previous next

[702] hundred and fifty partisan rangers, detached on scouting and outpost service.

On the night of the fourth of August this division proceeded from Corinth bridge, marching left in front; Semmes' light battery in the rear of left battalion Fourth Louisiana volunteers, a detachment commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Shields; Thirtieth Louisiana volunteers, consisting of one company from his regiment, commanded by Captain Boyle; one company partisan rangers, commanded by Captain Anuker; one company mounted rangers and a section of Semmes' battery, under Lieutenant Fauntleroy, had preceded the march of the division, having left camp at four and a half P. M. to operate on the Plank road leading from Baton Rouge to Clinton, on our extreme right. The head of the division column, preceded by a company of mounted rangers and advanced guard, reached Ward's Creek bridge, on the Greenwell Springs and Baton Rouge road, about three o'clock A. M., where a temporary halt was called preparatory to the formation of the division line of battle. During this halt, while the advance was driving in the enemy's pickets, some stragglers from the column were mistaken for the enemy's pickets and fired on. The mistake being mutual, in the darkness, a few shots were exchanged, unfortunately disabling General Helm and killing Lieutenant Todd. This necessarily caused some confusion. Order, however, was soon restored, and the column marched to the point whence the deployment was to commence. The line was formed a little before daylight. Colonel Thompson's brigade (the First), with the right resting near the Greenwell Spring road, Colonel Allen's brigade (the Second) on the left, his left extending through a wood and resting on a large field. Semmes' battery (four pieces) in the centre, occupying the space between the two brigades; a squadron of cavalry, under command of Captain Augustus Scott, was ordered to proceed to the extreme left of the line to observe and endeavor to prevent any attempt to outflank us in that direction. At a little after daylight, during the prevalence of a thick fog, the order was given to advance. The line proceeded but a few hundred yards before it encountered a brisk fire from the enemy's skirmishers, strongly posted on our extreme right, in some houses surrounded by trees and picket fences. Almost simultaneously a battery of the enemy opened on our line from the same direction. Semmes' battery was ordered forward to our indicated position, to drive off the skirmishers and silence the enemy's battery, and the whole line moved rapidly forward firing and cheering. The effect was instantaneous. The enemy's skirmishers fled, and his battery was compelled to change position and seek shelter under the guns of the arsenal to prevent being captured, where it remained, continuing to fire on our advancing line. Semmes' battery took position on the right of the division, to keep up the engagement with the battery of the enemy. Colonel Thompson's brigade continued to advance, under an occasional fire, across an open field and through some corn-fields, just beyond which they encountered a heavy fire from the enemy, strongly posted in a wood. Here the contest was warmly maintained on both sides for a considerable time, during which the First division succeeded in entering a regimental camp on our right. The enemy were finally driven back into and through another camp immediately in our front. The enemy at this period were strongly reinforced, and a heavy battery a little to the left of the centre opened an oblique fire on both brigades. About the same time the enemy attempted to break our centre, by pushing a column between the two brigades. This movement being discovered Semmes' battery was ordered forward and opened on this column at short range, with grape and canister with marked effect, for a few rapid discharges scattered the enemy and drove him back in confusion. A similar attempt was made on the right of the division, which was defeated with equal success by a timely and well-directed fire from the Thirty-fifth Alabama and Sixth Kentucky regiments. The two brigades, which, from the nature of the ground, had become separated, were ordered, in advancing, to gain ground, to the right and left respectively, in order to subject the enemy's position in front to a converging fire. In executing this movement the First brigade met a portion of the First division falling back in some disorder. Colonel Thompson halted and was attempting to reform them when he was informed by a mounted officer that the order was for the whole line to fall back. In obedience to this supposed order he fell back a short distance, but soon reformed his line and charged the enemy under a galling fire. Unfortunately, while leading his men in this charge, Colonel Thompson fell, severely wounded, and was borne from the field, and about the same time Colonel Allen also fell, dangerously wounded, while leading, with unsurpassed gallantry, his brigade against a battery of the enemy. These circumstances prevented the further prosecution of this movement. About this time the Major-General commanding arriving upon this part of the field, directed the final charge upon the enemy which drove him in confusion through his last regimental encampment to the river under the protection of his gunboats. His camps, containing a large quantity of personal property, commissary stores, and clothing, were destroyed. Finding it fruitless to remain longer under the fire of the gunboats, and disappointed in the expected co-operation of the Arkansas, the exhausted troops were withdrawn in good order to the suburbs of the town; the Seventh Kentucky regiment and a section of Semmes' artillery being left on the field to protect the collection of the stragglers and wounded, which was thoroughly accomplished. Colonel Allen's brigade, on the left, moved forward through a wood and into some corn-fields. They soon encountered the enemy in superior force, protected by houses and fences. They successively

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)
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.
J. O. Semmes (7)
George W. Thompson (4)
H. W. Allen (3)
Rutherford P. Todd (1)
Tom Shields (1)
Augustus Scott (1)
B. H. Helm (1)
T. K. Fauntleroy (1)
Roger T. Boyle (1)
Anuker (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.
August 4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: