for Baton Rouge. During the march I received information that the effective force of the enemy was not less than five thousand men, and that the ground was commanded by three gunboats lying in the river. My own troops having suffered severely from the effects of exposure at Vicksburg, from heavy rains, without shelter, and from the extreme heat, did not now number more than thirty-four hundred men. Under these circumstances, I determined not to make the attack unless we could be relieved from the fire of the fleet. Accordingly I telegraphed to the Major-General commanding the condition and number of the troops, and the reported strength of the enemy, but said I would undertake to capture the garrison, if the Arkansas could be sent down to clear the river, or divert the fire of the gunboats. He promptly answered that the Arkansas would be ready to co-operate at daylight on Tuesday, the fifth of August. On the afternoon of Monday, the fourth, the command having reached the Comite river, ten miles from Baton Rouge, and learning by an express messenger that the Arkansas had passed Bayou Sara in time to arrive at the proper moment, preparations were made to advance that night. The sickness had been appalling. The morning report of the fourth showing but three thousand effectives, and deducting those taken sick during the day, and the number that fell out from weakness on the night march, I did not carry into the action more than twenty-six hundred men. This estimate does not include some two hundred partisan rangers, who had performed efficient service in picketing the different roads, but who, from the nature of the ground, took no part in the action; nor about the same number of militia, hastily collected by Colonel Hardee in the neighborhood of Clinton, who, though making every effort, could not arrive in time to participate. The command left the Comite at eleven o'clock P. M., and reached the vicinity of Baton Rouge a little before daybreak on the morning of the fifth. Some hours before the main body moved, a small force of infantry, with a section of Semmes' battery, under Lieutenant Fauntleroy, the whole commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Shields, of the Thirtieth Louisiana, was sent by a circuitous route to the road leading from Clinton to Baton Rouge, with orders to drive in any pickets of the enemy, and attack his left as soon as the action should begin in front. This service was well performed, but for details reference is made to the report of Brigadier-General Ruggles, from whose command the force was detached. While waiting for daylight to make the attack, an accident occurred which deprived us of several excellent officers and enlisted men, and two pieces of artillery. The partisan rangers were placed in rear of the artillery and infantry, yet during the darkness a few of them leaked through, and riding forward encountered the enemy, causing exchange of shots between the pickets. Galloping back, they produced some confusion, which led to rapid firing for a few moments, during which Brigadier-General Helm, was dangerously injured by the fall of his horse, Lieutenant Todd, his aide-de-camp, killed, Captain Roberts, of the Fourth Kentucky, severely wounded, several enlisted men killed and wounded, and two of Captain Cobb's three guns rendered for the time wholly useless. After General Helm was disabled, Colonel Thomas H. Hunt assumed command of his brigade. Order was soon restored, and the force placed in position on the right and left of the Greenwell Springs' road. I was obliged to content myself with a single line of battle, and a small regiment of infantry, with one piece of artillery to each division as a reserve. The enemy (expecting the attack) was drawn up in two lines, or rather in one line, with strong reserves distributed at intervals. At the moment there was light enough, our troops moved rapidly forward. General Ruggles, commanding the left, brought on the engagement with four pieces of Semmes' battery, the Fourth and Thirtieth Louisiana, and Boyd's Louisiana battalion, under command of Colonel Allen, of the Fourth Louisiana, and the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Kentucky, and the Thirty-fifth Alabama, under command of Colonel Thompson, of the Third Kentucky. These troops moved forward with great impetuosity, driving the enemy before them, while their ringing cheers inspired all our little command. The Louisiana troops charged a battery and captured two pieces. At this point Colonel Allen, commanding the brigade, while pressing forward with the colors in his hand, had both legs shattered, and Lieutenant-Colonel Boyd received a severe wound. This produced confusion, and the enemy at the same moment throwing forward a strong reinforcement, the brigade was forced back in some disorder. It was rallied by the efforts of Colonel Breaux, Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter, and other officers, and although it did not further participate in the assault, it maintained its position under a fire from the gunboats and land batteries of the enemy. During this time, Thompson's brigade, which composed the right of Ruggles' division, was behaving with great gallantry, often driving back superior forces, and towards the close of the action took part in the final struggle from a position immediately on the left of the First division. Colonel Thompson,being severely wounded in a charge, the command devolved on Colonel Robertson, of the Thirty-fifth Alabama, whose conduct fully justified the confidence of his troops. The Louisiana battery, Captain Semmes,was admirably handled throughout. The First division, under General Clark, being the Second brigade, composed of the Fourth and Fifth Kentucky, Thirty-first Mississippi, Thirty-first and Fourth Alabama, commanded by Colonel Hunt, of the Fifth Kentucky, and the Fourth brigade, composed of the Fifteenth and Twenty-second Mississippi, and the Nineteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-eighth, and Forty-fifth Tennessee, consolidated into one
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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