No. 207.-report of Col. R. G. Shaver, Seventh Arkansas Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
Hdqrs. First Brigade, Hindman's Division, Third Army Corps, Army of the Mississippi, April 12, 1862.Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the engagement of April 6 and 7. On the morning of April 5, and in compliance with instructions previously received, my command, composed of the Sixth, Second, and Seventh Arkansas, and Third Confederate Regiments, the artillery and cavalry having been detached, was moved forward to the first line, and deployed to the right of the corps and in the following order: Third Confederate on the right, Seventh Arkansas on the left, Sixth Arkansas on the right center, and Second Arkansas on the left center. In this position the command remained for the day and night. Between daylight and sunrise on the morning of the 6th I received orders to advance in the direction of the enemy, and when I had advanced about a mile my skirmishers were fired upon by the enemy's, which was returned briskly and with effect, and resulted in the enemy's skirmishers being gradually driven back. A steady advance was made, the enemy's skirmishers meanwhile contesting the ground, but no very persistent resistance was offered until my command had advanced to within about a half mile of the enemy's encampments. As we were ascending the second ridge from the enemy's encampment a brisk fire was opened upon us, but being returned with determination by my skirmishers the enemy quickly retired, suffering my command to reach the crest of the ridge without material opposition. In passing the declivity of the second ridge and ascending the ridge in front of the enemy's encampment my command was subjected to a galling fire and my skirmishers driven in. Pressing forward, the crest of the ridge overlooking the enemy's line and encampment was soon reached, the enemy found in heavy force, and the battle commenced. The enemy's fire was terrific and told with terrible effect, and was returned with a spirited determination and energy that threw the enemy into confusion in the end.  The conflict was very sanguinary. In the mean time Captain Swett's battery took position on my right and opened a destructive fire on the enemy's lines and camps. It soon became apparent that unless something was done to relieve Captain Swett his battery would be rendered useless, as his men were falling fast, and I so stated to General Hindman. I was ordered to immediately charge the enemy's line and camp. The order to charge was given and promptly and cheerfully responded to by the officers and men. The enemy broke and fled in dismay, my men pursuing them through their camps and to the ravine beyond. Here the order was given to halt and reform the line. Colonel Marmaduke, in pursuit of the enemy having become detached to the right, was ordered to rejoin the command. The camp captured, from what I could afterward learn, I take to be Peabody's brigade. After reforming my line I was ordered to make an oblique change of front to, the left, with the view of making an attack upon an encampment to the left and the rear of the camp just captured, but before making any considerable advance I was ordered to make a flank movement to the left, reform my line, as at first, and dislodge the enemy, who were in strong force in a woods some 300 yards in front and supported on their right by a battery. Between my command and the enemy was a large field some 200 yards wide. In making this charge my command was subjected to a heavy and destructive fire and the field was strewn with my dead and wounded. Before the woods could be reached the enemy fled. In occupying the position thus abandoned by the enemy my right wing was very much exposed to the fire of their sharpshooters. To my extreme right the enemy appeared in considerable force, of which fact 1 apprised General Bragg, and asked for a battery to play on them. Captain Swett was ordered to take position on my right and open on the enemy's lines. In reply, the enemy opened upon my command from a battery in front and one to the right, subjecting me to a cross-fire. At this particular juncture we were deprived of the presence and service of General Hindman; his horse was killed under him by a cannon-ball and himself disabled by the concussion of the ball and the fall of his horse. Upon reporting the fact of my ammunition being nearly expended and my men being very much exhausted, having been almost constantly engaged since early in the morning, I was ordered to repair to the enemy's camp, supply my men with ammunition, rest my men, and await further orders. It was now between 1 and 2 o'clock in the afternoon. After supplying my command with ammunition (with the exception of Colonel Hawthorn, who, as he reports, was detached by order of General Bragg) I was ordered to make a movement to the right and dislodge the enemy, who were posted in considerable force in a dense undergrowth in a heavy woods to the rear and right of the encampment first captured. On the enemy's right was a battery of the presence of which (so completely was it concealed) I was not aware until it opened. Instructions were given me as to what direction my line should take. I pressed forward, the enemy remaining close and quiet until my left was within about 50 and my right within about 60 yards from their lines (a dense undergrowth intervening), when a terrific and murderous fire was poured in upon me from their lines and battery. It was impossible to charge through the dense undergrowth, and I soon discovered my fire was having no effect upon the enemy, so I had nothing left me but to retire or have my men all shot down; I drew off, the enemy still holding their position.  It was here that Lieutenant-Colonel Dean, commanding the Seventh Arkansas Regiment, was killed. He was a brave and gallant officer and his loss a serious one. Upon reporting to General Bragg my inability to dislodge the enemy and that my command was very much cut up, I was ordered to fall back, reform my command, and await orders. I soon received orders to advance on the road to Pittsburg, but had only advanced a short distance when I received orders to return and encamp my command for the night. Early on the morning of the 7th I received orders to form my command on the Bark road and await orders. After some considerable time I was ordered to advance to support our lines, which were then deploying to the left. As I was moving up to supporting distance, I was ordered to move by flank to the left and form on the right of Cheatham's brigade. An advance was made in connection with the line on my left and the enemy driven back, abandoning their batteries, but retiring in tolerable order. Receiving re-enforcements, the enemy returned and opened upon us a terrific and murderous fire, and in time compelled us to fall back. Considerable disorder and confusion prevailed, the commands becoming mixed up. In attempting to rally the men and reform the line I was stricken down and rendered senseless by the explosion of a shell, and when I came to my senses was alone, neither Iriend nor foe being in sight. I have no recollection of anything that occurred on that day and very little of what happened on the next. I cannot speak in too high terms of the gallant conduct of Colonel Marmaduke. His coolness and self-possession were remarkable. He held his men well in hand, and managed his command skillfully and efficiently. Major Harvey displayed great gallantry, as also did Captain Martin, of Company A, Seventh Arkansas Regiment. I am pleased to be able to say that the great majority of the officers and men of my command behaved well and deserve commendation, while, on the other hand, I regret exceedingly that a few men of my command ingloriously fled the field at the commencement of the fight. Before engaging the enemy on the morning of the 7th, one regiment of my command (the Seventh Arkansas) was ordered by an aide of General Beauregard to remain and support a battery, and while my command was being deployed to the left, the Third Confederate, Colonel Marmaduke, was detached to support our forces, which were hotly pressed on the right. Accompanying this report will be found a report of the killed, wounded, and missing of the several infantry regiments of my command. Colonels Hawthorn and Marmaduke have submitted reports of the part taken by their respective commands in the action. Lieutenant-Colonel Dean having been killed and Major Martin having resigned shortly after the battle, no report has been made from the Seventh Arkansas Regiment. Colonel Govan, having been taken very sick after returning, was not able to make a report of the action of the Second Arkansas. The Seventh and Second both did good, effective service, and were well fought by their respective commanders. The Seventh and Sixth Arkansas labored under great disadvantage during the engagement; being armed with flint and steel muskets, they were rarely able to do any execution, the enemy always endeavoring to fight us at long range. It is with great difficulty that men can be made to stand their ground when they are suffering from the fire of their adverseries  and are in possession of the knowledge that from the inefficiency of their pieces they are doing no execution in return. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,