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[587]

No. 213.-reports of Col. Ben. J. Hill, Fifth Tennessee Infantry.1

Hdqrs. Fifth Tennessee Regt. Prov. Army, Camp, near Corinth, Miss., April 15, 1862.
Sir: In compliance with your request, I have the honor to make the following report, showing the positions occupied by my command during the eventful scenes of the 6th and 7th instant at Shiloh, in Hardin County, Tenn.:

My regiment was detailed to do picket duty on Saturday night (5th), and was thrown out within 3 or 4 miles of the enemy's encampment.

At daylight Sunday morning we were ordered to advance with the balance of your brigade, the Sixth Mississippi, Colonel Thornton, on my right, and the Twenty-fourth Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Peebles, on my left. We advanced some 3 miles, when our pickets commenced a sharp and lively skirmish. We continued to advance and drove them before us to within 500 yards of the Federal encampment. They opened a terrific fire upon our columns. A deep ravine, full of green briers and grape-vines, separated us from Colonel Thornton's regiment. My right was exposed to a severe flank fire from a battery and from musketry and other small-arms. We were at the foot of a long hill, upon which the enemy were hidden.

Captain Hanner, Company A, and several others were killed at this place and many wounded.

The Fifteenth Arkansas, Lieutenant-Colonel Patton, was in advance of us and deployed as skirmishers, but was soon called in to sustain the Twenty-fourth Tennessee, on the left, which it performed gallantly and promptly. The firing was constant and continuous for half or threequarters of an hour, when one of the aides of General Beauregard came to me and said the battery on the right must be charged and silenced at all hazards. I gave the word and my brave boys promptly responded to it. We charged, dispersed the enemy, and silenced the battery. As the enemy retreated my marksmen had better opportunity for trying their skill, and well did they improve it, as was proven by the number of the enemy who there fell. We continued on at double-quick for near a mile, crossing their first encampment, and formed line of battle at the foot of the next hill.

At this time the Twenty-third Tennessee, Lieutenant-Colonel Neill, and the Sixth Mississippi, Colonel Thornton, constituting the right wing of your brigade, getting separated, you had to go to their aid.

I was then directed, as senior colonel, to take command of all the troops on my left by one of General Beauregard's staff, which I did, and formed them in line of battle, to keep back their right wing. Thus, with two Louisiana regiments on the left of your brigade, the Texas Rangers on the extreme left, on Owl Creek, a battery in our rear, the Louisiana cavalry as pickets, and the Fifteenth Arkansas, Lieutenant-Colonel Patton, as skirmishers, we advanced at once, driving the extreme right ot the enemy for at least a mile before us. They halted at their third encampment and gave us a stubborn fight. The Fourth Kentucky and a battalion of Alabama troops were here on our right, sheltered under the brow of a hill. They had been giving the enemy a hot fire, but ceased as we came up. My regiment then opened a terrible fire upon the enemy and kept it up alone for a short time, when [588] the Twenty-fourth Tennessee joined with us in firing upon them. Colonel Freeman, commanding a Tennessee regiment, with a squadron of cavalry, then moved rapidly to the left and opened fire upon their right flank. This, in conjunction with our fire in front, told with terrible effect, and they retreated, leaving many of their dead and wounded behind them.

We pursued them and had just formed on the fourth hill and in sight of their fourth encampment, when you returned to cheer us with your presence and to supply us with ammunition.

The remainder of the evening and during the next day (Monday) we fought under your immediate command. It is unnecessary for me to enumerate and recite the many charges and the many incidents that occurred on Monday, as you were in command and witnessed them all.

In conclusion, I beg leave to say that my men, though inexperienced, fought well and bravely, and never failed to charge or rally when I commanded them so to do.

As far as my observation went all the Tennessee troops fought well. So it was with the Arkansas troops, the Mississippi, the Kentucky, and the Alabama troops on the left. All of them fought nobly and gallantly and against great odds.

My regiment captured about 100 prisoners during the two days fighting.

