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No. 74.-report of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, of action at Russell's house, near Corinth, Miss., May 17.

Hdqrs. Fifth Division, Army of the Tennessee, Camp before Corinth, May 19, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to report that in compliance with the purpose of Major-General Halleck, as explained at the interview of the 16th [840] instant, General Thomas being present, I made all possible inquiry as to the topography of the ground in my front, with its water-courses, fields, and roads, and on the 17th made dispositions to drive the enemy from his position at Russell's house.

I requested General Hurlbut to put in motion two regiments and a battery of artillery at 3 p. m. on the road which passes the front of his line and runs to Russell's house. I ordered General Denver to take a right-hand road with two regiments of his brigade and one battery of light artillery, viz: The Seventieth and Seventy-second Ohio and Barrett's battery, and gave him a guide so to conduct his march as to arrive on the left of the enemy's position by the time he was engaged in front, and I ordered General Morgan L. Smith's brigade, with Bouton's battery, to follow the main road, drive back a brigade of the enemy's forces that held the position at Russell's, with their skirmishers and pickets, down to the causeway and bridge across a small stream about 800 yards this side of Russell's house, supposed to be a branch of Bridge Creek. All these forces were put in motion at 3 p. m., General Denver's forces taking the right-hand road and General Smith's the direct main road.

On reaching the causeway General Smith deployed his skirmishers forward and sent out his advance guard. The column advanced and the skirmishers became engaged at once. The firing was very brisk, but the enemy's pickets were driven steadily back till they reached the position of their brigade at Russell's house, where their resistance was obstinate. The ground was unfavorable to artillery till the skirmishers had cleared the hill beyond the causeway, when Major Taylor, chief of artillery, advanced first one of Bouton's guns and very soon after the remaining three guns of the battery. These, upon reaching the hill-top, commenced firing at Russell's house and out-houses, in which the enemy had taken shelter, when their whole force retreated, and full possession was obtained of Russell's house and the ground for 300 yards in advance, where the roads met. This was the limit to which I had ordered the brigade to go, and then it was halted. The head of General Denver's column reached its position as the enemy was beginning to retreat. General Morgan L. Smith conducted the advance of his brigade handsomely, and the chief work and loss fell upon his two leading regiments — the Eighth Missouri and the Fifty-fifth Illinois. I leave to him the fall credit of conducting the advance and of carrying the position at Russell's. He held the ground till about daylight next morning, when, by my order, he left a strong picket there and placed his brigade back a short distance in easy support, where it remained till relieved by another brigade.

From Russell's we could hear distinctly the drums beating in Corinth. The house is nearly 2 miles from me and about 14 miles from the enemy's outer intrenchments, and the position, though important, is too exposed for a single brigade, with our line disposed as at present. General Hurlbut has two companies at Russell's and two regiments along the edge of a field which lies to the east of RusselPs house. This house is now the advance picket station in our front, and I have a chain of sentinels around by the right to a point on the Purdy and Corinth road, where it joins on to the pickets of General McClernand. There was no loss sustained by Generals Hurlbut's or Denver's commands in their flank movements on RusselPs, but the loss in General Morgan L. Smith's brigade was pretty heavy-10 killed and 31 wounded, a list of whom will accompany his report. The Confederates left 12 dead on the ground, whom we buried. They removed their wounded, of which [841] many traces were on the ground and in the houses. Among their dead was 1 captain and 2 lieutenants. We took only 1 prisoner, whom 1 send to the provost-marshal.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

W. T. Sherman, Brigadier-General, Commanding Division. Capt. Georogf E. Flynt, A. A. G., Chief of Gen. Thomas' Staff.

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