volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Keith; Fifty-ninth Illinois volunteers, Major J. C. Winters; Seventy-fourth and Seventy-fifth Illinois volunteers, commanded respectively by Lieut.-Colonel Keer and Lieut.-Colonel Bennett; and the Fifth Wisconsin battery, Captain O. F. Pinney, was formed on the left of the road. The Thirty-first brigade, Colonel Carlin, Thirty-eighth Illinois volunteers, commanding, composed of the Twenty-first and Thirty-eighth Illinois volunteers, commanded respectively by Col. Alexander. and Major Gilmer; the Fifteenth Wisconsin volunteers, Colonel Heg; the One Hundred and First Ohio volunteers, Colonel Stem; and two sections of Captain Hotchkiss's Second Minnesota battery, commanded by Lieut. Dawley, (Capt. Hotchkiss, with one section, being engaged with General McCook, on the left,) I formed on the right of the road, on a wooded eminence, the men under cover. This brigade was in the rear, and within supporting distance of Gen. Sheridan's division, which was then engaging the enemy in front. The Thirty-second brigade, Colonel Caldwell, Eighty-first Indiana volunteers, commanding, was formed in the rear of the Thirty-first brigade. Col. Caldwell's brigade comprised the following regiments and battery: Twenty-fifth and Thirty-fifth Illinois volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Cols. McClelland and Chandler; the Eighth Kansas, Lieut.-Col. Martin; the Eighty-first Indiana, commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Timberlake; Capt. Carpenter's Eighth Wisconsin battery. Almost immediately upon the formation of my lines, as mentioned, the enemy appeared, advancing in force on the right of Col. Carlin's line, with the evident intention of charging upon his battery, which was upon his extreme right. I directed him to open fire upon them as soon as he could do so effectively; but they retired under cover at the advance of Col. Carlin's skirmishers. At this time I received a message from Gen. Sheridan, stating that he was hardly pressed on his right and front, and needed reinforcements. I ordered Colonel Carlin to advance with his brigade rapidly to Gen. Sheridan's right, and aid his division. Col. Carlin immediately advanced, leading his brigade through a skirt of timber to the open fields on the right, and, upon ascending the brow of the hill, discovered the enemy rapidly advancing in great force upon General Sheridan's right. Col. Carlin immediately formed his brigade, and, at the double-quick, charged upon the enemy, who, after a moment's stand, gave way to the impetuosity of the charge; and, breaking in disorder, ran precipitately to and through the town of Perryville — a distance of nearly two miles--Colonel Carlin pressing them closely till they reached the bluffs on the other side, and formed under the protection of two batteries, which were in position there. The gallant Carlin charged with his brigade through the enemy's lines, completely piercing their centre; but, finding his ardor had outstripped all support, and having the enemy's artillery and infantry on both flanks, he fell back, during the confusion of the enemy, to a position immediately adjoining the town, and, placing his battery in position on the west side of the town, the rebel batteries and our own firing directly over it, till darkness made further action impossible. This charge gave the officers and men of the Thirty-first brigade a splendid opportunity to evince the intrepid, gallant, and soldierly qualities which the occasion showed they possessed. The manner in which they stood the subsequent severe artillery-fire was worthy of high praise. In Col. Carlin's advance the Thirty-eighth Illinois volunteers overtook and captured, on the edge of the town, a heavily loaded ammunition-train of fifteen wagons, two caissons, with their horses, belonging to the “Washington light artillery,” and the train-guard of one hundred and thirty-eight men with three officers. Major Gilmer, Thirty-eighth Illinois, deserves great credit for the skill and activity he displayed in this capture. The Thirty second brigade, Colonel Caldwell, was advanced at different times to the positions evacuated by Col. Carlin. The officers and men of this brigade did not have the opportunity to gratify that desire for a chance at the enemy that their looks, language, and actions showed they possessed. At the time Colonel Carlin's brigade advanced, Col. Gooding's (Thirtieth) brigade was ordered by Gen. Gilbert to advance to the aid of General McCook, upon whom the enemy had massed a large force, with the evident intention of turning his position. Col. Gooding proceeded with his brigade to the left, and, under Gen. McCook's direction, formed upon his left, and there remained, with some slight variations of the position of his regiments, till dark, receiving a most deadly fire from the enemy, who were possessed of great advantages of position. The appearance of the field the next day showed, however, that the brave heroes of Pea Ridge (the Twenty-second Indiana and the Fifty-ninth Illinois volunteers) had returned the fire with terrible effect, and had added new and bright laurels to their former fame. The Seventy-fifth Illinois volunteers, under Lieut.-Colonel Bennett, were upon this line, and having a reputation to gain as soldiers, nobly did the work before them. Their loss was heavy, including Major Kilgore wounded severely. Col. Gooding, during the temporary confusion produced by a heavy flank-fire of the concealed enemy, became involved in the enemy's lines, was slightly wounded and taken prisoner. By his address and cool bravery, however, he succeeded in deceiving the commander of the rebel forces till his brigade had withdrawn to a position where they were less exposed to cross-fires. Lieut.-Col. Keith, Twenty-second Indiana volunteers, and Lieut. West, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General of the Thirtieth brigade, both fell here. The former was killed, the latter severely wounded. Both were gallant officers, and fell while discharging their duties.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.