No. 65.-report of Col. Samuel Benton, Thirty-seventh1 Mississippi Infantry, of engagement at Farmington, Miss., May 9.
Hdqrs. Thirty-Seventh Regiment Mississippi Vols., Corinth, Miss., May 14, 1862.Captain: In obedience to orders requiring it, I have the honor to present the following report of the part my command took in the action near Farmington on the 9th instant: Early in the morning I had taken position on the Farmington road near a small creek, a mile or more beyond our breastworks, having been on outpost duty in the vicinity the night before, with directions to hold myself in readiness to support the artillery and a body of infantry thrown forward beyond the creek should they encounter the enemy. Soon afterward I was directed to relieve half my command and send them back to camp (having an unusually large regiment) and advance with the remainder. I did so, and formed in line in a field beyond the creek a little in advance of the artillery, indications of the enemy's presence in the woods opposite having been observed. Thence I was  ordered to advance, preceded by skirmishers, maintaining the same order for a mile, when, after halting a short time, I was directed to move in column of platoons through the woods in a direction parallel with the Farmington road and near it. When within half a mile of the village the enemy was discovered in and beyond it. I formed in line immediately on the left of the road, the artillery occupying the road and firing on the enemy. Soon afterward I was directed to move across the road and take position in a field opposite with a battalion and another regiment on my right. Thence I moved up in column with the other commands to a point near the edge of the village, where our artillery had taken position to resume the fire upon the enemy. After remaining at a halt an hour or more I deployed my command into line on the right of the road, threw out a part of Company F, under Lieut. John H. Morgan, as skirmishers, and advanced with the forces on my right. Our route was across a deep ravine, through a skirt of woods, and across a portion of an adjoining field. After entering the latter we had a skirt of woods on our left extending around to our front. When near it the skirmishers opened fire on a party of the enemy posted in it. About the same time heavy firing was heard on the opposite hill to our left, indicating that the other division of our forces had encountered the main body of the enemy's advance. Turning northward to join our comrades in the onset, we had to cross an abrupt and swampy ravine, passable with difficulty by horse or man. The men hurried through the mud and thick growth, however, keeping together as much as it was possible to do, and advanced in line up the opposite hill to the position occupied by our artillery. Some little confusion occurred in the left wing, owing to the fact that part of it was crowded out of line by the want of space as we moved up and joined the line on our left, but it lasted only a short time, when they were able to get in order again. In front was an open space descending into a ravine with timber, on the opposite side from which, as well as from a point farther back on the right, a portion of the enemy were firing. When the order to charge was given my command rushed rapidly and steadily forward, especially on the right, exposed to this fire. While descending into the ravine Lieut. John H. Morgan, of Company F, received a painful flesh wound in the hand. We pushed forward through the woods, the enemy retreating from it before our combined forces, and advanced to the field in which the main body of the foe were posted some distance back, taking position at the fence. The farther advance of our forces was now prevented for a time by the shells from our own artillery, directed at the enemy beyond us. When the firing ceased we advanced in line with the brigade through the field, the enemy seeking safety in the adjoining woods and swamp. Subsequently my command followed the trail of a portion of the refugees through the swamp, under the direction of the commanding general. In a little field beyond it a prisoner was taken by members of Companies A and F, who was apparently on picket duty, and represented himself as one of the Illinois regiment. It was now late in the afternoon. We were considerably in advance of the rest of our forces, and there were unmistakable indications that we were nearing a stronghold of the foe; it was therefore deemed advisable to pursue no farther, and were directed to fall back, which we did, joining our comrades on the battle-field. I ought not to close this report without more special notice of those under my command. A new regiment recently mustered into service, employed in outpost duty the whole of the preceding night and scantily  provided with canteens, they bore this with patience and fortitude, [and] the heat and fatigue of the day's march, often through thick woods, over fences, ditches, and other obstructions. When advancing under fire their eagerness was such as to require restraint instead of urging forward. Lieutenant-Colonel Wright rendered efficient service throughout the day, and putting himself in front of the lines, aided me with fearless coolness in leading the charge when the order for it was given. The captains and other company officers were at their posts and promptly did their duty, leaving little ground for commending one above the other. I niay, however, appropriately particularize the gallantry of First Lieut. John H. Morgan, coming as it did immediately under my own eye. An officer of the second company on the right, he was in the most exposed position, both as commander of a skirmishing party and in aiding in the directing of the company after the former had joined it. Although he received a painful wound he halted not, but kept in advance, cheering on his men, more eager than before to meet the enemy and return their fire. Neither ought I to omit mentioning Privates Clifton Domey and Howard Folmer, of Company F, and forming part of the platoon of skirmishers, both of whom pushed forward when shots left them barely untouched. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,