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No. 157.-report of Brig. Gen. Bushrod R. Johnson, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.

Columbus, Miss., April 12, 1862.
Sir: I have, the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First Brigade, Second Division, First Army Corps, Army of the Mississippi, in the action of the 6th instant, during the first three hours it was in the battle, the period which I remained upon the field:

This brigade arrived from Purdy, within about two miles and a half of the enemy's encampment, after dark on the evening of the 5th instant. At daylight on the following morning it was put in motion in the rear of the left brigade of General Clark's division, with orders to deploy at a point to be designated in line of battle on the left of General Clark's command. The formation of the brigade was in the following order, from right to left: One hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Col. Preston Smith; Mississippi regiment, commanded by Col. A. K. Blythe; battery of artillery (six pieces), commanded by M. T. Polk; Fifteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Col. R. C. Tyler; Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Col. J. Knox Walker.

At 8.30 a. m. this brigade came under fire of the enemy's artillery. From this position, by order of the commanding general of the First Army Corps, it moved first obliquely to the left, with the view of supporting the left flank of the forces already in action, then by the right flank to support the extreme right; it being stated, in connection with the order for this movement, that the enemy had given way on the left and were heavily pressing our troops on the right. After marching for a quarter of an hour in this direction orders were received to move in line of battle to the front and to come immediately into action.

At this point the ground was broken and marshy, and our movement was obstructed by a small stream, which caused some delay in passing the artillery and the infantry of the left wing. Having passed this obstacle, the infantry of the left wing was reformed into line of battle. Captain Polk's battery of artillery was moved forward and placed in position, and it was found that the right wing, composed of the One hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Regiment Tennessee Volunteers and Colonel Blythe's Mississippi Regiment Volunteers, had become detached from the rest of the command. From an aide, whom I sent to ascertain the cause of this movement I learned that three regiments had been placed in action on the right by an order from Major-General Bragg. Colonel Blythe's regiment had advanced obliquely to the left and attacked the enemy in position-near an encampment. It afterward wheeled to the right, and drove a battery, with its support, from its position, and was advancing upon the enemy, under cover of a woods, when Colonel Blythe was shot dead from his horse, while leading his regiment. Within ten minutes after his fall Lieut. Col. . L. Herron, of the same regiment, was mortally wounded. This occurred between 11 and 12 o'clock.

The One hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Regiment Volunteers continued to advance by the right flank, and was brought into action at a considerable distance to the right of Colonel Blythe's regiment. Of the movements of this regiment I have no further report to make.

The infantry of the left wing, after being reformed in line of battle, as previously stated, was moved forward, and came immediately under [445] a heavy fire of the enemy's artillery and infantry, which took such fatal effect as to cause a momentary wavering in tht ranks. The gallantry, decision, and firmness of Lieut. Col. R. C. Tyler, who now, with drawn pistol, restored order and pressed forward his regiment, merits the highest commendation.

In the first position taken by the left wing the Fifteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers occupied the ground first taken by Colonel Blythe's regiment, and the Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers was posted in rear of Polk's battery, in front of which the enemy seemed to have reassembled. The Fifteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers then advanced some 200 yards under heavy fire, where Lieut. Col. R. C. Tyler, after having his horse shot three times and receiving a wound himself, was compelled to leave the field.

Captain Polk's battery was now suffering severely from the fire of the enemy's musketry and artillery. The Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers seemed to be reduced to one-half its number, its lines broken and driven back, and my attention was called to the necessity of moving it forward, to support in a better manner the battery of artillery. I twice formed it into line for the purpose of moving it up to the battery, and each time, at the very commencement of the movement, the lines were broken from the unsteadiness of the men under fire.

At this time it was reported to me that Captain Polk had his leg broken, more than half the battery was disabled, and but one gun was being discharged. I ordered the battery withdrawn, and again forming the Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers I attempted to lead them past the battery, but only succeeded in advancing them to the position they had previously occupied, when I was disabled by a wound from farther duty on the field.

Briefly, I am able to say that Colonel Blythe's Regiment Mississippi Volunteers, the Fifteenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, and a part of the Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, with Polk's battery, made a desperate stand and fought heroically. I have since learned that a portion of the Second Regiment Tennessee Volunteers had by some means become detached, and were afterwards brought up from the woods on the left of our position.

Before I was wounded I sent my aide to the commanding officer of the One hundred and fifty-fourth Senior Regiment Tennessee Volunteers and Colonel Blythe's regiment, with a view to restore the proper connections, which I understood was subsequently accomplished.

From unavoidable necessity, my labors during the heat of the action were mainly confined to the extreme left of the brigade. I have to regret that, from orders apparently given to the subordinates of my command, I was prevented from bringing the whole brigade together handsomely into action. To this object all my efforts had been most zealously and carefully directed. Had I accomplished my purpose, I am convinced I would now have to report much more satisfactory results.

After I was wounded the command of the brigade devolved upon Col. Preston Smith, to whom you are referred for a report of the subsequent action of this brigade and the casualties which occurred therein, which were no doubt very heavy.

Maj. C. G. Rogers, assistant adjutant-general; Capt. William T. Blakemore, aide-de-camp; Capt. D. L. Moore, a volunteer aide, and Capt. John H. Anderson, of the Tenth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers, who escaped with me from Fort Donelson, were with me on the [446] field and rendered efficient service. The extended line of my brigade rendered their duties difficult and dangerous. Major Rogers and Captains Blakemore and Anderson remained on the field; the first two until the evening of the 6th, and the latter until the evening of the 7th instant. Captain Anderson had two horses shot under him and was slightly injured by a shell. Major Rogers and Captain Moore returned to the brigade on the field on the 7th instant.

Very truly, your obedient servant, B. R. Johnson, Brig. Gen., Comdg. 1st Brig., 2d Div., 1st Army Corps, Army of the Mississippi.

Maj. J. D. Porter, Jr., Assistant Adjutant-General.

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