previous next

No. 84.-report of Col. Joseph Wheeler, Nineteenth Alabama Infantry, commanding Brigade, of operations May 28-29.

headquarters First Brigade,
Near Baldwin, Miss., June 6, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to report that on the evening of the 28th [853] ultimo, being in command of the First Brigade, Withers' division, I was ordered to leave Colonel Deas' regiment, four guns of Robertson's battery, and a detail of 150 men from each other regiment, and to proceed with the remainder of the brigade to the outpost on the Monterey road, and drive the enemy from a position they had taken that morning, and establish our pickets as they were before the advance of the enemy.

On arriving at the outpost with this force-consisting of portions of the Nineteenth, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty-sixth Alabama Regiments, under Lieutenant-Colonels Tracy and Johnston and Colonel Coltart, in all between 300 and 400 men — I found Lieutenant-Colonel Mills, with about 200 men from the Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Twenty-ninth Mississippi Regiments, and two guns of Robertson's battery. Colonel Mills had been driven back about half a mile by a superior force, who had established themselves in a densely-wooded swamp so favorably, that this gallant officer had been baffled in repeated attempts to permanently re-establish his line of pickets in this retired position, and on our first arrival we were met by the retreat of the pickets stationed between the Monterey and Farmington roads. Finding, after a short reconnaissance, that the enemy was most advanced and strongly posted in the swamp referred to (between the Monterey and Farmington roads), I immediately advanced a line of skirmishers to feel his position, and, if possible, to accomplish the desired object, but they soon returned, reporting the advance of a large force, which proved to be a reconnaissance in force by the enemy.

By this time, hearing this advance and feeling the importance of meeting this additional force before he could choose his position in the swamp, I directed Colonels Mills and Clanton, who had just come up with some cavalry, to hold the line on the left of the Monterey road, which was more open and not at this time menaced by the enemy, while 1 moved, with the rest of the brigade, rapidly forward in line (the front being covered by skirmishers), and drove the enemy from his position and through the swamp.

On arriving at Bridge Creek I halted the brigade, and immediately deployed the skirmishers in a favorable line some distance to our front, who continued to engage the enemy, who had halted and taken a less advantageous position, and beyond the point we were ordered to drive them.

The conduct of the officers and men in this affair was commendable, subjected as they were to a heavy fire of both artillery and infantry, from a foe secreted by the density of undergrowth. They advanced steadily, not using their arms until they were ordered, when they fired with good effect.

Among the killed of the enemy was a field officer, supposed to be the reconnoitering officer.

So gallant a dash to dislodge an enemy so favorably positioned was not, I regret to say, without loss to us; 6 of our men were immediately killed and about 10 severely wounded, including Capt. W. R. D. Mc-Kenzie, Nineteenth Alabama Regiment, a most gallant and efficient officer, who received a mortal wound, from which he has since died.

I then advanced the left, under Colonels Mills and Clanton, and maintained the line during the remainder of the day, that night, the following day, and until 9.30 o'clock on the night of the 29th ultimo, having during that time frequent skirmishes, in which we always had the advantage, as our line was obscured, while the enemy was more exposed, he having lost the advantage of the thick woods. [854]

The part of the line under the gallant Colonel Clanton was severely engaged about 10 to 11 o'clock on the morning of the 29th ultimo, in which several were wounded on both sides.

I would mention particularly the gallant and good conduct of Colonel Clanton, Lieutenant-Colonel Mills (Seventh Mississippi), Lieutenant-Colonel Tracy, and Captain Hollinsworth (Nineteenth Alabama Regiment), and Private James Kerns (of Farish's cavalry), under Colonel Clanton.

Colonel Mills was wounded in the shoulder on the 29th, and returned to Corinth.

Private Kerns was also wounded while gallantly rallying a line of Mississippi troops who had been driven from their positions.

