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One of the Ninth Missouri was so enraged, on the second day of the battle, at seeing his brother, a member of the same regiment, horribly butchered and scalped, that he swore vengeance against the Indians, and for the remainder of the day devoted his attention entirely to them, concealing himself behind threes, and fighting in their fashion. An excellent marksman, he would often creep along the ground to obtain a better range; and then woe to the savage who exposed any part of his body. When he had shot an Indian, he would shout with delicious joy: “There goes another red-skin to ____. Hurrah for the Stars and Stripes, and _____all Indians!” Though ever following the wily foe, and though fired upon again and again, he received not a scratch; and on his return to camp, after nightfall, bore with him nine scalps of aboriginal warriors, slain by his own hand to avenge his brother’s death.

A German soldier, in the Thirty-fifth Illinois, met with two very narrow escapes in fifteen minutes, while Gen. Carr’s division was contending so vigorously against the enemy in Cross-Timber Hollow. He wore earrings for the benefit of his eyes, and a musket-ball cut one of them in two, (the broken segments still remaining,) and passed into the shoulder of the Second Lieutenant of the company. Ten minutes after, during a temporary lull in the strife, while the German was relating the story of his escape, a bullet whistled by, carrying the other ring with it, and abrading the skin of his ear, without doing further harm. Such are the vagaries of fate, and the mysterious shiftings on the battle-field between life and death.

One of the Texas soldiers was advancing with his bayonet upon a Lieutenant of the Ninth Iowa, whose sword had been broken. The officer saw his intention, avoided the thrust, fell down at his foeman’s feet, caught hold of his legs, threw him heavily to the ground, and before he could rise, drew a long knife from his adversary’s belt, and buried it in his bosom. The Texan, with dying grasp, seized the Lieutenant by the hair, and sank down lifeless, bathing the brown leaves with his blood. So firm was the hold of the nerveless hand, that it was necessary to cut the hair from the head of the officer before he could be freed from the corpse of the foe.

Presentiments on the battle-field often prove prophetic. Here is an instance: While Col. Osterhaus was gallantly attacking the centre of the enemy, on the second day, a Sergeant of the Twelfth Missouri requested the Captain of his company to send his wife’s portrait, which he had taken from his bosom, to her address in St. Louis, with his dying declaration that he thought of her in his last moments. “What is that for?” asked the Captain. “You are not wounded–are you?” “No,” answered the Sergeant; “but I know I shall be killed to-day. I have been in battle before, but I never felt as I do now. A moment ago I became convinced my time had come; but how, I cannot tell. Will you gratify my request? Remember, I speak to you as a dying man.” “Certainly, my brave fellow; but you will live to a good old age with your wife. Do not grow melancholy over a fancy or a dream.” “You will see,” was the response. The picture changed hands. The Sergeant stepped forward to the front of the column, and the Captain perceived him no more. At the camp-fire that evening the officer inquired for the Sergeant. He was not present. He had been killed three hours before by a grape-shot from one of the enemy’s batteries.

While the fight was raging about Miser’s farm-house, on the ridge, on Friday morning, a soldier, belonging to the Twenty-fifth Missouri, and a member of a Mississippi company, became separated from their commands, and found each other climbing the same fence. the rebel had one of those long knives made of a file, which the South has so extensively paraded, but so rarely used, and the Missourian had one also, having picked it up on the field. The rebel challenged his enemy to a fair, open combat with the knife, intending to bully him, no doubt; and the challenge was promptly accepted. The two removed their coats, rolled up their sleeves, and began. The Mississippian had more skill, but his opponent more strength, and consequently the latter could not strike his enemy, while he received several cuts on the head and breast.

