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Doc. 27.-battle at Milliken's Bend.

Official report of General Dennis.

headquarters Department of the Tennessee, near Vicksburgh, June 16, 1863.
General: Herewith I have the honor of inclosing Brigadier-General E. S. Dennis's report of the battle of Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, fought on the seventh day of June, 1863, together with the list of casualties. In this battle most of the troops engaged were Africans, who had but little experience in the use of fire-arms. Their conduct is said, however, to have been most gallant, and I doubt not, with good officers, they will make good troops

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. Grant, Major-General. To Brig.-General Thomas, Adjutant-General of the Army.

Headquarters N. E. District Louisiana, Young's Point, La., June 12, 1863.
Colonel: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with instructions received from me, Colonel Leib, commanding Ninth Louisiana A. D., made a reconnoissance in the direction of Richmond on June sixth, starting from Milliken's Bend at two o'clock A. M.

He was preceded by two companies of the Tenth Illinois cavalry, commanded by Captain Anderson, whom he overtook three miles from the Bend.

It was agreed between them that the Captain should take the left side of Walnut Bayou, and pursue it as far as Mrs. Ames's plantation, while Colonel Leib proceeded along the main Richmond road to the railroad depot, three miles from Richmond, where he encountered the enemy's pickets and advance, which he drove in with but little opposition, but anticipating the enemy in strong force, retired slowly toward the bend.

When about half-way back a squad of our cavalry came dashing up in his rear, hotly pursued by the enemy. Colonel Leib immediately formed his regiment across an open field, and with one volley dispersed the approaching enemy. Expecting the enemy would contest the passage of the bridge over Walnut Bayou, Colonel Leib fell back over the bridge, and from thence to Milliken's Bend, from whence he met a messenger informing me of the success of the expedition, and reported the enemy to be advancing.

I immediately started the Twenty-third Iowa volunteer infantry to their assistance, and Admiral Porter ordered the gunboat Choctaw to that point. At three o'clock the following morning the enemy made their appearance in strong force on the main Richmond road, driving the pickets before them. The enemy advanced upon the left of our line, throwing out no skirmishers, marching in close column by division, with a strong cavalry force on his right flank.

Our forces, consisting of the Twenty-third Iowa volunteer infantry and the African brigade, in all one thousand and sixty-one men, opened upon the enemy when within musket-shot range, which made them waver and recoil, a number running in confusion to the rear. The balance pushing on with intrepidity, soon reached the levee, when they were ordered to charge with the cries of “No quarter!”

The African regiments being inexperienced in the use of arms, some of them having been drilled but a few days, and the guns being very inferior, the enemy succeeded in getting upon our works before more than one or two volleys were fired at them. Here ensued a most terrible hand-to-hand conflict of several minutes' duration.

Our men using the bayonet freely, and clubbing.their guns with fierce obstinacy, contesting every inch of ground until the enemy succeeded in flanking them, and poured a murderous enfilading fire along our lines, directing their fire chiefly to the officers, who fell in numbers.

Not till they were overpowered and forced by superior numbers, did our men fall back behind the bank of the river, at the same time pouring volley after volley into the ranks of the advancing enemy. The gunboat now moved into position, and fired a broadside into the enemy, who immediately disappeared behind the levee, but all the time keeping up a fire upon our men.

The enemy at this time appeared to be extending his line to the extreme right, but was held in check by two companies of the Eleventh Louisiana infantry A. D., which had been posted behind cotton-bales, and part of the old levee. In this position the fight continued until near noon, when the enemy suddenly withdrew.

Our men, seeing this movement, advanced upon the retreating column, firing volley after volley at them while they remained within gunshot. The gunboat Lexington then paid her compliments [176] to the flying foe, in several well-directed shots, scattering them in all directions.

I here desire to express my thanks to the officers and men of the gunboats Choctaw and Lexington, for their efficient services in the time of need. Their services will long be remembered by the officers and men of the African brigade, for their valuable assistance on that dark and bloody field.

The officers and men deserve the highest praise for their gallant conduct, and especially Colonel Glasgow, of the Twenty-third Iowa, and his brave men, and also to Colonel Leib, of the Ninth Louisiana A. D., who, by his gallantry and daring, inspired his men to deeds of valor, until he fell, seriously though not dangerously wounded.

I regret to state that Colonel Chamberlain, of the Eleventh Louisiana A. D., conducted himself in a very unsoldier-like manner. The enemy consisted of one brigade, numbering about two thousand five hundred, in command of General McCulloch, and two hundred cavalry. The enemy's loss is estimated at about one hundred and fifty killed, and three hundred wounded.

It is impossible to get any thing near the loss of the enemy, as they carried killed and wounded off in ambulances. Among their killed is Colonel Allen, Sixteenth Texas. Inclosed please find tabular statements of killed, wounded, and missing, in all six hundred and fifty-two. Nearly all the missing blacks will probably be returned, as they were badly scattered.

The enemy, under General Hawes, advanced upon Young's Point, whilst the battle was going on at Milliken's Bend, but several well-directed shots from the gunboats compelled them to retire.1

Submitting the foregoing, I remain yours respectfully,

Elias S. Dennis, Brigadier-General Commanding District N. E. Louisiana. John A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant-General.

1 See page 12, Docs. ante.

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