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No. 48.-report of Col. John M. Loomis, Twenty-sixth Illinois Infantry, of engagement at Farmington, Miss., May 9.

Hdqrs. First Demi-Brigade (Plummer's Brig.), Second Division, Army of the Mississippi, In the Field, May 11, 1862.
General: I have the honor to report for the information of the general commanding the operations of your brigade, under my command, during the reconnaissance on the 8th instant and the affair of the 9th instant:

On the morning of the 8th instant I assumed command of your brigade, by order, on account of your sickness. Your assistant adjutantgeneral, Capt. Temple Clark; your aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Lloyd, and two mounted orderlies reported to me for duty. Lieutenant Sprague, adjutant of the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general of the First Demi-Brigade, also accompanied me as an aide. We marched to Farmington, Miss., and by order of General Stanley formed line of battle, with skirmishers in front and artillery on left, to defend approaches to Farmington from the south. Remained in this position until evening. On the return of General Stanley was ordered by him to leave four companies, with a field officer, in Farmington, as an advance guard, and bivouac the brigade in front of the creek in rear of Farmington. These orders were executed, and Major Jefferson, Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers, left in command of the advance guard, and the brigade bivouacked on a ridge about half a mile in rear of the building called the cotton-gin, the right and left resting on the swamps on either side, with skirmishers thrown out in front and on each flank; Spoor's battery in front of center. The brigade was out of rations, but I was informed by General Stanley that the brigade would be relieved next morning. [806]

Early in the morning of the 9th instant skirmish firing commenced in front of Farmington and continued at intervals until about 9 o'clock, when Major Jefferson, commanding advance guard, reported that without re-enforcements he could not hold the ground. I informed General Stanley of this and received his orders. In the mean time General Palmer had arrived and gone to the front. Major Jefferson again sent for relief. I informed him that General Palmer had gone forward with relief. General Palmers brigade had now begun to arrive. I had made preparations to withdraw the brigade, considering myself relieved, when General Stanley, having arrived, ordered one regiment across the swamp on our left to occupy the high, clear ground, to hold it, and prevent the planting of batteries there. I ordered Colonel Mower, Eleventh Missouri Volunteers, to that point, and they performed the duty well, held the position, and thus prevented the possibility of a flank movement against our left.

About this time a battery opened fire a mile in advance of our left on our advance guard. Another battery opened fire at about the same distance on our right, in front. Hescock's battery took position and opened on this latter. The skirmishers and battle line of General Palmer's brigade covered our front from right to left, and considerable fighting occurred. Being under a sharp fire of artillery from the front, I ordered the other three regiments (Forty-seventh Illinois, Eighth Wisconsin, and Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers) to lay down behind the ridge, as I could not open fire either of the infantry or artillery without firing on our own men. I then ordered Spoor's battery under cover of bushes on next ridge, in rear of our left, to give it a new position. We suffered considerably from the fire of the enemy. By the retreat of the troops of General Palmer's brigade the front of the Forty-seventh Illinois and Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers being uncovered, I ordered them to advance to the crest of the ridge and open their fire, which order they promptly and with effect obeyed. I then ordered the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers to change front forward, advance, and open fire, and sent Lieutenant Lloyd to order Spoor's battery into position. The artillery and infantry in front having retired through our lines, the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers advanced in good order and opened fire. The fire of these three regiments checked the advance of the enemy and compelled a portion of their line to retire under cover, when the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers was thrown into confusion by a charge of our own cavalry from the rear, of which I had received no intimation. I ordered the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers to cease firing while the cavalry were in their front. The Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers quickly reformed, and were again thrown into confusion by the return of the cavalry through their lines, by which 4 men were badly wounded. The Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers again quickly reformed and the Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers opened their fire. Lieutenant Lloyd returned, being unable to find Spoor's battery; they had left the field.

I found the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers had formed a new line next the bushes on right of original line, and uponinquiry of Lieutenant-Colonel Tinkham why he was there, he answered, “By order of General Paine,” and that he was further ordered by him to retire by right of companies to the rear into the swamp, which movement was executed. The Forty-seventh Illinois and Eighth Wisconsin V )lunteers were still delivering their fire to the front.

General Palmer now ordered me to retire and form a new line around the edge of the swamp under cover of the bushes. I gave the order [807] and these two regiments retired in good order, the men cool and obedient. The new line was formed by the Forty-seventh Illinois and Eighth Wisconsin Volunteers. I recalled the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers from their position in the swamp and formed them as directed by General Palmer. The Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers were now under a fire on right and rear, which they, from their position, could not reply to. General Palmer soon gave the order to retire again, and Lieutenant Lloyd was nearly captured by the rebels in conveying the order to the Twenty-sixth Illinois Volunteers. The Eleventh Missouri Volunteers had been recalled by Capt. Temple Clark, assistant adjutantgeneral, after the main body had retired and the enemy had advanced, and just in time to save them from being cut off. General Palmer ordered a third line to be formed, but, on arriving at the ground designated, General Stanley ordered me to form the brigade in line of battle in front of its own camp, reserving the Eleventh Missouri Volunteers to protect a bridge on the main approach and some stores. The latter order was executed in good order, the Eleventh Missouri Volunteers arriving before dark.

Of the conduct of your officers and men I cannot speak in terms of too high praise. They were steady and cool at all times; perfectly under control. They deserve great credit.

Your staff officers-Captain Clark and Lieutenant Lloyd-behaved gallantly, as did Lieutenant Sprague. I particularly call to your notice the service rendered and the gallant conduct generally of Lieutenant Lloyd.

I desire also to mention Captain Fitz Gibbon, Company B, Fourteenth Michigan Volunteers, who at near the close of the fight reported to me for orders, his company in good order and under perfect control, saying he wished to fight as long as any troops fought. I ordered him to the rear to join his regiment. I consider him a gallant soldier.

I report with sorrow the following list of casualties.1

I take great pleasure in assuring you that there was not a skulker in your brigade, and I have no doubt that I could have held the first position occupied by the brigade if I had not been ordered to retire.

I inclose for your perusal the reports of commanding officers of regiments, Spoor's battery, and Major Jefferson, advance guard.

I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

John Mason Loomis, Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-sixth Regiment Illinois Volunteers. Brig. Gen. J. B. Plummer, Comdg. Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Mississippi.

1 Nominal list omitted. The losses are tabulated on p. 805,

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John M. Palmer (8)
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