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No. 218.-report of Maj. John H. Kelly, Ninth Arkansas Infantry Battalion.

Hdqrs. Battalion Ninth Arkansas Volunteers, Camp, near Corinth, Miss., April 9, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to make the following report as to the action of my command in the battle of the 6th and 7th instant:

Early on the morning of the 6th my battalion, in conjunction with the Eighth Arkansas, Colonel Patterson commanding, was thrown forward as skirmishers, relieving the Third Mississippi Battalion, Major Hardcastle commanding. After sharp firing we succeeded in driving in the enemy's skirmishers. We then took our position in line of battle and advanced upon the enemy, driving him, after a spirited resistance, beyond one of his encampments.

After advancing some distance we were ordered to change front to the left, which brought us directly in front of the enemy, who was drawn up in line of battle in strong position on a hill, with a battery of artillery. We were ordered to charge; the battery was taken, the [601] enemy retiring to another strong position, from which he was routed after an obstinate resistance. My command, amid the confusion, was separated from the brigade, and, finding the Eighth Arkansas, we continued to act together. Our men being completely exhausted from marching, and having been under fire for several hours, we moved them forward and halted in a good position in order to rest them.

Here we were ordered to remain by General Hardee. Soon after one of the enemy's batteries opened an enfilade fire on us, compelling us to change our position for a more secure one. This we attained by moving about 200 yards diagonally to the left, where we remained but a short time, when we were ordered forward by General Beauregard, and placed on the right of the line, commanded, I think, by Colonel Smith or General Stewart. This was about 10 a. m.

After forming this line we advanced upon the enemy and drove him back, by hard fighting, to a very strong position, from which we were unable to dislodge him, owing to the exhausted condition of our men. We, however, held our position until fresh troops arrived, when we were withdrawn.

After this we rested our men about three-quarters of an hour, and were moved forward by the brigadier-general commanding at about 4 p. m. and took position in a field. From this we were advanced still farther. The enemy began to shell us from his gunboats, and we were withdrawn to a more secure position.

It being night, we slept on our arms in an encampment of the enemy.

List of casualties on the 6th instant.

Command. R . Remarks.

Command. Number of enlisted men in fight. Killed. Wounded. Missing. Officers wounded. Remarks.
Company A 31 2 6      
Company B 35 2 16   2 Lieutenants Richardson and Perryman.
Company C 32 1 11   2 Lieutenants Montgomery and Cates.
Company D 24 3 7   1 Lieutenant Harris.
Total 122 8 40   5  

Total killed 8
Total wounded 40
Total killed and wounded 48
Aggregate killed and wounded 53

Early on the morning of the 7th we were ordered to form in line of battle. My battalion was ordered out as skirmishers. After advancing several hundred yards I received orders to halt my line until further orders. Then they were withdrawn from this position and placed about 50 yards in front of the brigade. A forward move being ordered, I proceeded to advance with my liie. Upon casting my eyes tt the rear I saw that the order to retreat had been given. An instant afterward a masked battery opened an enfilade fire upon my brigade. As my men had a safe position, I deemed it best not to retreat across the open field with them. I accordingly wheeled my line to the right and marched it perpendicularly to the line of fire to where General Oleburne's command was. I informed him that the enemy had a masked [602] battery and that it was playing on our brigade. He at once caused his (the Washington) artillery to open upon that of the enemy. I then moved forward, with my line of skirmishers, and succeeded in rejoining the brigade about 9 a. m.

I was then ordered by the brigadier-general commanding to act in concert with the Twenty-seventh Tennessee, Major Love commanding. We were then ordered forward, and, after advancing about one-fourth of a mile, found ourselves in front of the enemy. The order was given to charge. My battalion, the Eighth Arkansas, and a portion of the Twenty-seventh Tennessee advanced forward; but the firing of the enemy was quite spirited and the resistance so obstinate that we found it impossible to dislodge him completely.

Our men fought until completely worn-out, and were finally withdrawn, but were soon rallied and moved up again. It, however, became evident that we could do nothing, as the men were worn-out, having fought for six hours. They were then withdrawn and formed in rear of a line commanded by Brigadier-General Wood, where we rested until orders were received to fall back.

Command. Number of enlisted men in fight. Enlisted men. Officers.
Killed. Wounded. Missing. Killed. Wounded. Missing.
Company A 23   1 1      
Company B 15   5        
Company C 18            
Company D 14   3        
Total 70   9 1      

Aggregate killed and wounded on the 6th and 7th instant, 62.

The gallant bearing of the officers and men under my command could not be surpassed by veterans. They have shown themselves to be true patriots, well worthy to serve our noble cause. Our battle-flag was completely riddled; not a string of it is left. With men like these, who will bear their flag so gallantly, brilliant triumph is certain.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

Jno. H. Kelly, Major, Commanding.

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