Dated in the saddle, near Grand Ecore, Apri1 15, a letter to the Houston (Texas) Telegraph gives an interesting account of the late battle on Red River. After a great deal of verbiage and bombast, the writer says:
“The division of Gen. CHURCHILL marched forty-five miles in fifteen hours, to be in time for the fight at Pleasant Hill. Nobly did they stand side by side with their comrades through that bloody struggle, and their craves on that battle-field tell plainly how they suffered. As I said before, I cannot get the officers to name any of their men who distinguished themselves more than others; consequently all must receive equal credit. I shall only speak of conspicuous regiments, brigades and divisions, with their chief Commanders.
I stated in my first letter that Gen. TAYLOR made the attack without orders from Gen. SMITH, and contrary to the advice of many officers. But the General knew the spirit of his troops, and knowing the topography of the country as well, risked a battle, and has thereby saved Texas from the perils of invasion. While we extol our own heroes of the battles, Texans must not forget TAYLOR, MOUTON, POLIGNAC or CHURCHILL. One of the greatest heroes on those fields was Brig.-Gen. BEE, commanding a brigade of cavalry on the extreme left, at Pleasant Hill. He had two horses shot under him, and himself slightly wounded. Maj. G.W. MCNEEL, Inspector-General on his staff, had two horses shot under him, and Orderly L. SCHNEIDER had two shot while carrying Gen. BEE’s orders on the field. Maj. W.T. MECHLING, Assistant Adjutant-General, and Col. G.W. CHILTON, are reported to have acted nobly in the terrible charge where the gallant Col. BUCHILL fell mortally wounded.
Loud are the praises I hear of the gallantry displayed by Capt. MCMAHAN’s battery of light artillery. At Mansfield the battery was in position on the summit of a hill, and poured a deadly volley into the ranks of the enemy. Gen. TAYLOR presented two rifled captured pieces to the battery on the field, they laying aside their smooth-bore guns. Lieut. SAM. HOUSTON, Jr., commanded one section of the battery, and is reported to have acted the hero, directing the guns with his own hands.
Capt. W.G. MOSELY, of Brazoria County, Texas, commanded his battery an one of the wings, and did fearful execution at every discharge. I have heard officers high in rank extol the Texas batteries, especially the old Valverde. Of the Louisiana and Arkansas batteries, Gen. TAYLOR’s official report will do them justice. They are fully equal to the Texans. The slaughter of the enemy at Pleasant Hill is described by old soldiers to have been the greatest they ever saw. Whole regiments fell like chaff before the wind, and the piles of buried dead on the field show plainly the extent of the carnage. I must do Col. GOULD’s regiment of cavalry justice. Many people in Texas have been loud in defaming these men. They are from Northern Texas, but they have put the blush of shame upon their slancerers. They never faltered; won laurels at the fight at Blair’s Landing, where the lamented Gen. GREEN lost his life. Of Col. BUCHILL’s regiment too much praise cannot be given. I have always considered this regiment the flower of the Texas cavalry. I have noticed that those regiments which are well drilled and disciplined do far better service in action. Brig.-Gen. BEE and Cols. BUCHILL and DE BRAY handled their men as though they were playing a game of chess with them. Nor must I omit the well-drilled body of men under Col. WOOD’s command; all were heroes, which is saying a great deal.”
ADDRESS OF GEN. TAYLOR TO HIS ARMY — DEATH OF GENS. MOUTON AND GREEN.
MANSFIELD, April 10, 1864.
SOLDIERS OF THE ARMY WESTERN LOUISIANA: At last have your patience and devotion been rewarded. Condemned for many days to retreat before an overwhelming force, as soon as your reinforcements arrived, you turned upon the foe. No language but that of simple narration should recount your deeds. On the 8th you fought the battle of Mansfield. Never in war was a more complete victory gained. Attacking with the utmost alacrity when the order was given, the result was not for a moment doubtful. The enemy was driven from every position, his artillery captured, his men routed. In vain were fresh troops brought up. Your magnificent line, like a resistless torrent, swept everything before it. Night alone stopped your advance. Twenty pieces of artillery, many stands of arms, many standards of colors, two hundred and fifty wagons, and two thousand five hundred prisoners attest your success over the Thirteenth and Nineteenth Army Corps.
On the 9th, you took up the pursuit and pressed with vigor. For twelve miles, prisoners, scattered arms and burning wagons proved how well the previous days’ work had been done by the soldiers of Texas and Louisiana.
The gallant divisions from Missouri and Arkansas, unfortunately absent on the 8th, marched forty-five miles in two days to share the glories of Pleasant Hill. This was emphatically the soldiers’ victory. In spite of the strength of the enemy’s position, held by fresh troops of the Sixteenth Army Corps, your valor and devotion triumphed over all.
Night closed on one of the best contested battles of the war. The morning of the 10th dawned upon a flying foe, with our cavalry in pursuit, capturing prisoners at every step. These glorious victories were most dearly won. A list of the heroic dead would sadden the stoutest heart; a visit to the hospitals would awaken the tenderest sensibilities. The remembrance of our dead will last as long as those of the most brilliant actions which are recorded in history. The conviction of having done their duty will soften the sufferings of our wounded.
Soldiers, a Christian has fallen, a warrior of warriors has gone to his home. On the 12th of April tell THOMAS GREEN. After braving death a thousand times, the destroyer found him where he was ever wont to be, in the front rank of battle! His spirit has gone to the happy home of heroes, where the kindred soul of ALFRED MOUTON awaits it. Throughout broad Texas and desolated Louisiana, mourning will sadden every hearth. However great this loss may be to their families and friends, it is still greater to the army and myself. During long and painful months, both have served with me. In the midst of the roar of battle, by the bivouac fires, and all the military outposts, they have won my friendship. Their families shall be my families, their friends my friends. Having been their cherished friend, their chief they followed with confidence. That is the greatest honor to which I could ever aspire on earth.
RICHARD TAYLOR, Maj.-Gen. Com’g.
– May 22, 1864[read full article]