The blood began trickling down the Unionist’s face, and, running into his eyes, almost blinded him. The Union man became desperate, for he saw the secessionist was unhurt. He made a feint; the rebel leaned forward to arrest the blow, but employing too much energy, he could not recover himself at once. The Missourian perceived his advantage, and knew he could not lose it. In five seconds more it would be too late. His enemy, glaring at him like a wild beast, was on the eve of striking again. Another feint; another dodge on the rebel’s part; and then the blade of the Missourian, hurled through the air, fell with tremendous force upon the Mississippian’s neck. The blood spirted from the throat, and the head fell over, almost entirely severed from the body. Ghastly sight! too ghastly even for the doer of the deed! He fainted at the spectacle, weakened by the loss of his own blood, and was soon after butchered by a Seminole, who saw him sink to the earth.

On Saturday morning, a body of three or four hundred Indians was discovered on the north side of Sugar Creek, below the curve of a hill, firing from thick clusters of post-oaks into three or four companies of Arkansas soldiers, marching in McCulloch’s division towards the upper part of the ridge. The Major of the battalion, seeing this, hallowed out to them that they were firing upon their own friends, and placed his white handkerchief on his sword, and waved it in the air.

The Indians either did not see, or did not care for, the flag of truce, but poured two volleys into the Arkansans, killing, among others, the Major himself. The presumption then was, that the Cherokees had turned traitors; and the secession soldiers were immediately ordered to charge upon them. The did so, and for an hour a terrible fight ensued among the oaks between them and their late savage allies, in which it is stated some two hundred and fifty were killed and wounded on both sides. The Indians suffered severely, as they were driven from their hiding-places, and shot and butchered without mercy. A person who witnessed this part of the fight says it was the most bloody and desperate that occurred on the field, being conducted with the most reckless and brutal energy by the two parties, of whom it would be difficult to say which was the most barbarous. On the dead savages were found, in some instances, two or three scalps fastened to their belts by thongs of leather.

Originally posted 2008-08-04 15:57:01.

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Not ‘midst the lightning of the stormy fight,
Not in the rush upon the Vandal foe,
Did kingly Death, with his resistless might,
Lay the Great Leader low.

His warrior soul its earthly shackles broke
In the full sunshine of a peaceful town;
When all the storm was hushed, the trusty oak
That propped our cause went down.

Though his alone the blood that flecks the ground,
Recording all his grand, heroic deeds,
Freedom herself is writhing with the wound,
And all the country bleeds.

He entered not the nation’s Promised Land
At the red belching of the cannon’s mouth,
But broke the House of Bondage with his hand,
The Moses of the South!

O, gracious God! not gainless is the loss;
A glorious sunbeam gilds thy sternest frown;
And while his country staggers with the cross,
He rises with the crown!

Originally posted 2008-08-04 02:44:49.

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In the thickest of the contest, a secession Colonel of cavalry was knocked out of his saddle by a ball from one of our riflemen. “There goes old Baker, of the Georgia First!” shouted one of our boys, in hearing of his chaplain. “Who?” queried the parson. “Col. Baker, of the rebel ranks, has just gone to his long home.” “Ah, well,” replied the chaplain, quietly, “the longer I live, the less cause I have to find fault with the inscrutable acts of Divine Providence.” An unlucky private in one of the New York regiments was wounded in this fight, and his father arrived at the hospital just as the surgeon was removing the ball from the back of his shoulder. The boy lay with his face downwards on the pallet. “Ah, my poor son,” said the father, mournfully, “I’m very sorry for you. But it’s a bad place to be hit in–thus, in the back.” The sufferer turned over, bared his breast, and pointing to the opening above the armpit, exclaimed, “Father, here’s where the ball went in!”

One of the Zouaves was struck by a cannon shot, which tore through his thigh, close to his body, nearly severing the limb from the trunk. As he fell, he drew his photograph from hid breast, and said to his nearest comrade, “Take this to my wife. Tell her I died like a soldier, faithful to my country’s cause, and the good old flag. Good by!” and he died where he fell.

An artillery-man lay on the ground, nearly exhausted from loss of blood, and too weak to get out of the way of the tramping troops and horses that flitted about him. A mounted horseman came towards him, when he raised the bleeding stumps of both his arms, and cried out, “Don’t tread on me, Cap’n! See! both hands are gone.” The trooper leaped over him, a shell broke near by, and the crashing fragments put the sufferer quickly out of his misery.

