previous next

[237] enemy with a loss to him of one captain and several men. On the evening of this day we marched to within two miles of Crawfish Springs, and in the night of the eighteenth to a position one mile north of Gordon's Mills, where we formed in line of battle on the left of General Cruft, and near the La Fayette and Rossville road. Here we remained with an occasional shot in our front until about eleven o'clock A. M. of the nineteenth, when I received orders to move in the direction of the firing, then growing severe, about one and a half miles to our left, in front of General Thomas's position.

On reaching McNamus's house, on the La Fayette and Rossville road, the brigades of the division were formed in two lines facing the east, the second line being doubled by regiments on the centre. My brigade was on the left of the division, General Cruft being on my immediate right. The line was then moved forward in echelon by brigades, my brigade commencing the movement. The enemy was struck after advancing about three quarters of a mile, when a terrific contest here was added to the already severe battle on our left. The enemy gave ground freely, and the left at this juncture, making an advance, all the ground desired on the left was carried, extending to the right as far as the echelons of the Second division had been placed.

I was at this time relieved by General Turchin and ordered back to the road to fill my boxes with ammunition, already twice exhausted, and take charge of some batteries left there without supports. This I had just accomplished when a vigorous attack appeared to be going on upon that part of our line immediately to the right of the ground fought over by the last echelon of our division. I at once moved my brigade to the right, and forming it so as to face the sound of battle, moved forward and placed it in position as a support to some troops of General Reynolds, my left resting on the La Fayette and Rossville road, near McNamus's house, the right thrown forward, forming an angle of about forty-five degrees with the road. The battle neared my position rapidly. At this moment I met General Van Cleve, whose division the enemy had engaged, and who told me his men had given way and that he could no longer control them. The enemy continued to advance steadily, and the line in my front gave way. My own men then advanced to the top of the crest and withstood the shock until they were completely flanked upon their left, then obliqued well to the right and took position upon a high elevation of ground, confronting the left flank of that portion of the enemy which had broken our centre. The advance of the enemy was now steady and northward, nearly in the direction of the La Fayette and Rossville road. I found myself the only general officer upon that part of the field, and to check the farther advance of the enemy was of the utmost importance. I hastily gathered and placed in position all the artillery then in reach, including a portion of Standart's, Cockerill's, Cushing's, and Russell's batteries; in all, about twenty pieces, and with the aid of all the mounted officers and soldiers I could find, succeeded in checking and rallying a sufficient number of straggling infantry to form a fair line in support of the artillery. My brigade could not be brought into position in time, there being but about two minutes to make these dispositions before the blow came, when the simultaneous opening of all the artillery with grape checked and put to rout the confronting columns of the enemy. It is due Lieutenants Baldwin, First Ohio volunteer artillery, commanding Standart's battery, Cockerill of the same regiment, commanding battery, Cushing and Russell, Fourth United States artillery, commanding batteries, to state that for accuracy in manoeuvring and firing their guns in the immediate presence of the enemy on the occasion above referred to, the army and country are placed under lasting obligations.

Major-General Reynolds came to this position soon afterward and made further dispositions of troops, but the fight was closed for the day, except a fierce attack made at nightfall upon General Johnson. Soon after the above repulse, General Thomas came to this place, and took command of all the troops in this part of the field.

It would appear that all the troops, except General Johnson's division, had been withdrawn from the portion of the field he occupied, leaving him well advanced and entirely unsupported. When the attack was made upon him, my brigade was sent with the balance of the Second division to his support, but the firing ceased when we had marched some four hundred yards east of the La Fayette and Rossville road, opposite Kelley's house, and we were placed here in position for the fight of Sunday.

Although my losses this day had been great, including Colonels Payne and Shackelford severely wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Rockingham killed, besides the loss of four hundred and thirty-nine officers and men, the brigade, with the exception of the Sixth Kentucky, was in good condition with few absentees. The latter regiment from the great mortality among its officers, was very much broken, and its fragments attached to the other regiments of the brigade.

On the morning of the twentieth, the men were moved at three A. M. and directed to make coffee where they had water, and at daybreak a breastwork of logs and rails was commenced, which was taken up on my right and carried through one entire division and that of Reynolds on our right, and Baird and Johnson on our left. Wherever this work was done the line remained the entire day with firmness and little loss. At about eight o'clock the attack commenced upon the left of this line and swept along toward the right, arriving at my position about fifteen minutes afterward, passing on, but producing no effect until it had passed General Reynolds. This assault was kept up without interruption till about eleven o'clock A. M., with a fury never witnessed upon the field either of Shiloh or Stone River. The repulse was equally terrific

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
20th (1)
19th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: