No. 77.-report of Col. Thomas D. Sedgewick, Second Kentucky Infantry, commanding Twenty-Second Brigade, of skirmish at Widow Serratt's, near Corinth, Miss., May 21.
headquarters Twenty-Second Brigade, Camp near Corinth, Miss., June 20, 1862.Sir: On the morning of the 21st instant [ultimo], having received orders to make a forced reconnaissance with my brigade in front of General Wood's division, I proceeded with the four regiments composing the brigade to Driver's house. Here I was joined by a battery of artillery and a squadron of cavalry from General Wood's division. Accompanied by Captains Gilbert and Gillem, of General Buells staff, and several other officers, I rode forward and looked at the situation. I then ordered forward the brigade to a high, open ridge immediately in front of Generals Wood's and Sherman's divisions. Placing the First Kentucky Regiment on the left of the road leading to Corinth, the Twentieth Kentucky on the right, I ordered two companies from each regiment to be deployed as skirmishers. The ground on which the Twentieth Kentucky was placed was an open field, in front of a dense wood, occupied by the enemy. That occupied by the First Kentucky was a heavy wood. I gave the order to forward, and the skirmishers had scarcely deployed before they were opened upon by the enemy. They, however, pressed steadily forward until they gained a position in front of Widow Serratt's house. Here the skirmishers both on the right and left met with such a determined resistance, that they were forced to fall back a short distance. Here, seeing that our skirmishers had met with an overpowering force, I immediately ordered forward two additional companies from their regiments to their support, with orders to press forward. I then ordered forward two sections of the battery and placed them in position on the high ridge commanding the woods in front occupied by the enemy, the cavalry in the rear. I also moved forward the Second Kentucky Regiment, and placed it in position behind a fence in front of the artillery and in the rear of the ground occupied by the skirmishers of the Twentieth Kentucky, and the Thirty-first Indiana Regiment was moved into the woods on the left of the road in the rear of the First Kentucky. At this time the skirmishers on both sides were fiercely engaged-so much so that the reserves on our side had to be brought into action. The enemy seemed to be concentrating their forces with the intention of turning our left flank, which was held by three companies of the First Kentucky, under command of Captain Wheeler. Seeing his command hotly pressed, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson to move the remaining companies of his regiment by the left to his support, which was done promptly amid a shower of bullets from the enemy. I then ordered the artillery to open with shell upon the woods occupied by the enemy, who were endeavoring to turn our left, which was done under the superintendence of Captain Gillem, of General Buell's staff. The attack of the enemy on our left was furious, and fearful of a repulse at that point, I ordered forward five companies of the Thirty-first Indiana Regiment to the support. His fire seemed to increase instead of diminishing. The firing on both sides for three-quarters of an hour was fearful and the result of the contest seemed doubtful, but the enemy finally fell back and we gained possession of the point at which they attempted to turn our flank. Three times the enemy rallied and  in +irn tried to drive us from the position, but Captain Wheeler, of thp First Kentucky, in command of the skirmishers at this point, heroically held his ground. Here Captain Williamson and 17 men of thw, First Kentucky fell wounded, some mortally. At this juncture Captain Smith, of the Twentieth Kentucky, comumanding the skirmishers on the right, reported that the enemy in large force, supported by a battery, were drawn up in line under cover of the woods immediately in his front. I then ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson to move his command to the support of Captain Smith, and moved the Second Kentucky Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Spencer, ir. two columns, some 300 yards farther forward, then gave the order to forward, which was done by the whole with alacrity under a heavy fire, in which Lieutenant Beinert, of the Second Kentucky, and Captain Smith and several privates of the Twentieth Kentucky, were wounded. The enemy slowly retreated before our men, and were evidently endeavoring to draw us farther into the woods. By this time we gained a position on the opposite side of a small creek beyond Widow Serratt's house, in the edge of the woods in which the enemy were. Here I sent forward Asst. Adjt. Gen. Wickliffe Cooper, of my staff, to ascertain, if possible, the position of the enemy in front of our right wing. He returned and reported, as did Captain Smith, the enemy in force drawn up in line to receive us. Seeing Captain Loder's battery, of General R. L. McCook's brigade, some quarter of a mile distant, in a commanding position, from which he could secure an enfilading fire upon the enemy's lines, I sent Asst. Adjt. Gen. Wickliffe Cooper to request him to open upon them, which he did with great effect, completely silencing the enemy's fire on the right wing. Not knowing the nature of the grounds now occupied by my command and from which we had driven the enemy, and having no orders to proceed farther than the point already gained, I held my position and awaited further orders. About 5 p. m. orders came from General Buell for me to hold the ground then occupied by my brigade until after night-fall, then return to camp, leaving one regiment on the ground to deceive the enemy as to the force remaining, which I did, the Thirty-first Indiana remaining on the ground until after midnight. The heroic conduct of the officers and men of my command on this occasion was not excelled even on the bloody field of Shiloh. Asst. Adjt. Gen. Wickliffe Cooper exhibited bravery even to rashness. My aide-de-camp, Lieut. Seth W. Tuley, also displayed undaunted courage. Sending him to see and report the nature of the attack on our left wing at the most critical moment of the day, he fearlessly rode along the front of our skirmishers when men were falling along the whole line. Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson, Major Buckner, and Adjutant Brennan, of the Twentieth Kentucky, evinced the greatest bravery, gallantly leading and encouraging their men amid the greatest dangers. Captain Smith, commanding skirmishers of that regiment, did his part nobly. Capt. Joseph T. Wheeler, of the First Kentucky Regiment, commanding the skirmishers on the left, behaved in the most gallant and soldierlike manner, always in the front, leading his men to repel the attacks of the enemy. Where all merit praise, his conduct deserves particular mention. Capt. James T. Williamson, of the same regiment, also behaved nobly. Even while severely wounded, lying on the ground, he still directed the movements of his men.  Lieutenant-Colonel Spencer and Major Hurd, of the Second Kentucky Regiment, although not brought immediately into the action, behaved in the most gallant manner, and were but too anxious to take a part in the fray. Captain McCalla, commanding the Thirty-first Indiana Regiment, and the gallant regiment under his command, behaved in the most soldierly manner, obeying all orders and moving promptly to any part of the field when ordered. For the names of the other officers of the brigade who distinguished themselves I refer you to the regimental reports, herewith forwarded. Below you will find a list1.of the killed and wounded in the brigade. As to the loss of the enemy we have no accurate information, but we afterward found in the immediate vicinity some 35 newly-made graves, and from the evidence of prisoners since taken their loss in killed and wounded far exceed that number.