No. 16.-report of Lieut. George L. Nispel, battery E, Second llinois Light artillery.
Hdqtrs. Company E, Second Regt. Ill. Light Art., Camp near Pittsburg, Teenn., April 11, 1862.Sir: In accordance with orders I have the honor to submit the following report, showing the part taken in the late battle of the 6th and 7th instant by the company I had the honor to command: On the morning of the 6th instant, the company being on the drill ground, I received an order from Major Schwartz to “prepare for immediate action.” I arose from my sick couch, mounted my horse, and took command. At fifteen minutes of 8 o'clock a. m. the battery, under the direction of Major Schwartz, took a position on General Sherman's right wing. The enemy opened a heavy fire on us from the opposite hill, which we returned with effect, silencing three of his guns in twenty minutes. Observing the enemy's infantry approaching in mass, my attention was directed to arrest them, when the enemy opened on us again from another battery to cover the advance of his infantry upon our lines. His fire was somewhat destructive, killing 1 man, wounding 3, and killing 5 horses. Major Schwartz, perceiving the infantry on our flanks was falling back, gave the order to “limber to the rear.” One of my pieces having been disabled, the trail being shot off, I was forced to abandon it. The enemy's infantry, coming quickly forward, occupied the position just abandoned by us (oar whole first line was in retreat). Major Schwartz, wishing to hold this position, ordered me, with the three pieces remaining, to take a position farther to the left and near the church, to prevent, if possible, the enemy's approach, whose intentions evidently were to force it. We opened on him with canister, doing good execution, and causing a wavering in his ranks and considerable confusion. His artillery opened on us again to cover his infantry. The position could have been held had we been supported, but finding that the line had again fallen back, our horses were being shot down, and that we would be cut off, I ordered Lieutenant Dengel with the first section, to take a position within the retreating line. Major Schwartz brought the Thirty-fourth and Forty-third Illinois Regiments to charge on the enemy, and while leading them in person was severely wounded. Our whole line was falling back. Here the horses on the third piece were shot down by the infantry, and we were between our troops and the enemy. With the assistance of my 5 cannoneers I righted the carriage and hauled the piece by hand some distance. Seeing the enemy still gaining on me, and not wishing him to use my piece against our own forces, I spiked and left it. In the mean time Lieutenant Carter  had brought off all the caissons but one, which he was compelled to abandon. All this was done in the face of the enemy and under a heavy fire. I found the remainder of my battery near Colonel Oglesby's headquarters. Major Taylor, having assumed command of the artillery, ordered me, with my howitzer and one of his, to take a position on a slight elevation. We did so, and fired upon the enemy, but not doing much execution, soon ceased. The enemy was concealed among the woods. We next took position on the parade ground, by Major Taylor's order, and fired on the enemy's artillery and infantry for about threequarters of an hour, when I ordered the howitzer back, because the ammunition was exhausted. The enemy advancing nearer, Major Taylor ordered me to take my battery toward the Landing, which I did, and rested my exhausted men and teams a short time when I received an order from you to take a position on the right of the siege guns and support them. So soon as I had taken the position assigned me I ordered Lieutenant Carter back to the Landing for ammunition, which order was promptly executed, being ready for action on the receipt of the ammunition. The enemy advancing, a heavy fire was opened on him, the most terrific I ever heard. Every one seemed to be imbued with the idea that as this was our last stand, so should it be the most desperate. Being of that opinion myself, I used the most strenuous exertions to hold it, in which I was heartily seconded by my lieutenants encouraging our infantry to stand firm but a short time longer and we would drive them back. We kept our word, in conjunction with the other batteries. In this position we had 1 man and 2 horses wounded, with other slight casualties. Thinking the enemy during the darkness of the night might make an attempt to charge and capture our guns, I threw up a little breastwork, and self and men laid there all night exposed to the rain without any covering, and what was worse, anxiety. Firmly resolved to hold the position till the last man, I remained there until I was ordered back to my old camp. The battery had six positions, fired 591 rounds of ammunition; 1 man killed and 4 wounded, 11 horses killed and wounded. I should have remarked that on the afternoon of the 7th quite a stampede was caused by some false alarm, which I soon arrested by taking my pistol in hand, ordering them to halt and form in my rear with the regiments that were awaiting orders. I was sure that if this unfortunate falling back was not arrested the result would be very serious; its demoralizing influence we had painfully witnessed on the 6th. The battery is not fit for present use. I have taken the riding and spare horses to place on the guns and caissons. My caissons I have filled from the enemy's. I have not men enough to man my guns. I need ordnance stores very much, but am not able to procure them, because the ordnance officer has not a supply. It affords me pleasure to say that my lieutenants, Dengel and Carter, cheerfully performed their duty, obeying my every command with alacrity. My non-commissioned officers and privates also behaved well. Hoping the enemy, from the stern repulse he received Monday, will see the hopelessness of his cause, I remain, general, with profound respect, your obedient servant,