Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/196
Southern Historical Society Papers.
appearance of a large regiment we were passing. It halted as we came upon its flank, faced to the front and presented arms, and as General Van Dorn reached its centre, three rousing cheers rang out upon the morning air, and made us feel we were with soldiers. It was the ever glorious Third Louisiana which thus cheered us.
That day we crossed over Boston mountain, and encamped near Fayetteville. Our cavalry, under McIntosh, was sent forward to make a demonstration.
Next morning, March 2d, we passed through Fayetteville, and camped for the night at Fulton springs, a few miles this side of Bentonville.
Van Dorn knew the enemy was occupying three detached camps, and the design was to strike the main body at Elkhorn before the divisions of Siegel or of Carr could join it. He ordered the army to march at 3 A. M. of the third, hoping to reach Bentonville before Siegel, with his 7,000 men, could pass that point and join Curtis in Sugar creek canon. But the enemy was up before we could get the troops to move; and on the march, they would delay at the crossing of every stream (and they were numerous), till they could pass by single file over a log dry shod. And thus it was, that when the head of our column debouched from the timber out upon the open prairie, three miles from Bentonville, we had the mortification to see the head of Siegel's column already entering that village, and marching so rapidly through it, on the Sugar Creek road, that we were unable to intercept or delay his movements.
Even yet McIntosh, with his mounted men, might have thrown himself across his (Siegel's) road, dismounted and formed line in his front, and thus delayed him till we could close in behind and cause his surrender. But his impetuous valor induced him to attempt a sort of charge upon Seigel's veteran infantry, with his wild men on wilder horses. Siegel met the attack with a volley or two, which scattered McIntosh's horsemen in every direction, and then resumed his rapid march.
We pressed on in pursuit, but the road led along a narrow canyon shut in by steep rocks and hills, and we could only follow Siegel, who, whenever he passed a favorable point, placed a battery in position to check the head of our column as we reached it. Long before dark he had closed up upon Curtis' army, and we halted for the night beyond cannon range.Our march had been along the main Telegraph road from Ben-