A rebel–one of the Georgia regiments–lay with a fearful shot-wound in his side, which tore out several of his ribs. The life-blood of the poor fellow was fast oozing out, when one of our troops came dashing forward, from out of the melee, and fell, sharply wounded, close beside him. The Georgian recognized his uniform, though he was fatally hurt, and feebly held out his hand. “We came into this battle,” he said, “enemies. Let us die friends. Farewell.” He spoke no more, but his companion in disaster took the extended hand, and escaped to relate this touching fact.

One of our riflemen had his piece carried away by a ball, which struck it out of his hands just as his company was in the act of advancing to storm one of the smaller rebel batteries. Unharmed, he sprang forward, and threw himself down on his face, under the enemy’s guns. A Zouave lay there, wounded and bleeding, out of the way of the murderous fire. “Lay close–lay close, old boy,” said the latter to the ner comer; “the boys’ll take this old furnace’n a minute, and then we’ll git up an’ give the rebels fits ag’in.” Three minutes afterwards the battery was carried, and the two soldiers were in the thickest of the fight again.

A member of the Second Connecticut regiment wrote as follows:

While at a halt it was my lot to witness a very painful scene. I captured a prisoner, (a German,) belonging to the Eighth South Carolina regiment, and took him to Major Colburn for instructions as to how to dispose of him. The prisoner requested one privilege as his last, which the Major very humanely granted. He said his brother lay a short distance off, in a dying condition, and he wished to see him. I bade him lead the way, and I followed.

He took me to an old log hut but a few rods from where our regiment was halted. On the north side, in the shade, we found the wounded man. The prisoner spoke to him–he opened his eyes–the film of death had already overspread them, and the tide of life was fast ebbing. He was covered with blood, and the swarms of flies and mosquitoes, which were fattening upon his life’s blood, indicated that he had lain there for some time. They clasped hands together, muttered a few words in the German language, supplicating the Throne of Grace for their families at home, kissed, and bade each other a final adieu; the prisoner remarking, as I took him by the arm to lead him away, for the column was moving, “Brother, you are dying, and I am a prisoner.” The man was shot with a musket ball in the back, just over the hip; from which fact I inferred that he was on the retreat when the deadly ball overtook him.

Originally posted 2008-08-02 21:29:50.

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A young daughter of Baltimore wrote thus to a schoolmate and friend in Charleston:

BALTIMORE, May 16, 1861.

You must pardon me for intruding upon you an expression of my Southern sentiments. I so often think and speak of you with the rest of your friends, and I envy your living in the bosom of a home which we are denied. You cannot see as well as we how miserably our happiness, our liberty, our homes, have been sold by traitors, who would resk all this to be pampered minions of an Abe Lincoln and his party.

I can scarcely control myself while I am writing you. I am boiling over with indignation. I once prayed for peace; but now, next to begging the blessing of God, I pray–“Hurrah for Jeff Davis and the Southern Confederacy!” and, woman as I am, if I knew the way, I would walk out of Maryland, until my foot rested upon more Southern soil. You are happy indeed, and have nothing to contend with in comparison with us poor Baltimorians, or, I should have said, Marylanders; for here there are hearts that beat as warm to the South, as ever throbbed at the guns of Charleston. We are not conquered, and never will be; and God grant that before long the flag of secession may wave over our city and State. They we can run to the embraces of friends whom we love, though we know them not. It is sufficient we are all for the same cause–Southern rights.

It would amuse you exceedingly if you could hear the women talk. Some offer themselves as escorts to the gentlemen, who find it difficult to get out of the city; others are almost ready to hang old Hicks, and, but for the men, I believe they would; others, and I among the number, are ready to shoulder our muskets to defend the just and holy cause of the South, in case the men fail.

In the event of Maryland doing anything that would seem hostile to the South, do you, and beg your friends to, keep one sympathizing thought for those who are with you in spirit; for

“‘Tis home where’er the heart is.”

How I would love to be able to talk to you about old and new times!

Originally posted 2008-08-01 19:22:45.

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