Page:Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper Vol. 18.pdf/126

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May 14, 1864.]


Battle of Wilson's Plantation.

Gen. Banks took camp at Natchitoches on the 6th of April. On the following morning at daybreak the cavalry again started, and came upon a body of mounted rebels before they had marched two miles. Fighting began at once, and the enemy were rapidly driven before our troops. This running style of fight was kept up for 14 miles until they had got two miles beyond Pleasant Hill.

Here A foroe of 2,500 rebel cavalry, commanded by Gen. Green, were found strongly posted on Wilson's plantation. The rebels were deployed along the edge of a dense strip of woods, with an opec field in front, over which we had to charge in order to reach them. The only Union soldiers that had advanced far enough to take part in the fight which was inevit. ab e, was the cavalry brigade of Lee's corps, commanded by Col. Haral Robinson. As he had either to attack or be attacked, he decided to take the initiative, and he led his men in with such a dash and vigor that at last the enemy was oompletely whipped and driven from the field, This engagement lasted two hours and a half, and our losses amount to about 40 killed and wounded, the enemy's being at least as many. Col. Robinson pursued the retreating rebels as far as Bayou du Paul, Battle of Mansfiela. On Friday a portion of Gen. Banks's forces was attacked by a superior force of the enemy, four miles from the town of Mansfield. Gen. Lee.. with 6.000 on valry, was cautiously advancing, when the rebels suddenly assailed his front in strong force, after considerable sharp skirmishing was indulged in. Finding the enemy were ressing him heavily, Gen. Lee sent for a brigade of infantry to reinforce him. A brigade of infantry of the best war material-tried veterans rom the 13th army corps- were at once Fezt forward. The rebels fought vigorously and with desperation for several hours, driving back our troops with great loss, flanking both wings of our army, until a retreat was inevitable, if the enemy continued assaulting our right and front. Our artillery, consisting of Nime's celebrated Massachusetts battery, six gung, Rawles's 5th Regular battery, 18t Indiana, and Chicago Mercantile Battery, together with two mountain howitzers, barked loud, long and furiously against the invading hosts: but notwithstanding the vast numbers of these Bayage messengers of death which mowed down tho rebel lires, the enemy continued to edvance boldly, evincing & desperate determination to conquer or perish in the attempt. After the enemy had inflicted & most terrible blow upon the gallant little band who nobly opposed their fearful progress, a retreat was ordered. The retreating force finding the road blocked up by trains got into confusion. A Danio ensued, without a precedent since Bull run. The enemy pushed on in pursuit, aapturing 18 guns, all Gen. Lee's wagon train, and driving the panic stricken mass for 10 miles to Pleasant Hill. Here Franklin opened his line-of-battle, and allowed them to pase. The 13th and 19th army oorps then repulsed the enemy. Gen. Ransom reports the 1088 at 1,475 kiliea, wounded and missing. The guns were not lost, however, without heavy cost to the enemy. The charges of grape swept them down fearfully, and amongst them the rebel Geo. Mouton fell, pierced by four balls, Battle of Pleasant Hill. On Saturday morning all Gen. Banko's forces were at Pleasant hill, and the rebels came on, cavalry in front. The battlefield of Pleasant hill is a large open fiele. which had ouce been cultivated, but is now overgrow with weeds and bushes. The slightly elevated centre of the field. from which the name Pleasant hill is taken, 18 Dotbing more than a long mound, hardly wortby the name of hill. A semicircular belt of timber rung around the field on the Shreyeport side. Gen. Emory formed his line of battle on the side facing these woods, Gen. "MoMillan's brigade being poble on the right, Gen. Dwight's on the cente, aod Col. Benedict's on the left. Taylor's battery, L, 18t reg.lars had four guns in rear of the left wiog, on the left of the Shreveport road, and two on the road iu rear of Gen. Dwight's line. Hibberd's Vermont battery was on the right. In the rear of Emory were Gen. Smith's tried troops, formed in two lines of battle, 50 yards apart. The 13th corps was in reserve in the rear, under Gn. Cameron, Gen. Ransom having been wounded the day before. Gep. Smith was Coromander-r-Coiel of the two lines back of the crest, wbile Gey. Mower was the immediate commander of the men. The com mander of the right brigade in Gen. Smi h's first line was Col. Lynch; the left brigade was C.1. Shaw's. The second line also consisted of two brigades. Crawford's 3d Indiana battery was posted on the right of the 89lh Indiana infanry, and the 9th Indiana battery on the right of the line of ba tle. The Mis. gouri Iron Sun battery, and orbers whose names and numbers we could not ascertaio, were also in this section of the battle, The skirmishing was kept up with considerable vigor until about five o'clock in the afternoon, when the rebels had completed their arrangements for the attack. At about this hour Gen. Emory's skirmish line was driven in on the right by the rebels, who appeared in large force, coming through the timber sbove mentioned. They soon reached tbe open ground and moved on to the attack in three lines of battle. Our batteries and infantry opened with terrible effect, doing great slaughter with grape and cadis er, while the enemy's artillery, being in the woods and in bed position, did scarcely any damage. Col. Benedict's brigade on toe left was first engaged, soon followed by Dwigh's and MoMillan 8. The fighting was terrific; old soldiers say it never was surpassed for desperation. Notwithstarding the terrible havoo in their ranks, the enemy pressed fiercely on, Blowly pushing the men of the 19th corps back up the bill, but not breaking their line of baitie. A sudden and bold dash of the rebels on the right gave them possession of Taylor's battery, and forced our line still further back. Now came the greod coup de main. The 19th, on arriving at the top of the hill, suddenly bled off over the bill, and passed through the lines of Gen. Smith. We must here mention that the rebels were now in but two lines of battle, the first baving been almost annihilated by Gen. Emory, what remained being forced back into the second line. But tsese two lines came on exultant and sure of yictory, The first passed over the knowl, and all heedless of the long line of can008 and crouching forms of as braye men ever trod motber earth, pleased on The second line appeared on the crest, and the death Bigaal W&D sounded. Words connot describe the awful effect of this discharge; 7,000 rifles and several batteries of artillery, each gun loaded to the muzzle with grape and canister, were fired simultaneously, and the whole cente of the rebel line was crushed down as a field of ripe wheat through which a tornado had passed. It is estimated that 1.000 men were hurried into eternity or frightfully mangled by this one discharge. No time was given them to recover their good order, but Gen. Smith ordered a charge, od his men dashed rapidly forward, the boys of the 19th joining in. The rebels fought bolaly and desperately back to the timber, on reaching which a large portion broke and fled, fully 2,000 throwing aside their arms. In this charge Paylor'a battery was retoken, as were also two of the gups of Nima battery, the Parrott gun taken from us at Carrion Crow 1&st fall, and one or two others belonging to the rebels, one of which was considerably Bhatteren, besides 700 prisoners. A pursuit and desultory ficht was kept up for three miles, when our men returned to the field of battle. FURNITURE, FURNITURE, W

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