previous next

[150] range, they were withdrawn by Gen. McClernand's order, and directed Capt. Taylor to throw forward two sections of his battery to that position. The position being beyond the reach of my lines, the infantry support was to be furnished from Col. Oglesby's brigade, which was immediately in the rear. These sections took their positions under most galling fire of rifles and musketry from the enemy's lines. The ground was covered with brush, and some time was required to put the army in position, and during this time the enemy's fire was very galling, and Taylor's men suffered somewhat from its effects. As soon as his position was gained, however, the rapid and well-directed fire of the sections soon silenced the enemy. The coolness and daring of the officers and men of these sections, directed by Capt. Taylor in person, are worthy of high praise.

The Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth and Seventeenth regiments having been ordered to retire from the hill where they had so gallantly assaulted the enemy's works, the Forty-fifth and Forty-eighth resumed their position in my line, and Col. Morrison, commanding the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth, having been wounded in this assault, these regiments were temporarily attached to my brigade, and acted under my orders during the subsequent operations, until noon of the fifteenth.

The night of the thirteenth was one of great suffering and hardships to the whole command. We lay within point-blank musket and rifle range of the enemy's breastworks; and at dark a storm of rain, soon turning to snow and accompanied by severe blasts, beat upon the unprotected ranks. The pickets of the enemy were out in strong force, and a constant firing between his pickets and our own was kept up during the night. The spirits of the men, animated and encouraged by the conduct of their officers, never flagged, notwithstanding they were without tents or fire, and were exposed to the storm and assailed by the enemy's shot.

During the night it was evident that the enemy were receiving large reenforcements, and when morning broke on the fourteenth, it showed that they had been busy during the night in erecting new works in commanding positions, and mounting them with guns. McAllister's battery was ordered from the other side of the valley, and put into position on the road. During this day my brigade occupied a position a little in the rear of the road, and under cover of the hill; the right resting on the left of Col. Oglesby's line, and being within three or four hundred yards of the salient angle of the enemy's works on his left. We lay in this position most of the day, the order of the regiments from right to left being as follows: Eleventh, Twentieth, Forty-eighth, Forty-fifth, Forty-ninth, and Seventeenth. Taylor's battery was posted at the intervals between the Seventeenth and Forty-ninth. McAllister's guns were distributed along the point; Dickey's cavalry were in the rear and on the right, to observe the enemy and guard the flank. Under instructions from General McClernand, to commence the construction of a small earthwork on the road to cover three or four guns, Mr. Frecellion, of the Forty-ninth, had charge of the work, which was completed during the night, and two of McAllister's guns and a ten-pound rifled gun of the First Mississippi artillery, were placed on it the next morning. During the whole of the fourteenth a rambling and irregular fire of sharpshooters was kept up, varied by occasional discharges of artillery. The enemy's shells and round shot fell at times thickly within the lines, but the casualties were few.

At daybreak on the morning of the fifteenth, the enemy threw a heavy force of infantry and cavalry, supported by field artillery and his batteries within the work, out of his intrenchments, and commenced a vigorous assault upon the right of the whole line.

The attack was commenced and continued with great spirit, and gradually drove back our extreme right. About seven o'clock A. M., the Eleventh and Twentieth Illinois, on my right, became engaged with a heavy force of the enemy's infantry. They charged up the hill and gained the road in front of my position, but the moment the rebel flag appeared above the hill, a storm of shot from the Eleventh and Twentieth drove them back in confusion. Again a new and fresh line of infantry appeared, and I ordered the whole line, except the Seventeenth and the left wing of the Forty-ninth, to advance and occupy the hill. The Forty-ninth advanced boldly and in order to the brow of the hill, where they were exposed, uncovered, not only to the fire of the enemy's infantry, but to a raking of the enemy's batteries of artillery across the valley. They opened their fire, supported by Taylor's battery and two of McAllister's guns, (one having been disabled by a shot from the enemy's cannon,) and for some time the conflict was strong and fierce. But at length the strong masses of the enemy's infantry gave way before the steady, well-directed, and continued fire of the right of my line. They fell back, however, only to give place to another line of fresh troops, who advanced to the support, and who were also compelled by the steady, unflinching valor of our men, to give way.

In the mean time there were indications that the enemy were gaining some advantage on the right of the whole line. Reenforcements, consisting of Kentucky and Indiana troops, had been sent forward past my position to support the right, but notwithstanding this, it became evident to me from the sounds coming from the direction of the enemy's shot, which began to rake my line from the rear of my right, that the right of the line was giving way. My orders being peremptory to hold that position of the line occupied by my brigade to the last extremity, I sent one of my aids to Gen. McClernand with information of the state of affairs, and to express my fears that my right flank would be completely turned, unless reenforcements should be speedily sent to that quarter. Finding that

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Fort McAllister (Georgia, United States) (4)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Indiana (Indiana, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Ezra Taylor (5)
John A. McClernand (3)
Oglesby (2)
J. W. Morrison (1)
Frecellion (1)
T. Lyle Dickey (1)
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.
15th (2)
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: