Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/573

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In front of Battery Robinette, at the Federal center, the fighting was terrific. Gates’ brigade was first engaged in this vicinity, and Cabell was ordered up to his support, but Gates fell back for want of ammunition after gaining the enemy’s works. Then Cabell went up with a yell of "Butler," drove in the troops before the works and swept up to the cannons’ mouths, but was then driven back under a withering fire. Rosecrans related that three assaults were made upon Robinette, and that the last, which he witnessed, "was about as good fighting on the part of the Confederates as I ever saw. The columns were plowed through and through by our shot, but they steadily closed up and moved forward until they were forced back." The field was covered with dead and dying, and the Confederate forces were exhausted. Many of the regiments were without either ammunition or rations. It was evident that the attack had failed, and preparations were at once made for retreat.

Lovell’s division, which had not attacked on the morning of the 4th, formed to protect the retreat, which was not molested during the afternoon by Rosecrans, whose force was evidently also in no shape to immediately renew the fight. The retreat was continued on the 5th to Davis’ bridge on the Hatchie, but the bridge was found in the hands of Hurlbut. Moore’s brigade, now but 300 men, was thrown across, but the enemy was strongly posted and Moore, reinforced by Phifer, was swept back over the bridge, losing four guns. All that Maury’s division, reinforced by Villepigue, could do, was to check the enemy's advance until Van Dorn could find another crossing place. If Rosecrans had promptly followed Van Dorn, as ordered by Grant, the Confederate army could hardly have escaped. He did set out on the 5th, with McPherson’s fresh brigade in advance, but before he could bring up strength enough to overcome the strong resistance of Bowen's brigade, guarding the rear, Van