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Eastham Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry.Tests of courage

It was their first battle. All their faces wore a serious expression. "There was a shade of dread on all countenances, while some showed cool determination, others were excited and tremulous." wrote Eastham Tarrant, 1st Kentucky Cavalry.

Early on the morning of October 21, Confederate troops began making their way up wooded slopes toward a knob held by the 33rd Indiana Infantry. The attack began about nine o'clock.

It wasn't long until the woods were filled with the smell of gun powder and the cries of charging soldiers. Fire from both sides was intense.

Ten minutes after the first rounds were exchanged, Union Colonel John Coburn, commander of the 33rd Indiana, received a glimpse of how many soldiers his men were facing. Coburn wrote,

"They were in large numbers, and were over half-an-hour in passing by an open space in the woods."

Union Colonel John CoburnAs the fighting raged, the 1st Kentucky Cavalry came up to assist the Union troops. The men dismounted, but wavered and almost panicked before being rallied. Later the 14th and 17th Ohio Infantry moved up and joined the battle.

After an hour-and-a-half of fierce firing at close range...

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