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back to join the infantry. Soon after the 3d Indiana volunteers and Lieutenant Kilburn's piece of artillery arrived, and the united force compelled the enemy to fall back still farther.
While these things were going on upon the American left, the battle was still raging upon the plateau, where the advantage was rather in our favour, when Santa Anna brought upon the plateau with a heavy battery the battalion of San Patricio, consisting of Irish renegades who had basely deserted the American colours which they had sworn to support. The fire of this battery enfiladed the plateau, and was effective, but the American batteries still kept the advantage, and at length broke the attacking column. A part moved off in a direction to reinforce Ampudia, while the other, under Santa Anna, fell back to take shelter in the ravine. Perceiving this, the forces under Hardin, Bissell, and McKee, pressed on and drove back the enemy precipitately. After this advantage Captains Sherman and Bragg were despatched, with two pieces each, to sustain the American left, where the strife was obstinate and sanguinary. The plateau was still defended by four pieces—two under the intrepid O'Brien, and two under Lieutenants Thomas and Garnet.
In the mean time, upon the enemy's extreme right, beyond Ampudia's forces and along the base of the mountains, cavalry was moving down towards Buena Vista, whose advance was impeded by the mounted volunteers, under Colonels Yell and Marshall. To reinforce this small body of troops, General Taylor despatched Colonel May with the regular cavalry, and Captains Preston and Pike's mounted volunteers. The united force immediately stopped the progress of the enemy's cavalry, and caused it to return along the base of the mountain, where the fire from the detachments of the batteries of Sherman and Bragg was concentrated upon it with decisive effect.
Soon after, a powerful brigade of cavalry, principally lancers, under General Torrejon, had crossed the ravines in the rear, and
BATTLE OF BUENA VISTA.
threatened a descent upon the baggage-train parked near Buena Vista. They charged in columns of squadrons the Arkansas and Kentucky volunteers, who gallantly received them, and maintaining the contest with great spirit, repulsed them with the aid of parties of troops in that vicinity, that had fled in the morning. Colonel May with the dragoons and other cavalry, and Lieutenant Reynolds with two pieces of artillery, had been ordered to their support. The former came up too late to participate in the fight; the other wheeled his section into battery, and played upon the retreating columns of cavalry with precision and effect. In this charge of cavalry, the gallant Colonel Yell fell at the head of his regiment, and by his side the brave Captain Porter, with many of their
After this failure, a fresh brigade of cavalry with supporting infantry, the chivalry of the Mexican army, attempted to drive the Mississippi regiment and 3d Indiana volunteers, and thus force a passage to the road nearer the plateau. On they came at a gallop, in close columns of squadrons, their flags and pennons flying, and their lance-points flickering in the sun, while the Mississippi regiment was in line to receive them, and the Indiana troops in like manner, with their left resting on the right of Colonel Davis's regiment, the two lines forming an obtuse re-entrant angle to receive the enemy. A howitzer from Sherman's battery was on the left. Arrived within eighty yards, the brigade received a murderous fire from the faces of the angle, which struck down the front ranks of the column. The deadly discharges of musketry and the rifles rapidly delivered, increased the confusion of the enemy, while the howitzer of Sherman, charged with canister and
grape, strewed the earth with the dead and wounded. The iron tempest poured upon him was resistless, and the dismayed enemy turned and fled for shelter to the mountains.
Following up this advantage, General Taylor sent LieutenantColonel May, with the troops lately returned from the engagement
at the hacienda, to drive in the enemy's right along the base of the mountains. As the cavalry under May forced the troops to fall back, Lieutenant Reynolds with his two pieces kept following on, and poured destruction upon their ranks. Bragg also advanced upon them with his three pieces of artillery, and Sherman with his howitzer, supported by the Mississippi and Indiana regiments. As the enemy continued to retreat along the base of the mountains, he came at length within range of the guns upon the plateau, which prevented further retreat. Hemmed in now upon all sides, and exposed to the fire of nine pieces of artillery, whose shot and shells went crashing through their crowded masses--Reynolds's pieces on their right, Sherman's and Bragg's in front, and the pieces of O'Brien and Thomas on the plateau upon their lefttheir destruction seemed inevitable, when they were relieved from their dangerous position by a dishonourable ruse of Santa Anna. That treacherous chief sent a white flag to General Taylor, desiring to know what he wanted, and during the suspension of the fire ordered upon the advance of the flag, the enemy's forces which were so sorely pressed, amounting to five or six thousand, cavalry and infantry-escaped from their perilous situation. On arriving, however, near the head of the plateau, a heavy fire from O'Brien's and Thomas's pieces, which were advanced to meet them, and from the Illinois and Kentucky troops, that had also moved up, caused great destruction to their confused ranks.
But while thus engaged, the Mexican reserve, composed of the best troops, with the veteran regiments in front, was entering the plateau at the head of the third gorge. The retreating party joined the reserve, making the column about twelve thousand. Before this irresistible force, the Kentucky and Illinois troops were compelled to retire and seek cover in the second gorge. O'Brien in the mean time served his pieces, charged with canister, with terrible effect; but the enemy still pressed on, until they