At 9.30 o'clock on the night of the 29th, the cavalry, under Colonel Clanton, having been placed so as to cover the entire front, a signal was given, at which the infantry pickets were noiselessly withdrawn, and at 12 o'clock I silently marched the brigade to Corinth, and slowly marched toward the Tuscumbia River, taking up the infantry. (left in the breastworks) as we passed, and the artillery, all of which had been sent to the south side of Corinth at 6 o'clock the evening before. I detailed a rear guard, under Captain Kimbrough and Lieutenant Hodo, before starting, with orders to force every straggler found on the road to join and move on to the rear.

This duty was most efficiently performed while I was with them and these officers assure me that they and their men awakened and forced on every straggler they found. Any stragglers left on the road must have left Corinth after the rear guard, or secreted themselves some distance off the road, to avoid being disturbed.

On arriving at a point about 1 mile from Tuscumbia River, and finding the brigade too near the main body, I halted and rested about two hours, and then passed on to about a mile this side of said river, where we halted, and were ordered by Lieutenant Ellis to return to the river and await the crossing of the cavalry, which, we were informed, had orders to burn the bridges immediately after passing over.

On arriving at the river I placed the main body of the brigade in a position favorable to defend any of the crossings near the road and deployed strong lines of skirmishers on both sides of the road near the bridge. I had one gun of Robertson's battery placed this side of the bridge in battery, with a prolonge attaching it to the limber, so that, if necessary, it could retire firing. Heavy details were then made to prepare for burning the bridges, and fires were made near them, so that they could be promptly fired.

Immediately after making these dispositions Col. Wirt Adams passed to the rear, with his regiment, reporting Colonel Clanton behind, but stating that he thought Colonel Clanton's regiment would retire by another road; but I was still informed that a small detachment of cavalry was waiting to destroy a bridge between the Tuscumbia River and Corinth, Miss.

While this work of preparing the bridges and obstructing the fords was going on, Captain Cooke (an aide to the general commanding) furnished me a squad of 3 cavalry, the only cavalry present, which I sent up the road to watch and announce any advance of the enemy. They soon returned, closely pursued by the enemy, who were moving rapidly down the road, and on approaching our position deployed and commenced a rapid and heavy fire. Our men remained quiet until the enemy approached within about 40 yards, when our skirmishers and the gun above referred to (which was skillfully and gallantly handled [855] by Lieutenant Dent, of Robertson's battery) promptly and rapidly returned their fire, putting the enemy to flight, and, as we afterward ascertained, killing 5 and wounding 9 of their number. The difficulty of crossing (as the bridges were fired) as the enemy approached precluded pursuit, but without much delay Lieutenant Butler, of the Louisiana regulars, effected a crossing, with a small detail, and completed the destruction of the bridge.

Toward evening I received an order from the general commanding this army to leave Colonel Deas, with his and one other regiment and two guns of Robertson's battery, and proceed to the rear with the remainder of the brigade.

Inclosed please find statement of the number of killed and wounded.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Jos. Wheeler, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Withers' Division. Maj. George G. Garner, Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the Mississippi.


Withers' division-parts of First and Second brigades, commanded by Col. Joseph Wheeler, Nineteenth Alabama Regiment-list of killed and wounded in affairs on the Monterey road preparatory to the evacuation of Corinth, Miss., May 28 and 29, 1862.

Names and commands. Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total.
Mortally. Severely. Slightly.
Lieut. Col. A. G. Mills, 7th Mississippi Regiment     2 1   3
9th Mississippi Regiment     5 1 6 12
29th Mississippi Regiment 2     1   3
Lieut. Col. E. K. Tracy, 19th Alabama Regiment 3 2 1 3   9
Lieut. Col. G. D. Johnston, 25th Alabama Regiment 1     1 1 3
Col. J. G. Coltart, 26th Alabama Regiment 2         2
Colonel Clanton, 1st Alabama Cavalry   2 4 4   10
Captain Farish's company (Alabama) of cavalry       1   1
Total 8 4 12 12 7 43

Jos. Wheeler, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
29th (4)
June 6th, 1862 AD (1)
May 29th, 1862 AD (1)
May 28th, 1862 AD (1)
May 29th (1)
May 28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: