previous next

No. 198.-report of Lieut. Col. William D. Chadick, Twenty-sixth Alabama Infantry.

headquarters Twenty-Sixth Alabama Regiment, April 12, 1862.
Sir: In the absence of the colonel commanding it becomes my duty to report the action of this regiment in the battle of the 6th and 7th instant:

Our position was on the left of Gladden's brigade, joining the right [545] of General Hardee's command. The regiment entered the engagement exceedingly wearied and without breakfast. I was ordered, on leaving this city, the 3d instant, to bring up the rear of the brigade and take charge of the baggage train. The miserable condition of the roads caused an almost incessant bogging of the overloaded wagons. It was therefore late at night when we reached Monterey, where we were joined by Colonel Coltart, who for the first time took command. We were scarcely quiet in our bivouac when we were disturbed by a heavy shower. The following night was spent in the same manner and with less rest.

On the 5th we reached our line of battle in front of the enemy's camp. After having rested in place a few hours we were ordered on picket duty. The night was spent without sleep.

Returning to the line of battle a little after daylight, we were ordered forward without a moment's halt. On reaching the scene of action the regiment was momentarily thrown in rear of our brigade by the troops on our left precipitately rushing in before us while we were crossing a marsh. A perplexing confusion ensued, which it was evident could only be remedied by moving up on the right of our brigade, which was done without an order from General Gladden, as we were unable to obtain one. We occupied the only available space in the line and in a tew moments were hotly engaged contributing a full share to the driving back of the enemy. When the charge was made upon the lines and into the camp of the enemy the Twenty-sixth was among the first to penetrate them. Passing through the camp, we were halted in rear of the tents along a line of fence immediately beneath the path of a terrific cannonading between our own and the enemy's batteries. Here Maj. John S. Garvin was wounded by an exploding shell.

After remaining in this position for nearly an hour, and having regained our proper position in our own brigade, we were ordered forward, and again engaged the enemy about 500 yards in advance of the position just mentioned. The conflict was severe for a short time, when the enemy, falling back, moved to our left. The regiment made a corresponding movement to prevent his flanking us. Here we were exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's batteries and small-arms, without being able to return it, owing to the position of one of our own batteries, which had fallen back from the higher ground in advance of us and taken position immediately in our front.

After remaining fifteen or twenty minutes in this position we again moved to the right, and advancing to the margin of an open field, found ourselves again in the midst of a severe conflict.

Here Colonel Coltart was wounded and the regiment suffered seriously. The colonel being compelled to retire and Major Garvin having been disabled, I was left without the aid of any field officer. Our firing was continued briskly until the colonel returned, having had his wound dressed. He was able to remain but a few moments. Seeing the exhausted condition of the regiment, he ordered, or rather advised, me to withdraw it from the field. I resolved, however, to continue as long as the remainder of the command was able to contribute anything to what I regarded as an approaching triumph. The enemy's fire having ceased for the time, the regiment was ordered to rest in place for a few minutes, after which I determined to advance.

Just at this time, however, I was officially informed that General Shaver's brigade was to come by the road which lay beyond the open field immediately in my front and parallel with its eastern margin. I [546] at once determined to report this to Colonel Deas, then in command of our brigade, and with his concurrence to remain in the position until Shaver's brigade should approach, and then move in co-operation with it. I was ordered by Colonel Deas to do so. Watching the road narrowly, I discovered a column of at least two regiments approaching by the designated road. On viewing them minutely, aided by Major Munford, of General Johnston's staff, I found them to be Federal troops. They halted immediately in my front, advanced to the fence and some houses, and opened a severe fire upon us.

Feeling assured that the regiments of our brigade on our right had advanced, or would do so, I resolved to charge the enemy and drive them from the fence and houses just mentioned, provided I could get any support on my left that would prevent their flanking me. The gallant Colonel Forrest offered his support. The charge was made and the enemy driven from the position. The position of the cavalry, however, on my left, in a tangled wood, prevented their sending the assistance which they would otherwise have done. The regiment on my right did not fire a gun while I remained in the position. We, however, maintained it long enough to fire about 10 rounds, suffering at the same time the most terrific fire from the enemy in our front and from both flanks of his column. He also turned his artillery upon the houses about which we were sheltered.

Having only about 200 men left, and seeing that they must all be sacrificed if I remained, without gaining any material advantage, I withdrew them to a wood in rear of a field and awaited orders. Finding no one to whom I could report, and the men being quite exhausted, I moved back to the enemy's camp, near where we had entered it in the forenoon. This was about 4 p. m. Colonel Coltart was able to join us at that place, and ordered the regiment a few hundred yards farther back, where we spent the night.

Monday morning (April 7) Colonel Coltart's condition compelled him to leave the regiment for Corinth. The regiments of our brigade having been scattered, I was ordered by General Withers to report to Brigadier-General Chalmers. We went into battle in his brigade. Attacks of sickness, extreme exhaustion, and in some cases a want of moral courage had reduced our number to less than 150 men. With these we went into battle, but with very little efficiency, owing to the physical exhaustion of the men and the condition of our arms.

After retiring from the last engagement of the day previous I had ordered the men to unload their pieces, which had not been discharged, and the unexpected rain of the night previous had wet the loads so that many of them could not be fired. I had not a ball-screw in the regiment and could not extract them. Owing to these circumstances my men were exceedingly dispirited, though they obeyed every order, and the most of them did the best they could.

After engaging the enemy twice I reported the condition of my men and arms to General Withers, who ordered me to retire with them and remove the impediments of the guns as best I could. I ordered the guns unbreeched and cleaned, which was promptly done, and I reported for orders.

By this time, however, the tiring had ceased along the whole line, or nearly so, and our forces were being withdrawn. I was ordered into a line of battle fronting the enemy's camp, where I remained until the troops moved toward Corinth, and was among the regiments that brought up the rear of the column.

The commissioned officers of my regiment, with two or three excep. [547] tions, behaved themselves in a manner worthy of themselves and the glorious cause which they defended.

The non-commissioned officers and privates of the regiment, with the exception of a number for whose whereabouts I am not able to account, fought bravely to the last.

We went into the action of the 6th with 440 men.

Inclosed document A1 reports the number of killed and wounded.

Inclosed document B2 reports the number of guns lost and taken, with the circumstances attending.

Wm. D. Chadick, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-sixth Alabama Regiment. Maj. C. D. Anderson, A. A. A. G., First Brig., Withers' Div., Army of the Mississippi.

1 Not found.

2 Not found.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: