ordered the captured artillery to be hauled off by hand. Two pieces were thus hauled off, and others spiked, so as to render them useless to the enemy in case they should recapture them.
With the consent of General Hovey, I had ordered up one section of the SIXTEENTH Ohio Battery, under Captain J. A. Mitchell, who asked, as an especial favor, that he might be permitted to put it into position. He advanced well to the front, and after pouring a few effective shots should he remain longer in that position, when he gave the command,"limber to the rear", which was his last order, as at that moment he received a mortal wound, from the effects of which he died in a few hours. He fell at his post, nobly and gallantly performing his duty.
In the mean time the contest went on. In reply to my THIRD message for assistance, I was informed that a brigade would be sent to us soon; it was FIFTEEN minutes behind time, but was being urged forward as rapidly as possible.
Frequent messengers had been sent for the Thirty-fourth Indiana, but it could not be found, having been ordered, without my knowledge, to occupy and hold a certain position, and had been constantly engaged from the beginning of the general engagement doing most gallant service. Having driven the enemy before us, and fought over the same ground three different times, after having been engaged in a continual conflict for nearly three hours, our ammunition being nearly exhausted, many of the men being entirely out, having fired 80 rounds, and relying upon what they could get from the boxes of the dead and wounded, and being overwhelmed by numbers, the First Brigade began to fall back, not in disorder and confusion, but in good order, step by step, contesting every inch of ground. As were neared the ground upon which the batteries had been captured, and from which the enemy had been driven in the morning, just as it appeared to every one that the guns would again fall into the hands of the rebels, we were greeted by the shouts of the long-promised re-enforcements, and one brigade, under command of Colonel Boomer, came looming over the hill, immediately followed by another, under command of Colonel Holmes, of the Tenth Missouri. They passed down the line to the front and went gallantly into action.
The rebel advance was momentarily checked, bur they came down upon us in such immense numbers that in a short time the whole line, re-enforcements and all, were compelled to give ground. Soon, however, our artillery stationed on the right opened an enfilading fire upon the rebel masses, which effectually checked their progress, and in a short time they gave way and fled in much confusion, leaving our gallant troops in peaceable possession of the battle-ground.
The artillery that was captured in the morning was all left in our possession, and the victory was complete.
Were I to attempt to do justice to the daring, endurance, and gallant conduct of the officers and men of the First Brigade, I should fail. Their actions speak for them; in proof of which let facts be submitted.
The Twenty-fourth Indiana, although not engaged in an immediate charge upon a battery, was heavily engaged for over three hours against immense odds. Forty per cent. Of the command were either killed or wounded. Among the wounded are Colonel W. T. Spicely and Lieutenant Colonel R. F. Barter, who, while gallantly bearing the colors of his regiment, was severely wounded. Nine officers were wounded, and 1(Captain Welman) was killed. The regiment went into the battle with an aggregate of 500 men. Their loss was 201.