previous next

[602] surgeons and their assistants, were on the field, and, by their prompt professional attention to the wounded, saved many valuable lives. A report in detail of the killed, wounded and missing, will be forwarded at an early day to the proper department.

I have the honor to be,

Very respectfully,

M. M. Parsons, Brigadier-General, commanding.
Official: Thomas L. Snead, Major and A. A. G.

Report of General McRae.

headquarters McRae's brigade, July 14, 1863.
Major Thomas L. Snead, Assistant Adjutant-General, Price's Division:
Major: I submit the following report of the action of my brigade in the assault upon the town of Helena, on the fourth instant:

On the third orders were issued from district headquarters for General Parsons' and my brigade to assault and take the fort upon Graveyard Hill at daylight upon the morning of the fourth. By agreement, General Parsons' brigade was to move in front until he got into position, so as to enable him to rush past the fortification, by way of the ravine south of the Graveyard Hill, and then charge the fort in reverse. As soon as General Parsons was in position, my brigade was to move to the left and charge the works in front, simultaneously with the assault to be made by General Parsons. The evening before the assault General Parsons and myself had been furnished with five guides. We took up the line of march at twelve o'clock at night. Three of these guides went with General Parsons. I also sent to his front one company of sharpshooters, under command of Captain Biscoe, of Hart's regiment-Captain Biscoe being familiar with the country. Before daylight our column was halted, to wait until the other attacking columns were in position. After forming into columns of divisions, we again moved on. As soon as the enemy's fire opened, General Parsons sent back for another guide, those sent with him having deserted him. I sent one, and the one who remained with me shortly after left. At this time we were upon the ridges, three in number, each having a fort upon it and firing, and in appearance were exactly alike. Here I halted for a short time, in doubt as to the route. Finding the correct route, we pushed on upon the crest of the hill to where the timber was cleared away in front of the rifle-pits, and then crossed to the north side of the ridge, and moved up to a position that I thought near enough to make a charge; but between my position and the work that was to be carried, there was a deep ravine, just in front of the fort. As soon as the command was massed into position, a general rush was made into the fort, and the works were carried. This assault was made from the north. The enemy were driven from the works and pursued into the verge of the town. About this time General Parsons' brigade entered into the fort, he having charged about the same time as my brigade, thus rendering the capture of the position certain; for, had our assault failed, he would have been so close that we could not have failed. Here I would state that, while moving along the north side of Graveyard Hill, my command was exposed not only to the fire of the fort and riflepits in front, but also to the fort north of Graveyard Hill, which fort was not attacked, and to whose fire my command was exposed. While moving along, I discovered a battery of fieldpieces were being moved to the rear, so as to completely enfilade my command, and being in point blank range for canister. Before marching I had armed Captain Marshall's company of artillery with muskets, and moved it along in rear of my column, so that in the event we captured the fort, I would be prepared to work the guns. I now was compelled to use this company as sharpshooters, and deployed them, ordering them to approach as close as possible to the battery and prevent it getting into position, which they accomplished in a very gallant manner, As soon as the works were carried, I at once returned to where I had deployed Marshall's company, and ordered Captain Marshall to call his men and take charge of the guns and work them. While giving these orders Lieutenant-General Holmes rode up and ordered me at once to the assistance of General Fagan, who was attacking the fort upon the south of Graveyard Hill. I at once went to the fort and ordered my officers to assemble their men; but, before they were able to do so, General Holmes again, in a peremptory manner, ordered me to the assistance of General Fagan. I had not more than two hundred men with me. With them I charged down the hill, aiming to assault the north front of the fort, but when I arrived at the foot of the hill, the fire of the enemy was so withering that, with the force I had, it was madness to attempt to scale the hill, the hollow being raked by artillery situated opposite its mouth, and completely enfiladed with rifle-pits, in point blank range. I therefore deployed my men, and commenced firing upon the rifle-pits and works, which were being attacked by General Fagan, aiming to make as great a diversion as possible.

I remained here until I was informed that the enemy had retaken the works on Graveyard Hill, when I sent Captain Cobbs, of Hart's regiment, with his company, to General Fagan, and to inform him that I was unable to attack the works in front, being now exposed to fire in rear, as well as flank. I crossed over the narrow ridge in front of the fort attacked by General Fagan, and the fire was so great and severe that the men were compelled to cross this ridge singly. When I reached the crest of the hill I discovered General Fagan's men in a rifle-pit in front of the main works, and they seemed too few, even reinforced with what men I had, to accomplish anything, and within a short time I

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.

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.
M. M. Parsons (8)
J. F. Fagan (6)
Thomas L. Snead (2)
Dandridge McRae (2)
Thomas H. Holmes (2)
W. Hart (2)
Biscoe (2)
Sterling Price (1)
M. Monroe Parsons (1)
Humphrey Marshall (1)
Cobbs (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.
July 14th, 1863 AD (1)
4th (1)
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: