No. 70.-report of Col. Jesse Hildebrand, Seventy-seventh Ohio Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
headquarters Third Brigade, Fifth Division, West Tennessee District, Camp, April 10, 1862.I have the honor herewith to submit a consolidated report of the part taken by my brigade in the battle of Pittsburg. Early on the morning of Sunday, 6th instant, our pickets were fired on, and shortly after 7 o'clock the enemy appeared in force, presenting himself in columns of regiments at least four deep. He opened upon our camp a heavy fire from infantry, which was immediately followed by shell. Having formed my brigade in line of battle I ordered an advance. The Seventy-seventh and Fifty-seventh Regiments were thrown forward to occupy a certain position, but encountered the enemy in force within 300 yards of our camp. Unfortunately we were not supported by artillery, and consequently were compelled to retire under cover of our camp, the engagement becoming general along the entire front of my command. A battery having been brought to support our right, the Fifty-seventh and Seventy-seventh Regiments stood side by side for four hours, contending with a force of not less than four to one.1 The battery having been forced from its position, and the infantry, both on our right and left, having fallen back, it became necessary that the two regiments forming part of my command should fall back, lest their retreat be effectually cut off. The Fifty-third Regiment, after forming in line of battle under my order, fired two rounds, and immediately fell back into the woods. It appears from the report of Colonel Appler that, apprehending a flank movement on his left, he ordered a retreat, but subsequently rallied in the rear of the Eighteenth Illinois. This regiment became, separated from my command, and its movements throughout the balance of the day were general. The Fifty-seventh, under command of Lieutenant-  Colonel Rice, united with other regiments during the day, and did good service. My brigade having thus been broken, I became separated from it, and personally took an active part throughout the day in rallying other regiments and parts of regiments. At one time I had the honor of being named by General McOlernand as one of his staff. About 3 p. m. I assumed command of a regiment already formed, composed of fragmentary regiments. I marched in a northwestern direction, where 1 aided a regiment of Sharpshooters in defeating the enemy in an attempt to flank our rear. I passed the night on the battle-field, in company with Colonels Buckland, Cockerill, Rice, and other officers. On Monday morning I collected my brigade as far as practicable and marched to a point near the field of battle, forming near the rear, holding my force in readiness to enter into action whenever ordered. We remained in this position until the enemy had retreated and the victory achieved. On the 8th instant, in obedience to your orders, I marched my brigade, attended by a large cavalry force, also by Colonel Buckland's brigade, to a point about 4 miles on the Corinth road? then, bearing left about half a mile, halted in an open field. Skirmishers were sent forward, who discovered rebel cavalry in considerable force. The skirmishers immediately fired upon the enemy, when the Seventy-seventh, under Lieutenant-Colonel De Hass, was ordered up to support them. Soon after forming in line of battle a large body of cavalry made a bold and dashing charge on the skirmishers and whole regiment. So sudden and rapid was the charge, shooting our men with carbines and revolvers, they had no time to reload or fix bayonets, and were forced to fall back under cover of our cavalry. Unhappily the cavalry were not sufficiently near to render assistance. The rebel cavalry literally rode down the infantry. We sustained a loss in killed, wounded, and missing of 57 men. Nineteen were killed on the spot, 30 wounded, and the balance missing. Capts. A. W. McCormick and A. Chandler, and other officers, are of the number missing. Second Lieut. Hanson Criswell is also among the number. Having buried the dead and removed the wounded, I returned with my brigade to camp on the same evening before 10 o'clock. I submit tabular statements of the number killed, wounded, and missing from the regiment. Of the officers and men who participated in the battle of Pittsburg and the affair of Tuesday I am happy to bear testimony to the fidelity, bravery, and devotion of all. A few retired without orders, but generally all acquitted themselves with credit. Maj. B. D. Fearing and Lieut. Col. W. De Hass behaved well, and exhibited much judgment, as well as bravery. Major Fearing had immediate command of the regiment, and acquitted himself with as much skill, bravery, and military bearing as an officer of long experience, and was not excelled by any field officer who came under my observation. Lieutenant-Colonel De Hass aided on the field of battle wherever his services could be useful, directing the movement of troops who had not been assigned to positions, assisting batteries to form where the most effective service could be performed, and rendering such other aid as was proper and judicious. It is due to Lieutenant-Colonel De Hass that the disaster of Tuesday is not responsible to him. He did his best to rally the men and behaved with becoming bravery. The Fifty-seventh, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Rice, rendered efficient service. Lieutenant-Colonel Rice  behaved with bravery, and exhibited much skill in the movement of the regiment. Colonel Mungen was prevented from going to the field by sickness, from which he had suffered several days. The adjutant and company officers generally behaved well. The Fifty-third I have already referred to. The regiment under the command of J. J. Appler fell back after two rounds, under the order of Colonel Appler. Soon afterward, as I am informed, he left the field, and was not again with the regiment during the day or Monday. Lieutenant-Colonel Fulton, in command of the regiment, the adjutant, and company officers behaved well. All of which I respectfully submit. Pittsburg, where they were prepared to support them. This was during the critical period when the enemy attempted to storm our position. The Fifty-third Regiment did good service during the afternoon of Sunday operating with other regiments.
J. H., C. C.