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No. 216.-report of Lieut. Col. John W. Harris, Sixteenth Alabama Infantry.

Hdqrs. Sixteenth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, Near Corinth, Miss., April 8, 1862.
At 4 o'clock on the morning of April 3 I received orders from General Hindman, through Colonel Patterson, commanding First Brigade, to prepare five days rations and be ready to march by 6 o'clock, but was not ordered off until 11 a. m. Owing to indisposition and prostration of the physical system I was not able to go with the regiment, so Major Helvenston took command and marched in the direction of Pittsburg, on the Tennessee River.

On Friday morning General Wood rejoined his brigade, and Friday evening the regiments were halted to rest, when firing was heard in advance. By orders from General Wood, Major Helvenston threw the regiment into line of battle and awaited the attack of the enemy.

Hence, about dark, Major Helvenston marched, under orders, and formed a new line half a mile to the right, and remained under. arms until 2 o'clock Saturday morning, when the line of march was resumed and continued until 8 o'clock. Then the regiment was again thrown into line of battle, with Colonel Williams' on its left and Colonel Mc-Koin's on its right, and marched for a short distance and halted. Here I joined the regiment, having heard a fight was expected and being anxious to be with my men in the engagement.

They remained under arms at this point until early Sunday morning, when it was advanced in line of battle, with Major Hardcastle's battalion in front as skirmishers.

Sharp skirmishes were kept up until the camps of the enemy were reached, at 9 o'clock. My regiment advanced through a thick patch of briers and then through an open field, while a battery of the enemy over the crest of a hill on my left played upon the troops advancing [597] on my right. I was halted in a skirt of woods by the battery, and was immediately ordered to charge and take it. I threw my regiment into column by division, left in front, preparatory to making the charge, but the regiment on my right having fallen back, I was ordered to wheel into line and engage the advancing foe. I did so, and the enemy were repulsed. I then advanced about 300 yards, when I was informed by Lieut. A. Adjutant that I was flanked on my left. I sent him to report it to General Wood. The general ordered that I change my front and engage the flankers. I did so promptly, and fired for about twenty-five or thirty minutes. The enemy being protected by a hill and skirt of woods in his front, I was ordered to charge. I did so, and the enemy was driven from the field with considerable loss. I was then ordered to charge a battery in front. I communicated this to my men. They advanced firmly and steadily under a galling fire from the supporters of the battery. I drove the enemy back and took and held the battery.

At this time my ammunition gave out, and I had to retire to obtain a new supply. I was then separated from the brigade; but being desirous that my regiment should assist in driving the ruthless invader from our sacred soil, I advanced to a position on the right, of where I had just engaged the enemy. While advancing through a thicket of underwood I suddenly came upon a masked battery directly in front and supported by a large force. Being overpowered, I was compelled to retreat. The retreat, however, was conducted in good order, and I awaited the arrival of Colonel Shaver, commanding General Hindman's brigade, and formed upon the right of Colonel McKoin's, who also joined Colonel Shaver and advanced with him until he engaged the enemy, and I was separated from his command. Thinking I did not have sufficient force to engage the enemy, I took position in the rear to await orders to join some command.

Soon I was ordered by Lieut. L. A. McClung to go as a guard with Federal prisoners just taken. I guarded them 5 miles, and was relieved on the morning of the 7th instant, and ordered back by General Wood to the battle field to rejoin him on the left. On my way General Cheatham's aide-de-camp came to me and reported that they were flanked on/the right and the general ordered me to that position. He urged the necessity of the case in such strong terms that I obeyed his order. I took position and fired upon the enemy a few moments, when a charge was ordered. My regiment charged with General Cheatham's command, and the enemy was driven back. A flank movement on the right compelled our troops to retire from the field. I halted, after retreating about 300 yards, formed my regiment, and engaged the enemy again until an overwhelming force flanked me on the right and forced me to retreat. This was the last of the engagement in which my regiment participated.

General, I must say, in conclusion, that my men fought gallantly, bravely, and with a determination that insures certain victory. They stood firm and fought like veterans to the last. I was greatly assisted by Major Helvenston on the right, and I am indebted to him for many noble acts of daring and intrepidity-always at his post and at all times cheering on the soldiers. While gallantly charging a battery, at the head of the column, he received a wound in the left thigh, which disabled him for the remainder of the day. His horse fell under him at the same time.

Captain Ashford, Company B, also acted nobly. At one time, when our forces were driven back, one piece of a battery was left by the gunners and drivers, the lead horse having been shot; Captain Ashford [598] went to the piece, under the enemy's fire, cut the traces of the dead horse, ordered two men near by to assist him, and drove it away, preventing its capture by the enemy.

Lieut. William A. Patton, Company C, while at his post and encouraging his men to their duty, fell, facing the foe. His untimely fate is deeply deplored.


J. W. Harris, Lieut. Col., Commanding Sixteenth Regiment Alabama Vols.

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