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[375]

The enemy were immediately in front of us in greatly superior numbers, advancing in four ranks and in three columns steadily upon us. When in good range we opened our fire upon them, which was responded to by a terrific fire from their lines. This fire was kept up on both sides, and told with fearful effect upon my line. My loss here in ten minutes was very heavy, for during that brief period Capt. Carter was mortally wounded, Lieut. Fields severely wounded, and myself, Major Nevins, Capt. Coats and Lieut. Walrod also wounded.

We remained under this fire in this position for a considerable time, when I noticed the line on my left was falling back. Very soon my own regiment fell back, but they rallied immediately in the rear of the reserve, and moving near our own camp, rejoined the brigade, when we moved to the camps of the First brigade, forming a new line.

I was here joined by Adjutant Phillips, of the Seventieth Ohio and forty of his men, who took the left of my regiment, and fought gallantly with us through the remainder of the day. We immediately moved forward and met the enemy, in rear of the camps of the Eleventh and Twentieth Illinois, when we drove them slowly back under a heavy fire, and while a rebel battery was playing upon us. We still moved gallantly forward; the fire of the Eleventh and Twentieth soon killed and drove away the men and horses of this battery.

We held this position (a few hundred yards from the silenced battery) for a long time, until ordered forward by Gen. McClernand, who was alone bravely rallying and pushing forward an Ohio regiment on my right, (apparently destitute of field-officers.) We moved forward in excellent order a few hundred yards, when the regiment on my right gave way, and retreated in great confusion, leaving my little force of about one hundred and fifteen men almost alone. I immediately fell back to my former position. My horse having been killed in this last attack, and my wound rendering me totally unfit to walk or even to command, I was taken to the rear. Major Nevins, though suffering from a severe wound in the hand, assumed command.

The regiment now having become separated from the brigade, he formed the regiment on the extreme left, where the battle was raging fearfully. His painful wound, however, obliged him to turn over the command to Captain Lloyd D. Waddell, who, with the little remnant of our regiment, now reduced to about eighty men, bore our colors forward into the thickest of the fight, and, with his command, bore a conspicuous and honorable part in the terrible contest that closed the battle of the sixth inst.

On the seventh, Major Nevins became sufficiently recovered to resume command, but the few gallant men left to sustain the honor of the “Eleventh” were held in reserve, by order of Gen. Grant, and bore no conspicuous part in the glorious victory of that memorable day.

Of the noble bearing of the men of my command during the several engagements they were in on the sixth inst., I need not speak. Their numbers were few; they fought long and well, and suffered severely. They added yet brighter laurels to those they so dearly won at Donelson.

I cannot fail to mention the gallant Major Nevins, who, though wounded, bravely performed his duty; and Adjt. Dickey, ever cool and courageous, rendered most efficient service. The noble, lamented Carter, Captain commanding company K, who, with his company, so bravely cut his way through the rebel cavalry at Donelson, was among the first to fall on this bloody field mortally wounded. A good man, a true soldier, his loss is irreparable.

Capts. Waddell and McKee, always at their posts, the latter wounded — both men in the gallant fight of the evening, the former commanding the regiment — are deserving of my grateful acknowledgments.

Capt. Coats, who rejoined the regiment on the morning of the sixth, but partially recovered from a severe illness, was wounded and remained with his command, and was particularly distinguished.

Lieut. Field, commanding company A, whose coolness and bravery have always made his command invincible, was borne to the rear during the first engagement, severely and, I fear, mortally wounded.

Lieuts. Doane, McWilliams, Town, Hapeman and Walrod, all distinguished themselves by their bravery and gallant bearing.

Lieut. Dean, commanding company D, added new laurels to those he won at Donelson. When the colors fell from the hand of the wounded bearer, he was first to seize and bear them on with the regiment.

Acting-Quartermaster Goodrich, ever faithful to his trust, a brave soldier, was shot by my side, through the head.

To the gallant Adjutant Phillips, of the Seventieth Ohio, and his forty brave men, I am under obligations for their support to our decimated lines. I need only say their noble bearing, while under my command, is deserving of the highest praise. Their regiment and State may well feel proud of them.

I also desire to mention Sergeant-Major Blake, and the color-guard, for their brave and meritorious conduct.

I cannot close, Sir, without offering my congratulations to the Colonel commanding the brigade, for the glorious victory achieved by our forces here, and the distinguished part borne by himself.

I append herewith a list of casualties in my command on the sixth and seventh instant.

Respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to remain,

Your obedient servant,

T. E. G. Ransom, Colonel Commanding Eleventh Illinois Infantry. To Lieutenant E. P. Boas, A. A. A. Gen., Second Brigade, First Division, Illinois Infantry.

 Men.
Killed on the field,24
Wounded,74
Total loss,98


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