Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 30.djvu/251

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Battle of Perrt/rM,: 243


Such a scene, as these two armies in battle array on either side of Doctor's creek on that eventful day, was not witnessed during the Civil war. It would seem to be a desperate venture a well-equipped army on one side, outnumbering its adversary by over three to one, in the plain open field, and the smaller ready to deliver battle, is one of the mysterious and unaccountable things that makes Perry- ville a remarkable battle from this standpoint alone.

General Rosseau, who commanded one division of McCook's Corps, speaking of BuelPs army, said:

" I am satisfied that the discipline of BuelPs army was far better than that of any army I have ever seen better drilled and better dis- ciplined."

The order for attack is given. Preparations are made. Witness at this time the brigades of this small army getting ready, conscious that in a very brief time the conflict would be on. It is halted; fronted it is ordered to be ready for immediate action. The knap- sacks are placed on the ground with the soldier's wardrobe and cooking utensils. They stand ready now with the musket, the cart- ridge box, with forty rounds of ammunition to the man, and canteens filled with water.

How stands the army ? McCook faces Jackson on the extreme left, a sheet of water in Chaplain's creek, a few hundred yards to his front, plainly visible. They await the onset and do not have to wait long. Wharton, with the Eighth and Fifty-first Tennessee of Donel- son, added to his cavalry, makes a flank movement, strikes the Federal left with force. Colonel John H. Savage, with the Sixteenth Tennessee, the Fifteenth closely following him on his left, climbs the heights, strikes the Thirty-third and Second Ohio and brings on the desperate fight. Maney and Stewart being close at hand, but not near enough for the desperate odds, for Jackson has 5,000 men under his brigadiers (Terrill and Webster). Maney files to the right to get upon the bluff, forms line of battle, and moves to the left to take position on the right of Savage, and enters the fight.

A soldier falls here, and now there; the battle is on. The Sir- teenth Tennessee makes a splendid movement, staggering at times under the furious fire of the Nineteenth Indiana battery and other artilleryists and their infantry supports, but again advances and scores the first victory in the Confederate line. It was a costly one,