For a moment it appeared that the entire line would be swept away. The gaps that the enemy's artillery ploughed through the ranks were closed up with the coolness and steadiness of veterans of a hundred fields. On my left, Captain D. H. Norwood, and Lieutenants Kennebrow and Moore fell, killed, and Lieutenants Ken and Baily, of the Ninth Arkansas regiment, wounded, while on my right Captain Fulton was killed, and Captain Mitchell and Lieutenants Hunter, Lawler, and Collice, of the Thirty-fifth Alabama regiment, were severely wounded, bravely leading, and by their example inspiring their men with their own unquailing courage. In a few seconds I here lost over a hundred men and officers. To have halted or hesitated would have brought certain destruction upon my command. I ordered bayonets fixed and a charge made upon the battery. The order was obeyed with cheers and yells, and by making a detour to the left, to avoid the deep cut in the railroad, the Ninth Arkansas was soon in possession of the enemy's strong position (we had assaulted and taken one fine gun which the enemy was unable to get off), closely followed by the Thirty-fifth Alabama, under Colonel Crump. After advancing some three hundred yards down the railroad, I halted and formed my men and marched again to the south side of the railroad, and remained in position until a fort and large camp in front of us was evacuated, in consequence of a most determined attack by a portion of General Price's command, on their rear. Late in the evening I was ordered forward, and bivouacked in line of battle in the midst of the forts and camps of the enemy, and inside of an abattis which extended entirely around their exterior line of defence. On the morning of Saturday, the fourth, the whole division advanced in line of battle towards the fortifications of the enemy on College Hill; General Villepigue on the left, General Bowen on the right, in front, and my own brigade following close in the rear, as a reserve, to support either or both as occasion might require. When within two or three hundred yards of several forts behind which long lines of infantry behind formidable looking breastworks, with abattis again in front, were plainly visible. The enemy opened a most rapid fire from their artillery, which my entire command sustained with the most gratifying steadiness, not an officer or man leaving his position or exhibiting, so far as I could perceive, the least discomposure. About nine and a half o'clock I moved my brigade to the front and left of the advance line occupied by General Bowen, who was ordered far to the right, and General Villepigue was withdrawn to reinforce a portion of General Price's line, which, after the most stubborn and heroic resistance to greatly superior numbers, of what was afterwards known to be fresh troops, was wavering. In a very short time it was announced by the Major-General commanding, that our friends on the left had been compelled to give way and abandon the field, and I was ordered to fall back to the position first taken from the enemy, near where the road from Chewalla to Corinth crosses the railroad, and there form line of battle in the most advantageous position to cover the retreat of our army. In perfect order, but as quickly as possible, I selected a line of great strength, with skirmishers displayed on a line a mile in extent and three-quarters of a mile in advance of my main line, from which I could repel an advance of the enemy upon the two roads, and the railroad leading to Corinth, and awaited the withdrawal of our forces. Remaining exactly forty minutes after Colonel Riley passed, I moved my brigade in the direction taken by our retreating columns until I came to the field hospital, where I found eight wounded soldiers, only three of whom were willing to be moved. Two of them I had carried beyond the reach of the enemy on litters, the third was able to ride on a caisson. I then continued my march without again confronting the enemy during the entire retreat. The good conduct of officers and men in performing the responsible duty of rear guard to a retreating army, cannot be too highly commended. There was not a semblance of panic or disorder, or even unusual excitement during the entire retreat, upon which my brigade marched in better order and with more deliberation than it had done at all before, or has done since. The signal good conduct which they displayed on the field of battle or in the face of dangers and death, and the fortitude and constancy with which they sustained themselves afterwards under privations and hardships and sufferings more trying to the soldier than the most appalling dangers, are, I trust, only an earnest to the country of what she may expect from them in the future. In conclusion, it is only necessary to say of the Third Kentucky, that Colonel Thompson, and the men and officers under him, fully sustained the reputation they had won on other fields. The only regret of Colonel Crosslove and his men, of the Seventh Kentucky, when ordered to the support of the Third, was that this regiment stood so little in need of it. The conduct of the Thirty-fifth Alabama, commanded by Captain Ashford, though deprived by illness of their accomplished Colonel (Robertson), could not have been improved by the presence of any officer. The Fourth Alabama battalion, under Major Gibson, deployed as skirmishers, performed well the part allotted to them. The Ninth Arkansas, under Colonel Dunlop, who was conspicuous for the activity and gallantry displayed in keeping his men in line, and moving steadily forward in the face of the deadly fire of the enemy's artillery, won the applause and admiration of all who witnessed its conduct. Its colors were borne by their intrepid Sergeant, John M. Pearce, up wards and onwards without faltering during the hottest of the fire, while his comrades were falling thick and fast around him. When all behaved so well, the commanding General will not hazard injustice by mentioning those who particularly attracted
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.