previous next

No. 200.-report of Brig. Gen. John K. Jackson, C. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.

Hdqrs. Third Brigade, Withers' Division, Second Corps, Army of the Mississippi, Corinth, Miss., April 26, 1862.
Captain: I have the honor to report that after a fatiguing march and great exposure to bad weather the Third Brigade, Withers' division, Second Army Corps, Army of the Mississippi, arrived at the place of rendezvous, near the battle-field of Shiloh, at about 12 o'clock on Saturday, April 5, instant.

The brigade was composed of the Second Regiment Texas Infantry, Col. J. C. Moore; the Nineteenth Alabama Regiment, Col. Joseph Wheeler; the Eighteenth Alabama Regiment, Col. Eli S. Shorter; the Seventeenth Alabama Regiment, Lieut. Col. Robert C. Farris, and Capt. I. P. Girardey's battery of light artillery; in the aggregate 2,208.

The brigade was ordered to take position in the second line, on the left of General Chalmers' brigade, whose right rested on Lick Creek Swamp. The regiments were first drawn up in line of battle in the order from right to left in which they are above named, with the battery on the extreme left. The infantry were then broken by the right of companies to the front, and ordered to hold themselves in readiness to move at a moment's notice. My brigade remained in this position during the remainder of Saturday and thus bivouacked on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning (6th) the order was given for an advance. The infantry and artillery commenced the movement about daylight, moving [554] by right of companies to the front through the forest, with a view to a rapid formation at any moment by company into line. The order reeived and extended was that the second line should follow up the advance of the first line at a distance of about 1,000 yards in its rear and support it as occasion required, at the same time bearing off well to the right and resting upon the left of General Chalmers' brigade, gradually sweeping around by a protracted wheel of the whole line to the left, the march being rapid by the eagerness of the men to press upon the enemy, which they were urged to do fiercely and furiously. I found that the first line was soon warmly engaged; that solid shot and shell from a battery of the enemy were passing over the first line and occasionally wounding one of my men.

Advancing rapidly, I found that the engagement was between General Gladden's brigade and the enemy, and that the latter had been driven from their camps. Following on, I came up with General Gladden's brigade just beyond this camp, formed in squares. Just here heavy firing was heard to the left, and by order of General Johnston my brigade was moved in that direction, by the left flank, up a ravine. Before proceeding far another order was received to change direction and move to the right, as the enemy — were deployed there. During this time Captain Girardey used his battery with effect upon a battery of the enemy which was playing on us from the brow of the hill opposite.

Moving off perhaps half a mile to the right, I took position again on the left of General Chalmers, a camp of the enemy being just opposite to my center and separated from it by a deep and almost impassable ravine. The enemy was drawn up in line at the edge of the wood which skirted his camp. Throwing forward two companies, deployed as skirmishers, a sharp fire was provoked from the enemy and returned with spirit. Girardey's battery was placed in position on the edge of the hill overlooking the enemy and his camp. By a well-directed fire of solid shot and shell he caused the enemy to waver, and the infantry, who had advanced to the bottom of the ravine, were ordered to charge. They did this with a cheer; the enemy fell back, and the camp was ours.

The enemy formed again in the skirt of wood on the opposite side of their camp ground and poured a hot fire into my line. Ordered to advance, they did so at a double-quick, charged through the camp, and again drove the enemy from his position, who rallied on the next ridge, prepared to meet us as we ascended from an almost impassable ravine and morass by which we were separated from them. Planting sections of Captain Girardey's battery in favorable position, I directed him to open fire upon the enemy. This order was promptly executed, and after a spirited cannonade, well responded to, the enemy began to waver, and the infantry again charged with a like successful result.

At this point General Breckinridge rode up and requested me to come to his relief. Upon inquiring of him I learned that the point at which he desired relief was in the direction of my advance, according to General Withers' orders. I assured General Breckinridge that I would be there as soon as the enemy, who continued to oppose me with a stubborn resistance, could be driven before me. For a mile and a half or more this fighting was uninterrupted, save when the enemy were retiring to reform.

By this time, gradually swinging or wheeling around, my brigade was moving towards the front occupied at daylight in the morning, having completely outflanked the enemy and driving him back without pause. Drawn up now behind the rails of a worm fence, on the [555] opposite side of a field, he hoped to stay our progress by a murderous fire as my men covered the open space. But the effort was fruitless of the desired results and our advance was unchecked. The engagement in the woods beyond the field was the hottest of the day, and while progressing General Chalmers rode up to me and informed me that he had turned over that fight to my brigade and that his was resting. One of my regiments, retiring for want of ammunition, was rallied and sent back into the contest, with orders to use the bayonet. Immediately afterwards General Gladden's brigade was ordered to my support, but before becoming actively engaged the enemy displayed a white flag.

An officer of the Texas regiment was sent to receive the surrender, which he did, along with several of the swords of officers. Cavalry being sent around to our right, took charge of the prisoners (about 1,500 in number) and carried them to the rear. Colonel Shorter, with his regiment, was ordered to carry these prisoners to Corinth, which was done.

My brigade was ordered to change direction again, face towards Pittsburg, where the enemy appeared to have made his last stand, and to advance upon him, General Chalmers' brigade being again on my right, and extending to the swamp of the Tennessee River. Without ammunition and with only their bayonets to rely on, steadily my men advanced under a heavy fire from light batteries, siege pieces, and gunboats. Passing through the ravine, they arrived near the crest of the opposite hill upon which the enemy's batteries were, but could not be urged farther without support. Sheltering themselves against the precipitous sides of the ravine, they remained under this fire for some time.

Finding an advance without support impracticable, remaining there under fire useless, and believing any further forward movement should be made simultaneously along our whole line, I proceeded to obtain orders from General Withers, but before seeing him was ordered by a staff officer to retire. This order was announced to me as coming from General Beauregard, and was promptly communicated to my command.

In the darkness of the night which had fallen upon us my regiments became separated from each other, Colonel Farris, with the Seventeenth Alabama, falling back to the line occupied by us in the morning, Colonel Moore, with the Second Texas, and Colonel Wheeler, with the Nineteenth Alabama, taking a different position, and the battery, with which I remained, falling back to Shiloh Church. Colonel Shorter, with the Eighteenth Alabama, had taken the prisoners to Corinth. Thus closed Sunday, April 6, upon my brigade.

On Monday morning my battery was early sent into action, but as I saw no more of it until after the order to retire, I refer to the accompanying report of Captain Girardey. So also as to the regiments, I refer to the reports of their respective commanders. Finding myself without a command after diligent search for it, I was requested by some staff officer, not now recollected, to take command of three new regiments near the road below Shiloh Church, to rally all stragglers upon them, and be ready to move up at any moment. This was done as far as possible, it being very difficult to make men reform after they have lost their pride sufficiently to obtain their consent to flee. Two lines at different points were thus formed, but never required for action, as the enemy did not pursue.

Returning, I found Colonel Farris' Seventeenth Alabama, commanded [556] by General Breckinridge, and used by him to stop stragglers and form another line at the place of our halt on Sunday. Passing on towards Monterey, where I consulted with General Chalmers as to the disposition of some prisoners and as to his remaining there, I arrived at Corinth at 11.30 o'clock on Monday night.

One stand of colors, captured by Colonel Wheeler's Nineteenth Alabama, two by Lieutenant-Colonel Farris' Seventeenth Alabama, and three by Captain Girardey's company, have been returned.

Where all the officers of my command, with a few exceptions, conducted themselves so well, I could not mention any particularly without doing the injustice of silence to others. To the officers of my staff I am indebted for their courage, accuracy, and activity.

I am, captain, your obedient servant,

John K. Jackson, Brig. Gen., Condg. Third Brigade, Withers' Division, Second Army Corps, Army of the Mississippi.

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: