No. 172.-report of Col. B. L. Hodge, Nineteenth Louisiana Infantry.
Hdqrs. Nineteenth Regt. Louisiana Volunteers, Corinth, Miss., April--, 1862.Sir: In pursuance with your orders I have the honor to submit herewith a brief report of the part taken by my regiment in the engagements with the enemy on the 6th and 7th instant, at Shiloh Church, Tenn.: My regiment, being on the right of the First Brigade of the division commanded by Brigadier-General Ruggles, was bivouacked on the night of the 5th instant immediately to the left of the Bark or Old Bark road, as I understood the road to be called that led to the enemy's encampment. At 5.30 a. m. on the morning of the 6th we commenced the march, and in accordance with your orders I conducted the regiment so as to leave space for the First Arkansas Regiment, Colonel Fagan, which was immediately on my left, to deploy into line. Advancing to the front, in conformity to these instructions, my command soon crossed over to the right of the road, when General Bragg himself, in person, ordered me to conduct my regiment forward, that, when formed into line of battle, the said road should be immediately on my right. Having repassed to the left of the road I continued to move forward rapidly until we came in sight of the enemy's camp, when, by your order, through Mr. Pugh, I halted the regiment, having previously deployed them into line. At this time my regiment was in the woods, the First Arkansas on my left in a field. Immediately after our line halted a battery of the enemy, posted on an eminence to the left and rear of their front line of camps, opened on us with shot and shell. Although exposed to this fire for fully half an hour, only two of my men were wounded, the guns of the enemy at this point being served with little effect except upon the tree-tops around us. This battery having been captured by the troops of some other command, and our brigade having been moved forward a short distance beyond the outer line of the enemy's camps, my regiment upon the verge of an old field, we for the first time engaged the enemy. Seeing that the distance was too great for our arms to do execution, we ceased firing after two or three rounds. The enemy again noticed our presence by a few shells, but with even less effect than before. From this point we moved about half a mile to the right and a little in advance, passing through a wheat field. We crossed a road leading in the direction of Hamburg. At this time the First Arkansas and my regiment were well together in line, as I could see while passing through the field. Just after crossing the road my regiment entered a small farm, a log cabin near the center, our line extending across the field. We had advanced midway the little farm, which is about 150 yards in width, when the enemy, lying in ambush about 80 or 100 yards beyond the outer fence and directly in our front, opened fire upon our entire line. Although the fire was not expected at the moment, the advance of the regiment was not checked in the slightest; but moving forward steadily to the fence the men commenced to deliver their fire at will. Owing to the impenetrable undergrowth between the enemy's position and ours I was unable to see him, and from the manner of the men looking through the bushes, as if hunting an object for their aim, it was apparent that they  too were unable to descry the concealed foe, and were only firing at the flash of the enemy's pieces. Seeing that my men were being rapidly shot down, and having no reason to believe that we were inflicting equal injury upon the enemy, I gave the order to cease firing and to charge bayonets. Officers and men alike obeyed the order promptly. So dense and impenetrable became the thicket of undergrowth that after my men had boldly forced their way 20 or 30 steps into it, and it seeming impossible to make further progress, I again gave the order to commence firing. The regiment now gradually fell back to the fence. Finding that the enemy were now opening a cross-fire upon us from our left and seeing a large number of my small command killed and wounded, I deemed it my duty to order the regiment to fall back to the other side of the little farm, which was accordingly done in good order. In this unequal conflict-unequal on account of the enemy's local position — the regiment sustained heavy loss. In this one action, out of little less than 300 we had lost in killed and wounded between 40 and 50 as brave and gallant men as ever risked their lives in the defense of a righteous cause. Adjt. J. P. Harris and Lieut. W. J. Clarke, of Company I, and Lieut. J. P. Spears, of Company C, here fell severely wounded. As of the others, so I have the pleasure of bearing testimony for these; they did their duty well and nobly. Having fallen back beyond the small farm, I halted the regiment and waited in the hope that the enemy would leave his covert and give us a fair fight. But he too fully appreciated his great advantage of position to give it up. Remaining in this position a short time, having had no order from your or our division commander, I received an order from General Bragg, transmitted through one of his staff, to advance again and attack the same position from which we had just withdrawn. Of course the order was obeyed without delay; but I requested the officer to say to the general that I thought it impossible to force the enemy from this strong position by a charge from the front, but that with a light battery playing on one flank and a simultaneous charge of infantry on the other the position could be carried with but small loss. Again we advanced into the little farm, and again, when midway the clearing, the enemy opened fire upon us. Again we pressed on to the other fence directly in front of his ambuscade. Here we remained exposed to his merciless fire for over half an hour, without the power to inflict any apparent injury upon the hidden foe. In justice to my command I again ordered them to fall back, which was done in as good order as before. In this second attack we had lost in killed and wounded 15 men of desperate courage and unflinching bravery. Among them Lieut. M. Leverett, of Company D, mortally wounded, and Lieut. John L. Maples, of Company B, slightly wounded. It would, under the circumstances, have been madness to have kept my command there longer. I may be permitted to add, sir, that this formidable position of the enemy, after having withstood the repeated attacks of various regiments, was only carried at last by a charge upon the right flank, supported by a battery on the left. After the enemy were driven from this stronghold we, with several brigades, moved toward the river. It was then nigh sunset. In accordance with your order we commenced falling back about dusk, and, being separated from the brigade I conducted the regiment to the camp of the enemy, where I had established a temporary hospital  during the day. I was in the saddle till a late hour of the night endeavoring to find your headquarters, but being unable to do so I concluded to let my men sleep in the tents where they were, having learned that we were a short distance to the right of the Second Brigade, General Anderson, and immediately with Captain Girardey's battery, which had been on my right most of the day. Early Monday morning I had my regiment in motion to join you, and was moving with Captain Girardey's battery toward the left, where I expected to join the brigade, when I was ordered by General Withers to send my regiment, under my lieutenant-colonel, to support Brigadier- General Chalmers on the right. At the same time General Withers assigned me to the command of the Crescent Regiment, Colonel Smith, and a battery (Fifth Company) of the Washington Artillery, as a brigade, to support the line in front, which was at that time engaging the enemy a little beyond the outer line of the enemy's camp and a short distance to the right of where General Beauregard had his headquarters Sunday night. Having marched forward about 400 or 500 yards, our line halted to await the issue of the conflict going on in front of us. A short time elapsed when the line in front of us gave way and we engaged the enemy. Just at this time I had the misfortune to be thrown by my horse, and being badly stunned and bruised, was borne from the field. In conclusion, sir, I desire to do simple justice to my regiment by stating the fact that the officers and men did their whole duty; nothing more, nothing less. Of the part taken by my regiment in the engagement on Monday I am not now able to furnish a report, owing to the sickness of my lieutenantcolonel, who commanded, not being able to render me a statement. His verbal report shows my regiment actively engaged all day. So soon as he renders me his report I will immediately transmit it to you to form a conclusion to this report, and to show how my regiment was engaged while I was assigned to another command. I have the honor, colonel, to be, with distinguished regard, your obedient, humble servant,