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No. 57.-port of Col. Charles Cruft, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry.

headquarters Thirty-First Indiana Volunteers, In the Field, Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 10, 1862.
Captain: The following report of the part taken by the Thirty-first Regiment of Indiana Volunteers in the battle near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., on the 6th and 7th instant, is respectfully submitted:

On Sundaymorning, 6th instant, about 7.30 o'clock, rapid volleys of musketry from camps to the front indicated the commencement of the battle. Soon an order was received from the general commanding brigade to form the regiment for action. In ten minutes it was in brigade line on the right. In a few moments thereafter the brigade was moved in column to the front along the Hamburg road. The regiment was formed in line of battle in the position indicated by Brigadier-General Lauman. At this time the battle was progressing actively upon the right and left of the main line. Soon the enemy attacked our brigade in great force and with much desperation. My line met the attack with perfect coolness and with a low and steady fire. Officers and men behaved handsomely. After the expenditure of some 30 rounds the enemy was repulsed. The advance was made up to within some 10 yards of my line, and the slaughter among the enemy in its front was terrible. A second attack was shortly made with increased fury. The line stood unbroken, however, and after exhausting nearly the last cartridge again repulsed the enemy. Here a slight cessation in the attack occurred, barely long enough to procure fresh ammunition from the rear. The boxes of the men were scarcely filled before the enemy were the third time upon us. The line stood firm, and again succeeded against superior numbers. There was now a short cessation of firing, during which the cartridge-boxes of the men were again filled. A fourth assault was soon made, which was gallantly repulsed, and the enemy withdrew, leaving my regiment, with the balance of the brigade, in position. The enemy, retreating, moved off toward the left of the main line.

During the action my regiment fired an average of about 100 rounds per man. The piles of the enemy's dead which were lying along our front when he retreated attested the accuracy and steadiness of the fire.

About 2 o'clock p. m. an order was received to move to the left. This was promptly executed. For some minutes the brigade was halted near the Hamburg road, to protect Willard's battery, that was then playing upon the enemy. The various regiments were then moved farther to the left, and my regiment ordered to the extreme left, and placed in position to await the expected attack. An Illinois regiment subsequently formed to our left and rear. The action soon commenced to our right. It was apparent, from the reports of skirmishers sent to the front and from observations, that the enemy were preparing to flank our line to the left in great force. This was shortly accomplished. Regiment after regiment marched up from a large ravine to the left, moving in echelon, in compact lines, with Confederate flags flying, in perfect order, as if on parade, and came steadily down upon our small front. An order was given for our left to advance. My regiment did so promptly. It was soon evident that the advance could not be sustained, in the absence of a reserve, against the overwhelming force of well-disciplined troops of the enemy. After my regiment had fired [236] some 10 rounds the regiment to the left was forced back. An order was now given along the entire line to fall back, and a general retreat was made about 3.30 o'clock p. m. to a ridge nearer the river. Here the regiment was again formed in brigade line and marched up to the support of a section of a battery of large siege guns, and occupied this position during the desperate fight which closed the day. After the final repulse of the enemy the regiment was moved forward, with the residue of the brigade, about three-fourths of a mile, and there bivouacked for the night, at about 7.30 o'clock.

At this time the effects of wounds received during the early part of the day compelled me to retire from the field, and it has not since been possible for me to rejoin the regiment. The command henceforth devolved on Lieutenant-Colonel Osborn, who had borne himself gallantly during the whole day, and who alone of the field officers escaped unharmed.

On the next day (7th instant) the regiment was actively engaged with the balance of your brigade on the right of our main line. For the particulars of this day's work you are referred to the report of Colonel Osborn, hereto appended, marked A [No. 58]. The casualties of the previous day had made great inroads among the officers and noncommissioned officers of the various companies. It affords me pleasure, however, to report to you that the regiment fully sustained its former well-earned reputation, and gallantly bore its part in the sharp engagements which were that day fought, and joined in the victorious rout and pursuit of the enemy which resulted therefrom.

It grieves me to report the loss of two gallant officers. During the first charge of the enemy on the morning of the 6th Maj. Fred. Arn fell mortally wounded. He was a true soldier and accomplished gentleman. No more gallant soul ever “took wing” from a battle-field. Capt. George Harvey, one of the best officers of the regiment, was killed upon the field while bravely leading his company in the afternoon advance.

The number of commissioned officers of the regiment wounded, more or less seriously, was large, being more than one-third of those in the fight.

Lieut. Clifford W. Ross, regimental adjutant, was unhorsed early in the first engagement from the effect of a shell while in the fearless discharge of his duty.

The commandants of companies, Captains Winans, Mewhinney, Wall, Fairbanks, J. T. Smith, McCalla, Beaty, C. M. Smith, and Lieutenant Waterman, each acted nobly. The lieutenants and subaltern officers of their companies also conducted themselves with courage and propriety. A scarcity of file-closers, owing to sickness and absence, rendered the field labors of the company officers more than usually arduous.

The conduct of Surg. James B. Armstrong and his assistant, W. C. Hendricks, merits honorable mention. They accompanied the regiment constantly on both days, often in such close proximity as to endanger their own lives, ministering to the wounded with a kindness and assiduity beyond the ordinary calls of professional duty. They were constant also in their attention to such of the enemy's wounded as were encountered on the field.

The following is a statement of the casualties sustained by the regiment, collated from the regimental surgeon's report:1 [237]

  Officers. Non-commissiened officers. Privates. Total.
Killed 2 3 15 20
Wounded 9 15 80 104
Missing     7 7
Total 11 18 102 131

With assurances of regard to general commanding brigade, I am, captain, yours, respectfully,

Charles Cruft, Colonel Thirty-first Indiana Volunteers. Capt. H. Soofield, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Brigade, Fourth Division.

1 But see revised statement, p. 103.

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