76 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
At this time light and hope began to break from the dark cloud that hung with terror over our men. The sun was fast declining, night was near to stay the enemy's final success. One of General Buell's Divisions, under command of General Nelson, was rapidly crossing the river and taking position. Another Division was up and ready to cross. General Lew. Wallace's Division was also rapidly pouring in, and taking position upon the extreme right. The enemy made repeated efforts to charge before dark, but were driven back with frightful slaughter. They finally fell back to our camps, and waited the morning light to complete Beauregard's "hour job," as he promised them.
SECOND DAY'S BATTLE.
The following letter, from Jasper S. Laughlin, Sergeant Company E, will give in detail, a sufficient account of the second day's fighting, which opened at daylight, by General Lew. Wallace, on the right:
"On Sabbath morning we were aroused from our blanket couches by the booming of cannon in the direction of Pittsburg Landing. The roar was incessant, and shook the earth. In the interval between the discharges of artillery, the rolling of musketry vollies could be distinctly heard, and then were swallowed up by the renewed thunder of the cannon. All were aware that a terrible fight was in progress; yet the regiment was ignorant of the magnitude of the attack, and the part they were to play in the bloody drama, until about noon, when an order came for us to reinforce the assailed position. Unfortunately for the Seventy-Eighth, it had not been furnished with transportation of its own until three days before, and then we were furnished with about forty wild mules, many of which had never been under harness; these had to be caught and harnessed, and the delay occasioned thereby threw our regiment in the rear, and it did not arrive upon the battle-field until 9 o'clock that night, when we formed in battle line, and rested upon our arms till morning, unsheltered from a furious storm of rain. The first day's fight was now over, and almost decided in favor of the rebels, but how they were to get over our guns and gunboats at the Landing the next morning, was surely a puzzling question to the rebel Generals that night.
"About 5 o'clock Sabbath afternoon our prospects looked gloomy and dark. Forty thousand of our men had stubbornly contested, foot by foot, the ground of a widely extended camp, with a hundred thousand of the best armed and equipped troops the Southern Confederacy ever sent to the field. They had fought all day, without breakfast, dinner or supper. The enemy, who were in sufficient numbers to relieve each other in the fight, had feasted all day on cheese, cakes, liquors and canned fruits, which the abandoned sutler stores furnished in great abundance. They were flushed with their success, and had maddened themselves by drinking the liquors they had captured, mixing it with gunpowder. Cheer after cheer went up from their ranks. They were now about half a mile from the river, and still pressing on. Our Generals rode through the disordered and thin ranks of our exhausted men, many of whom were lying on the ground too weary to move, striving to animate and encourage them. Here our artillery saved the day. All the batteries that had been brought off the field, and the siege guns and heavy mortars, which
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