themselves immediately, now they were the subjects of the attentions of the entire 41st Illinois.

 Brown's left wing wasted no time packing up and hustling north through the level field. Behind the fence, the breathless returnees added nothing to the moral of an already confused majority of the 20th Mississippi. They now had a clear view of the smart and trim Union rows marching upon them through the stubby vegetation of the field. Soon a volley coming their way reminded them they were scared. First a few, then more, then everyone drifted back from the fence. Officers spread to attempt to rally a line of defense on the southern rim of the hollow.

 As the Tennesseans were ominously threatening his left flank Pugh had wrested the fence from the 20th Mississippi and he had thrown Wharton's flanking brigade off balance by seizing a clump of trees in their front. Suddenly the tide was turning again. Some yards behind the fence Major Brown was bringing his regiment under control. The right wing of the 41 in penetrating beyond the woods encountered fresh legions of Southerners. These were not content with blunting the attack but were pushing to the east and forming on the flank. On Pugh's left a detachment of Confederates directed themselves south on the roadway, menacing his other flank. Seeing no reinforcements on the way, Pugh deftly removed the 11th from the hotly contested field. It was the first Federal retreat of Saturday, February 15.

 Shouting encouragement to one another, the two regiments of Baldwin's original command took the initiative for the Confederate army. Preceded a short distance by a thin line of skirmishers, the main body of the brigade swept through the stabbing tickets and tread over the stubby ground until they had reached an acceptable firing distance from the Union assemblage. Here they delivered their first volley as a unit that day.

 On the road, General Gideon Pillow felt the spark of new courage. One regiment of the brigade, the 20th Mississippi, had already been demoralized and withdrawn from the field of action. Another had formed only with the greatest difficulty. Yet still, the brigade could throw itself boldly into the fray. With such material, he exclaimed, how could his cause lose?"

Colonel Wharton dug his spurs into his stallion and guided him behind the fence. Within minutes, he was returning the smart salute of Major William Brown of the 20th Mississippi. To Brown, Wharton explained the awkward position of his brigade. The information he desired from the Major was if the 20th was

recovered enough to make a lodgment in the face of the Union firepower. The sparse resources of his brigade, he admitted, were not equal to the task. Brown responded that he could do no more than try. The two departed hoping for the best.

The Mississippians decided to take no chances in their re-entry into the fray, whooping and hollering in unison they hurtled the fence and dashed pell-mell through the clearing to a spot of advantage occupied by their dead and wounded. Here they unleashed a volley upon the already hard-pressed 9th Illinois.

 The 9th Illinois continued to reap the blows of a human whirlwind. Now almost the entire effort of Baldwin's three regiments fell upon their heads. The Confederates, under continual reminder, aimed their weapons low. Large caliber smoothbore pieces firing buckshot and bullets cut the Illinois down in bundles. As so often with novices, particularly on the top of Slopes looking down, the fire of the Yankees largely passed over the heads of the Mississippians and Tennesseans. In spite of heavy losses and non-effective return, the 9th Illinois clung tenaciously to their hillside.

 Discovering everything to be going as well as could be expected in his immediate location and with reinforcements from Heiman preparing to stride down the hill to Buckner's aid, Gideon Pillow stepped into the saddle in preparation to riding behind the trenches back to the direction of the coordinated divisions.

 Grey-uniformed skirmishers, discouraged by the interlocking arms of the deciduous trees, came filtering back to Brown's brigade with the report that the enemy could no longer be found or seen. North of the road Colonels Palmer and Cook set out to see for themselves. With a small escort, they ventured into the forest and soon in peering up the slope; they spotted a portion of Thayer's baggage. The return of the colonels after noon coincided with the retreat of Forrest's shaken vanguard.

 Along Baldwin's stilled battlefront General Bushrod Johnson had again vanished, this time taking the 20th Mississippi under his wing. Baldwin, left with only his two hardest fought regiments, was furious.

 In the opening moments of the afternoon, Bushrod Johnson, with the recent addition of the 20th Mississippi, renewed his frustrated attempts to outflank Cruft's brigade with Drake's detachment. The radical refusal of Cruft's right flank, however, led to a confused wandering of the semi-amorphous unit in which they made little or no contact with the enemy Union battalions.

 

 

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