No. 182.-report of Col. Alfred Mouton, Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry.
camp, near Corinth, Miss., April 12, 1862.Sir: Herewith I respectfully submit a report of the part taken by the Eighteenth Louisiana Volunteers in the engagements of the 6th and 7th instant: Leaving this camp at about 3 p. m. on the 3d I reached the line of battle on the 5th at about 5 p. m. Early on the 6th I was ordered to take position facing the enemy in an eligible location and await the arrival of the balance of the brigade. I advanced opposite to the enemy's camp and halted in a field about 400 yards distant therefrom. My skirmishers ascended the slope of the hill and exchanged shots with the enemy for about fifteen minutes, when the latter withdrew. I then pushed forward and perceived about 500 of the enemy in retreat. Anxious to intercept them, I rushed on at double-quick, but, unfortunately, our troops on the right mistook us for the enemy, owing, I presume, to the blue uniforms of a large number of my men, and opened on us with cannon and musket. This impeded my progress and brought me to a halt until a staff officer signaled to our troops to cease firing. On the cessation of the firing 1 moved on to the camp and captured 29 prisoners, who were placed in charge of Lieut. W. Prescott, Company K, who transferred them to Col. Eli S Shorter, Eighteenth Alabama, on receipt. But for this unfortunate occurrence the probability is I would have captured the whole number of the enemy that was fleeing. Here 1 man was killed and Captain Huntington, Company H, and 3 privates were wounded by the fire of our friends. Thence we moved onward to a deep ravine under cover from the enemy's shells; notwithstanding, Company F had 1 private killed and another wounded. Thence, at about 4 p. m., I moved by the left flank through the continuation of the same ravine, with a view of charging the battery, which had been continuously firing on us. Before reaching a proper position, and while directly in front of the battery, distant from it about 600 or 700 yards, I received peremptory orders to move up the hill and charge the battery. The order was instantly obeyed. About 400 yards from the battery my line became entirely uncovered, and thence my regiment rushed forward alone at double-quick toward the battery, being all the while exposed to an incessant fire both from the battery and its supports. At about 60 or 70 yards from the battery, which then commenced moving from its position and began to retreat, the enemy had opposed to my regiment, then numbering about 500 three regiments of infantry, two of which kept up an incessant cross-fire on my troops, and the third, as soon as unmasked by the battery, also opened upon us. Thus exposed, my men falling at every step, being unsupported and unable to accomplish the capture of the battery or the repulse of the enemy, I was compelled to retire, leaving my dead and wounded on the field. Here 207 officers and men fell either dead or wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Roman and I had our horses shot under us. I must add that, in my opinion, the order to charge the battery was prematurely given; that is, before our troops had taken proper position  to act effectively and support one another. Otherwise I am inclined to believe the battery would have been captured. After rallying the regiment I moved off to the left and took position opposite the enemy's lines, distant about 300 yards, which were covered by infantry and artillery. Throwing out pickets to protect my line, I bivouacked for the night. By this time my men were completely exhausted, as they had neither slept nor eaten since the evening of the 4th and had been continually on the march. On the night of the 6th it rained almost constantly, and, being without cover, by the morning of the 7th they were thoroughly drenched and worn out from lack of food and rest. At about 6.30 a. m. on the 7th the enemy in large force opened on us with cannon and musket. My troops being in full view of the battery, I fell back under cover from their shells. While in this position orders were received at about 8 a. m. to move to the right of the line. From this hour until 1.30 p. m. we were constantly marching and counter-marching; the Orleans Guards in the mean time having been attached to my command. About 2 p. m. we were ordered to move on the enemy, which was done, without energy or life by the troops, twice in succession, notwith standing the noble and daring efforts of Generals Beauregard and Bragg to lead them on in the face of the enemy. The fact is the men were completely exhausted from inanition and physical fatigue, many dropping in the attempt to move onward. Here I was wounded in the face and 3 privates remained on the field, either killed or wounded. I was then compelled, by reason of my wound, to abandon the field. Thence, by order, my troops fell back about 3.30 p. m. to a line a little beyond Shiloh Church, and about 4.30 p. m. they moved by the left flank to the rear and reached Corinth on the 8th at about 3 p. in., as I have been informed by the lieutenant-colonel then in command. A complete field return has already been forwarded, and I beg leave to call attention to the number of killed and wounded officers. Allow me to add further that my report of this morning exhibits only 10 officers for duty, viz: 1 captain, 4 first lieutenants, and 5 second lieutenants. very respectfully, your obedient servant,