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No. 219.-report of Maj. A. B. Hardcastle, Third Mississippi Infacntry Battalion.

___, ___, __, 1862.
Sir: On the evening of the 5th I occupied a post of picket with the body of my battalion a quarter of a mile in front of our brigade, No. 190, 8 flankers on the right and 22 on the left, deployed at intervals of 12 paces. We covered the front of the brigade. An advance party of 7 men, under command of Lieutenant Hammock, were posted 200 yards in front of my center. Another party, under the command of Lieutenant McNulty, of 8 men, were posted 100 yards in front of my center; threequarters [603] were deployed. Indications of the enemy's approach were made known to these officers by singular beats on the drum in the enemy's lines just before dawn.

About dawn the cavalry vedettes fired three shots, wheeled, and galloped back. Lieutenant Hammock suffered the enemy to approach within 90 yards. Their lines seemed about 350 yards long and to number about 1,000. He fired upon them and joined his battalion with his men. Lieutenant McNulty received the enemy with his fire at about 100 yards, and then joined his battalion with his men, when the vedettes rode back to my main position. At the first alarm my men were in line and all ready. I was on a rise of ground, men kneeling. The enemy opened a heavy fire on us at a distance of about 200 yards, but most of the shots passed over us. We returned the fire immediately and kept it up. Captain Clare, aide to General Wood, came and encouraged us. We fought the enemy an hour or more without giving an inch.

Our loss in this engagement was: Killed, 4 privates; severely wounded, 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, and 8 privates, and slightly wounded, colorsergeant and 9 privates.

At about 6.30 a. m. I saw the brigade formed in my rear and I fell back. Captain Hume's company, bearing the colors, formed promptly at the command halt. I formed and took position in the brigade line of battle near the right. We advanced, dressing to the right, I charging the first camp of the enemy. I was ahead of my battalion a short distance and lost myself from it by going too far to the left. Daring my separation of about an hour I fought with the Sixteenth Alabama Regiment and changed front. The battalion had moved a little to the right toward an open field and were there occupied firing on the enemy running across the field. When I rejoined them they were marching forward in line against the enemy on a changed front. We halted on the right of our brigade and received a heavy fire from the enemy. We replied briskly and continued firing for some time. The enemy were driven off by a combined movement from our left.

Our loss was: Killed, Captain Hughes, of Company D, while exposed in front of his company following the colors; Corporal Reeves, of Company E, color-bearer, and 4 privates. Severely wounded, 2 sergeants and 2 privates; and slightly wounded, 1 acting assistant surgeon, Lieutenant Reeves, of Company C; 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, and 10 privates.

My ammunition gave out, and I was detained, supplying myself from the enemy's camp, by Captain Picket's directions. I ordered my men to wipe out their guns.

Lieutenant Wilson, aide to General Hindman, passed, and, in reply to my inquiry for orders, said he would bring me orders if I waited a little while. Our brigade had moved off. In a short while I moved onward and fell in with Colonel Vaughan's and another brigade. We moved on to the support of a battery.

When we arrived there I was told by the colonel (Vaughan) that General Bragg wished us to remain there, but, if outnumbered by the enemy, to fall back to another 1 battery just in the rear. The Sixteenth Alabama, Fifty-fifth Tennessee, and another regiment assembled here after a short time. This place was in front of an old field, sloping down, and was the hardest-won position of the enemy.

At 5 p. m. Adjutant McClung detailed me to guard the prisoners. mre marched with them to the field in front of White House hospital and encamped, exposed to the rain all night.

Monday morning, the 7th instant, I started back to the battle-field [604] about 8 o'clock, by orders of Colonel McKoin. On the way we took different roads, and I did not see again until evening McKoin's and Harris' regiments, with whom I started. My men were much exhausted and worn-out. They marched very slowly. On the way a Louisiana company (commanded by a lieutenant) and a few others joined me. I approached a deserted camp of the enemy and heard firing toward the left and in front. I flanked to the left, and moved forward to an old field in front of, and to the right of, a burning house. I met many scattering soldiers falling back, who said to me, “You are too late.” The Louisianians and a few of my men fell back with them.

I had numbered about 110 in the morning; I now had about 70 or 100. With these I posted myself behind the logs and trees on the edge of the field. The enemy was seen on the opposite side, with his battery. A terrible fire opened upon us of canister and musketry. My men silenced their battery and drove back their infantry. Unmolested we moved across the field and took the battery.

Posted behind the trees and logs we saw the enemy formed within 40 yards of us in line and in close order. I held my fire, believing them friends. At the command, “Don't shoot,” the enemy deceived themselves and unfurled their flag. We poured into them a deadly fire. They replied fiercely and retired.

Our loss here was Capt. R. H. McNair, of Company E, who stood gallantly exposed, cheering his men to stand bravely and fire coolly (severely wounded and since died), and 2 privates severely, and 1 sergeant and 3 privates slightly, wounded. Afterwards I heard no firing on my right or left. I knew the enemy was present near both flanks. I saw the Confederates scattered and retiring, and I moved back in good order, passing around the field.

When I had retired a few hundred yards I came upon Colonel Allen, who had formed some 500 or 600 stragglers into a body. I formed on his left, and we took post farther to the rear, behind the battery, to support it. We remained here an hour, until the colonel got orders to retire. We took up the line of march in order and quit the field.

In repulsing the enemy from their battery we gave an opportune check to his advance upon our retiring skirmishers. Throughout this action, on both days, the officers and soldiers of my battalion behaved bravely. No instance of distrust or dismay met my observation.

Respectfully submitted.

A. B. Hardcastle, Major, Commanding Third Mississippi Battalion. Brig. Gen. S. A. M. Wood.

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