With great respect, your obedient servant,

Ben. J. Hill, Colonel, Comdg. Fifth Tennessee Regiment, Provisional Army. Brig. Gen. P. R. Cleburne, Commanding Second Brigade.

[Inclosure.]

Hdqrs. Fifth Tennessee Regt., Prov. Army, Camp Hill, Miss., April 22, 1862.
Sir: In obedience to Special Orders, No.--, of date the 21st instant, in relation to the number of men of this regiment engaged in the battles at Shiloh on the 6th and 7th instant, I have to report as follows, to wit:

Number detailed as infirmary or hospital corps29
Number detailed to go with the artillery6
Number detailed to go with the sappers and miners1
Number detailed as wagon guard3
Number detailed to guard ammunition2
Total detailed41
Number of non-commissioned officers and privates engaged328
Number of company officers (commissioned)33
Number of field officers3
Number of staff officers5
Total engaged369

In reply to that portion of the order which refers to the individual action of the officers and men of this regiment on the battle-field of Shiloh, I have to say the officers and men of the regiment fought well and acted with great coolness and bravery, considering their inexperience. Such was the conduct of most of them on the field. I am pained [589] to report that there are a few exceptions. In Capt. John Macon's company (F) Second Lieut. W. R. Morrow is reported as having left the field Sunday morning under pretense of assisting a wounded brother, though he was positively forbidden so to do by his captain, and did not again return to his company during the two days fighting. Private Dimmon Martin, of the same company, showed great timidity, and had to be repeatedly ordered to fire his gun before he would do so.

In Capt. James H. Wood's company (G), commanded by Acting Lieut. F. M. Gunter, Acting Lieut. A. H. Burger and Sergt. Jacob B. Sellars left the command early on Sunday morning, the 6th, without permission from their leader, and were seen no more with the company until the regiment returned to Corinth.

In Captain Forrest's company (C), Private Samuel Evans displayed great coolness and courage. After being severely wounded, the ball passing through the cheeks, he refused to go to the rear, but remained and fought for a considerable length of time, cheering on the men and loading and shooting as fast as he could.

In Captain Towles' company (B), commanded by Lieut. B. R. Womack, Privates J. D. Smith, Douglass Brien, and J. T. Pennington are mentioned as having distinguished themselves by their bravery and daring.

In Company D, commanded by Lieut. J. L. Jones, and subsequently, after the wounding of Lieutenant Jones, by Lieut. R. C. Smartt, Private John Roberts, a very young soldier, behaved with the greatest coolness and bravery throughout the whole action. He was frequently in advance of his company, was knocked down twice by spent balls, and had his gun shattered to pieces. He is but fifteen years old, but displayed the coolness and courage of a veteran.

In Company F, Capt. Edward J. Wood, Lieut. C. C. Brewer is spoken of in the highest terms for cool bravery and gallant bearing. Followi.ng the lead and imitating the example of his captain, one of the bravest cf the brave, he was ever at the head of the men, his gallant captain only in advance, cheering them on to the conflict, and ever and anon dropping one of the Yankees as his eye would chance to light upon him. Privates Abe Boren and Isaac L. Ray, of the same company, also greatly distinguished themselves, and are spoken of in the highest terms by their comrades and their captain.

Lieut. George S. Deakius, of Capt. W. D. Stewart's company (K), was also conspicuous throughout the engagement for coolness and gallant behavior. It is no doubt invidious to single out instances of this kind. Officers and men all did well, considering that they were raw and inexperienced, and they were out Saturday night, the whole regiment on picket duty, and consequently unrefreshed.

There is one other exception, to which duty compels me to allude. Capt. L. L. Dearman, commanding company I, acted in a very unbecoming and cowardly manner. Several times I had to threaten to shoot him for hiding far back in the rear of his men.

Respectfully submitted.

B. J. Hill, Colonel, Comdg. Fifth Tennessee Regiment, Provisional Army. Maj. Powhatan Ellis, Jr., Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade, Third Army Corps.

1 this regiment afterwards known as the Thirty-Fifth.

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