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No. 185.-report of Capt. William H. Ketchum, Alabama battery.

Corinth, Miss., April 15, 1862.
Colonel: On Friday (4th instant) we took uI) our line of march from Monterey, proceeding on the Savannah road, joining our brigade (Colonel Pond's), from which we had been detached for several days. Nothing of interest occurring this day, we encamped about 5 miles out.

The next morning, taking our regular position in line, we advanced until about 5 p. m., forming in line of battle on the extreme left, my battery masked by Captains Jenkins' and Robins' cavalry companies. There having been some skirmishing in advance and on our right this day, and the enemy's camps not being more than a mile in our front, distinctly hearing the tattoo from their different camps, I deemed it prudent to keep my horses in harness all night.

At 6 o'clock the next morning (Sunday, the 6th) the battle commenced, and we marched steadily to the front in line of battle, holding different positions, as ordered, when an order reached me to place my battery in position commanding the approach from Owl Creek, where it was thought the enemy would attempt to get through on our flank. In this position I was supported by the Thirty-eighth Tennessee and Crescent Regiments. After remaining here in position for some little time two sections of my battery were ordered to join Colonel Pond immediately who was in advance and on the right. I took charge of this battery of four pieces, leaving the third section (two pieces) with Lieutenant Bond. On arriving where Colonel Pond was with the balance of his brigade we commenced an advance movement again through the woods, swamps, and old fields, without any regard to roads. The fighting from 6 a. m. up to this time had been very severe on our right, and until now, in an open field, we had not experienced the whistling of the enemy's balls; and finding the enemy firing at us from a log house, with a camp in rear, we fired our first round, which was a shell from a howitzer, at this house, throwing it immediately into the house. This was about 10 a. m. The enemy leaving, we continued advancing through their deserted camps until arriving at a camp where they were drawn up in line of battle. Colonel Pond ordered me to advance and shell them out. Moving up my four pieces I opened on them with spherical case and shell, gradually advancing on the camp by half battery. In a short time the enemy left their camp in double-quick for the woods on their right.

At this moment an aide from General Hardee rode up, ordering me with my battery to the left, where he reported the enemy in force. On arriving at an eminence on the road, commanding a camp on the right of the one we had just shelled, we found the enemy in large force, and [528] the woods in the gorge below, between my battery and the camp, filled with shar shooters. Some Texas Rangers, who directed me, lost 4 or 5 of their men from these sharpshooters while pointing out tie enemy's position. I opened fire on the camp, advising the Rangers to dismount and enter the woods as skirmishers, which they nobly did, while we effectually shelled the camp. I think this was Colonel Wharton's regiment. They supported us gallantly in all our engagements with the enemy the balance of the day. Colonel Pond's fine brigade was badly cut up in a charge on a battery in one of these camps, which I have always thought might have been avoided had my battery not been withdrawn from the advance I was making on this camp.

This same evening we engaged one of the enemy's batteries and silenced it after about half an hour's firing. Night coming on, we placed our pieces in battery on their parade ground, adjoining a house on the right of their camp, where a number of our dead and wounded lay. This was at the instance of Colonel Ferguson, of General Beauregard's staff. On our left in the woods was our infantry support, Colonel Pond's command. A continual firing from the gunboats was kept up all night.

Daylight in the morning found our teams hitched up, our men chilled through by the cold rain, sleeping without tents or much covering; still, most manfully and cheerfully did they man their pieces to reply to a battery which opened on us. In this position we fought them half an hour, and finding they had our range, and our situation too much exposed, losing some of our horses, I retired about 100 yards to a position which I desired the evening previous. Here we opened our pieces upon them rapidly, and having good command of their batteries, succeeded in silencing them in a little more than half an hour's firing, and then opened on a body of infantry which appeared near the position occupied by Colonel Pond the evening previous. During this engagement Colonel Wharton's rangers remained on our right in line of battle, witnessing the duello, and ready to charge any effort of the enemy to take my battery.

At this time an order came from Colonel Pond for me to fall back immediately, he being some distance in our rear. Limbering up, we retired, coming again into battery whenever we could be of service, engaging batteries and bodies of infantry at different points, and while engaged with a battery we found Lieutenant Bond, with his section, doing good execution a short distance to our right. We now came under General Bragg's immediate orders, and our infantry were being hard pressed by the enemy. Advancing the battery in a gallop on a road bringing us on the enemy's left, we came into battery, discharging canister from our six pieces at a distance of 40 or 50 yards, checking his advance and driving him back in the thicket, our troops rallying again. We remained in this position, using canister freely, until recalled by General Bragg to some other position.

We were joined here by an officer with one piece and three or four cannoneers, who asked permission to join my battery, so that we had seven pieces in position.

In this fight we lost one man and had several wounded. One of our pieces got disabled here. The splinter-bar broken and the piece up to the hubs in mud, it was impossible to get it out.

The firing from this time up to the close of the fight was unusually severe from musketry and also artillery, in which we were constantly engaged. General Bragg remaining with the battery up to the last moment of the fight, and after our infantry had withdrawn from the field, he ordered me to withdraw by sections in good order, covering [529] the retreat, and taking position for any advance of the enemy. We encamped on the road that night and made Corinth next evening (8th instant), as ordered.

My first section, commanded by First Lieutenant Garrity, was managed with remarkable coolness and ability, prompt in executing all orders and firing with marked precision. The gunner to his howitzer, Corporal Ingalls, did great credit to himself in this respect. His pieces are brought back in good order.

Second Lieutenant Bond, third section, behaved gallantly when with me on Monday, which was our most severe fighting, and when detached from me Sunday and part of Monday the most flattering account of his section is given by those whom he was with. His guns are back in good order.

Third Lieutenant Carroll, second section, also behaved gallantly, cheering his men through the thickest of the fight. His section lost one piece and two caissons, which was unavoidable.

To mention cases of individual merit might be most appropriately done, and could not be done without naming the whole command, with two or three exceptions.

My loss in killed, 1; wounded. 12; horses, 15.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Wm. H. Ketchum, Captain Company A, Alabama State Artillery.
P. S.-To the unremitting attention of our surgeon, Dr. John P. Barnes, who was with us on the field and untiring in his attention to the wounded, I shall ever feel grateful, and cannot say too much in praise.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. H. K.

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