Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/525

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though it was not until 4 o'clock in the afternoon that the remainder of the army, delayed by the mud, was able to get in position. Consequently the battle had to be delayed until Sunday, the 6th, which fortunately was a clear and bracing day. At daylight the order was given to advance. An attack upon the skirmishers in front, commanded by Major Hardcastle had been "handsomely resisted by that promising young officer," and in half an hour the battle was fierce.

The Sixth Mississippi, under Colonel Thornton, charged with Cleburne in the face of a storm of fire and drove Prentiss from his tents, but rushing on through the camp met with a bloody repulse. Then, rallying again and again, the undaunted Mississippians threw themselves upon the enemy’s line, and "it was only when the regiment had lost 300 officers and men killed and wounded, out of an aggregate of 425, that it yielded and retreated over its own dead and dying." Colonel Thornton and Major Lowry, the field officers, were both wounded. "It would be useless," said General Cleburne, from whom these words are quoted, "to enlarge on the courage and devotion of the Sixth Mississippi. The facts as recorded speak louder than any words of mine." About 60 of the survivors of the regiment returned to the fight.

In Wood's brigade, which distinguished itself in the capture of a battery, Hardcastle's battalion won honor; and its brave commander, at one time separated from his men, seized a musket and joined the Sixteenth Alabama in a charge. "Major Hardcastle's battalion fired the first shot in our army on the enemy," said General Wood, "and we only left the field at the close of Monday's fight.

Chalmers', mainly a Mississippi brigade, at the opening of the battle was in the second line on the extreme right, extending to Lick creek. As Johnston's plan was to turn the Federal left and drive the enemy into the point between Owl creek and the Tennessee, it is evident that