enemy kept up a continuous volley of musketry, with, however, but little effect — most of the balls passing over us. I now ordered the entire command to advance and occupy the crest of the hill, which was executed with a coolness and steadiness that would have done honor to soldiers of a hundred battles. That heroic band of less than fifteen hundred in number, marched up the hill, loading and firing as they moved, gaining inch by inch on an enemy at least four times their number. For one long hour this point was hotly contested by the enemy, and many gallant officers and brave men fell in the faithful discharge of their duty; among whom was the lamented and daring Lieutenant-Colonel Clough of the Seventh Texas, together with a number of company officers, whose names are mentioned in the list of killed and wounded. At this moment I was informed by an Adjutant that the command was running short of ammunition. I immediately despatched an aid, Captain Ryan, to General Pillow for reinforcements, and at the same time ordered Colonel Gregg to move his regiment further to the right to prevent a flank movement I discovered the enemy were attempting to make, and the remainder of my command to charge the enemy's lines, which movements were executed with a spirit and determination that insured success. The enemy's lines gave way, and the rattle of musketry was drowned by the shouts of victory that rose along the lines of men conscious of superiority and right. The enemy, however, again rallied and formed in line of battle a few hundred yards in rear of their first position and in rear of four pieces of artillery (of Swartz's battery). The line of my brigade, in the charge over the hills and in passing through the enemy's camp, having become somewhat broken, I ordered the commandant to halt and rectify their alignment, which was quickly done; and being now informed by Captain Ryan that the Fifty-sixth Virginia regiment was on my left, I again ordered an advance, which was promptly obeyed by all; and soon the enemy was again driven from his position, and four pieces of Swartz's battery in our possession. The enemy continued to fall back, contesting the crest of every hill, until we had driven them over one and a half miles, and had possession of the ground occupied by the left of McClernand's and Wallace's division of the Federal army. The enemy had disappeared behind the crests of a range of hills about half a mile in our front, and in the direction of their transports. At this point I was ordered to halt my command and await further orders. In the meantime the brigade was furnished with ammunition (chiefly gathered from the slain of the enemy), the lines rectified, and the command brought to a rest; in which position we remained for a considerable time, until orders came for us to march inside the rifle-pits, which order was obeyed without the fire of a gun or even a sight of the foe, unless he was wounded or a prisoner. I had not fully occupied my position in the rifle-pits when an order came to me to move at double-quick to the right of our line. The men were again ordered into line, and moved in the direction indicated, but before arriving at the specified point another order was received to return. Thus ended the battle of February fifteenth, 1862, so far as the brigade I commanded participated. The number killed and wounded in each regiment, as per Adjutants' reports is as follows:
Making a total of 286 killed and wounded out of 1494 officers and men. I respectfully refer you to documents for the names of the killed and wounded of the different regiments.
I cannot call especial attention to one of the field officers under my command without doing injustice to others.
Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, assisted by Captains Kennedy and Wells, of the Third Mississippi; Lieutenant-Colonel Lyon, assisted by Major Henry of the Eighth Kentucky; Colonel Gregg, Lieutenant-Colonel Clough, and Major Granbury of the Seventh Texas; Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton and Major Johnston, of the First Mississippi, all won for themselves the confidence of their commands, and are entitled to the highest commendation of their countrymen.
Captain R. B. Ryan and Sergeant-Major T. H. Wilson acted as my aids, and discharged their duty gallantly.
It would give me much pleasure to mention the names of company officers who distinguished themselves for efficiency and gallantry, but their conduct will be made known by their respective regimental commanders.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
|men and officers.||killed.||wounded.|
|Third Mississippi regiment||546||5||46|
|Eighth Kentucky regiment||312||27||72|
|Seventh Texas regiment||305||20||39|
|First Mississippi regiment||331||16||61|
John M. Simonton, Colonel First Mississippi regiment, commanding brigade.