No. 56.-report of Brig. Gen, Jacob G. Lauman, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
Hdqrs. Third Brig., Fourth Div., U. S. Forces, Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 9, 1862.General: I assumed command of the Third Brigade of your division, composed of the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky and Thirtyfirst and Forty-fourth Indiana Regiments, on Saturday morning, and on Sunday at 8 a. m. I received your orders to advance to the support of our troops, then engaged with the rebels. In twenty minutes the brigade was in line and moving to the front to the left of General W. H. L. Wallace's division and to the right of Willard's battery, when we formed in line of battle, with an open field on the left and a heavy growth of underbrush in front of us. We remained in this position about an hour, when our skirmishers came in and informed me that the rebels were advancing in line and would soon be upon us. I waited until I could distinctly see them advancing by the gleam of their bayonets about 100 yards distant, when I gave the order to fire, which at once checked their advance. They held their ground for some time, however, when they moved off to the right, where they had planted a battery, and under cover of which attempted to cross the open field. I immediately ordered the left wing to move up to the fence, and as soon as they came in short range opened fire on them, which soon caused them to fall back. Their loss here and in the front was very heavy, the ground being literally covered with their dead. To add to the horrors of the scene the woods caught fire, and dead and dying were soon enveloped in a general conflagration. The rebels continuing to move to the right, so as to endanger Willard's battery, I received your order to move the brigade to the left, so as to check their movements in that direction. The movement was executed in fine order, and here we held our position until 4 o'clock fighting against vastly superior numbers, until the batteries on the right and left of us had retired. The rebels now brought up a section of light artillery, which they brought to bear on us, and continuing their movement to the right, thereby endangering our left flank, and being without support, I was obliged to fall back, which we did in good order, reforming about a mile to the rear, which position we held until next morning, resting on our arms during the night. The men suffered from want of wood and the inclemency of the weather, but their ardor was unabated, and although with diminished numbers, when your order came in the morning to advance to the support of the right wing, they moved forward with the energy of men determined to conquer. Under the guidance of your aide, Lieutenant Long, we proceeded to the extreme right, and found the rebels engaged in a fierce contest with General McClernand's division. We immediately formed in line and assisted in driving them back, and, after a long contest, in driving them from the field with great loss. Here I reformed my broken ranks, and finding the rebels now in full retreat, pursued by other and fresher troops, I received your orders to get my brigade into camp and make them as comfortable as possible. They needed rest and refreshment, having been under arms for nearly thirty-six hours. When I come to speak of the gallantry and bravery of the officers and men of my command I find great difficulty in finding language strong enough to express my feelings on the subject, and can only say that they fought from morning until night like veterans. Well mat  Indiana and Kentucky be proud of them. They have added another bright page to their martial history; and where all behaved so well I find great difficulty in giving to each one the particular notice they so well earned. I must, however, notice a few who-distinguished themselves in a pre-eminent manner. Colonel Cruft, of the Thirty-first Indiana, was severely wounded in the leg and shoulder in the early part of the contest, but refused to leave the field until near the close of the engagement, though suffering much from pain and loss of blood. To Col. Hugh B. Reed, of the Forty-fourth Indiana, I am under many obligations, not only for his great gallantry, but also for the valuable assistance he rendered me, after my personal staff was disabled, in conveying orders to the different parts of the command. Lieutenant-Colonel Bristow, of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky, in consequence of severe indisposition, caused by the bursting of a shell directly over his head, was obliged to leave the field at an early hour on Sunday morning, when the command of the regiment devolved on Major Wall, who received a spent ball in the breast and another in the leg, causing painful but not dangerous wounds, but continued steadily and bravely in the performance of his duties until late in the evening, when he was forced to retire to have his injuries attended to. Colonel McHenry, of the Seventeenth Kentucky, behaved most gallantly during the entire conflict on the second day of the fight (Monday, 7). In consequence of the injuries sustained by Colonel Bristow and Major Wall he assumed command of both regiments, now much reduced in numbers. Major Arn, of the Thirtyfirst Indiana, was mortally wounded on Sunday morning-since dead. A braver or better officer never gave up his life in his country's cause. To my staff, Lieut. H. Scofield, acting adjutant-general, who received a severe wound in the thigh; Lieutenant Barnes, aide, and to Private C. S. Sherman (whose horses were killed under them), I tender my sincere thanks for the valuable assistance they rendered me in the performance of their duties during this protracted struggle. I respectfully refer you to the accompanying reports of regimental commanders for detailed accounts of the movements, &c., of their several commands. The aggregate strength of the brigade was 1,727. The entire loss, in killed, wounded, and missing, is as follows:1
|31st Indiana, Colonel Cruft||2||17||7||96||6||128|
|44th Indiana, Colonel Reed||2||34||1872||3||226|
|17th Kentucky, Colonel McHenry||1||15||2||67||3||88|
|25th Kentucky, Lieutenant-Colonel Bristow||7||19||26|