No. 98.-report of Col. August Willich, Thirty-second Indiana Infantry.
field of Shiloh, April 10, 1862.Sir: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-second Indiana Regiment in the battle of the 7th instant: The regiment arrived at 10 a. m. at Pittsburg Landing and marched up the hill, where it received orders from General Grant to start immediately for the field of action. The regiment marched as fast as possible, and having received no special direction, took its course to the heaviest firing. Having arrived at the line of battle, General McCook ordered the regiment to form the reserve of the center of his division, and in case the enemy should throw our lines, to advance and charge bayonet. The regiment took its position about 200 yards in the rear of the second line of battle. About this time, neither party advancing nor retreating, I asked General McCook for permission to pass with the regiment to the front and make a bayonet charge, which was granted. The regiment formed into double column to the center, marched up about 200 yards toward the enemy, when he turned and retreated, without stopping to receive the charge; after which the regiment was deployed into line of battle, to give him the benefit of all our rifles. The whole division then advanced for some time. The Thirty-second formed into the double column to the center again, and two companies deployed as skirmishers in advance, until General Beauregard in person brought up  his reserve against our forward movement, when, by bad management in our squeezed — up position, our skirmishers received fire from regiments behind, right and left, putting them in immense danger, which caused them to retreat in a hasty manner, when they should have retreated slowly and firing, and bringing disorder in the whole regiment for a few moments, forcing the commander to order a retreat into a ravine, where it was formed again in double column to the center, and immediately marched up to charge the enemy once more, supported by only one regiment on its left wing. After having advanced for some time in this formation the regiment was deployed in line of battle, made a charge with the bayonet, and succeeded, after short and heavy firing, to check the enemy's advance till re-enforcements came up, which, supported by batteries, fell on both flanks of the enemy, when the whole of our force advanced again and threw the enemy back finally; the Thirty-second Regiment, making his last advance, with four companies deployed as skirmishers, and double column to the center following. Then the regiment advanced on the line of the enemy's retreat for over a mile, where the complete exhaustion of the men obliged me to give them some rest. Here I received orders to rejoin the division near the Landing, but not succeeding in finding the Sixth Brigade, the regiment bivouacked in an open field, coming up with the brigade the next morning. I cannot but mention honorably the gallant and skillful conduct of my lieutenant-colonel, Von Trebra, particularly in leading the skirmishers; of my major, Schnackenberg, in commanding the left wing of the skirmishers and in forming the regiment when it was thrown into confusion by the fire from our own regiments; and of my adjutant, Lieutenant Schmitt, for the coolness and activity with which he supported me in every way and manner; also of all the company officers, without a single exception, for their courage and skill in performing their respective duties, and of the non-commissioned officers and men, with a very few single exceptions, for their bravery and coolness in the hottest fire. As a proof of the latter I will mention that when, during the last charge, they fired at too great a distance, I stopped the firing and practiced them in the manual of arms which they executed as if on the parade ground, and then reopened deliberate and effective fire. It was a very unhappy accident for the regiment that the ambulances had been left behind at Savannah and that I was ordered so rapidly to the scene of action that my surgeon could not follow, which obliged me to weaken my command considerably by having the wounded carried to the hospitals by their comrades. Lieutenants Cappell and Borck, against whom I had to prefer charges, behaved so gallantly, that the whole regiment would feel gratified if those charges could be withdrawn. I also feel bound to express my thanks to the chaplain of the regiment, Dr. Fischer, who is also a skillful surgeon, rendering most effective services, and without whose assistance our distinguished surgeon, Jeancon, would not have been able to procure the wounded all the help they needed. I inclose a list of the killed and wounded.1 Of those reported slightly wounded, 21, after having their wounds dressed, returned to the regiment, to do such service as they were able to do. I have the honor to remain, your most obedient servant,