, on my right front, and where I afterward learned the bayou makes a sharp curve to the east was a single 12-pounder howitzer. These guns were supported by a strong line of skirmishers on the west side of the bayou, and a weak line in the same cornfield in which my line was advancing. On my right was the Bayou Fourche, between [J. M.] Glover and myself, as it proved afterward, entirely impracticable, though all the guides with whom I conversed stated that it was entirely dry and passable anywhere below the dam. I supposed at first that Glover's line extended to the bayou, and that it was moving up pari passu with mine and on its prolongation. It proved afterward that at first his left did not extend to the bayou, and that the direction of his line formed a sharp angle with mine, bending more to the front, and lying in my right rear. Simultaneous with the movement of Geiger's line of skirmishers, Hadley's section, notified of the position in front, was ordered to move the left of the road, supported by two squadrons of Merrill's Horse, into the corn-field, and move forward parallel with the road, and, when the enemy's skirmishers were driven from the corn-field, to push to the front until the enemy's battery could be seen, and open on it. This order, for some reason not as yet satisfactorily explained to me, was not obeyed; and when the battery was about midway of the corn-field it was withdrawn by Captain Hadley, the general's chief of artillery, and taken, under his direction, to the road leading to the left of the main road, and afterward to the right of the main road, where he received my reluctant permission to fire at the enemy's battery at a long range. No apparent effect was produced by his fire, except to explode one shell among our own skirmishers, and I ordered his firing to cease and his section to be taken to the rear out of any possible danger, and where I could use it in case what seemed to be an effort to turn my right flank should prove successful.

being under the impression that the bayou below the dam was perfectly dry and practicable at every point, my inability to connect with Glover's left gave me some apprehensions as to my right, which I feared might be turned, as I knew, from the character of Glover's first attack, that the enemy occupied the woods beyond the bayou on my right in force. All that I could spare of Merrill's Horse were dismounted and sent in on the right, in the endeavor to find out where Glover's left extended. Just as they got into position, and still not reaching to the bayou, the whole line of skirmishers being then advance to the position marked in the accompanying sketch,* I heard a heavy infantry fire on my right rear, and, riding toward the right to observe, if possible, what it was, was met by a message from Major [J. B.] Rogers, commanding the right of the line of skirmishers, to the effect that he was flanked by the enemy on the right, and that they were pouring in a heavy discharge of grape and canister from the gun on his right front and of musketry from his right rear. At the same time Colonel Geiger, commanding the center of the line, informed me that the two guns on the road had gotten the range of his line of skirmishers, and had them under a heavy fire of grape and canister. Major Harker, with the remaining three squadrons of Merrill's Horse, was now disposed behind the right of the line to foil any attempt to turn it. Already a staff officer and then an orderly, having no staff left, had been sent to find where the left of Glover's line was, and, hearing nothing from them, I gave Colonel Geiger orders to hold everything as it was, and went myself to examine the


* See p. 493.