report. About the time, or immediately after the repulse of the Second division, a portion of our brigade, of which the Thirty-first Mississippi regiment was a part, under the command of Colonel Hunt, of the Fifth Kentucky, was ordered forward through several corn-fields, in which the enemy was discovered by my skirmishers, thrown out for that purpose, towards the second encampment, to which we approached within two hundred yards or less, driving constantly the enemy before us, when a terrific fire from the enemy in the direction of the second encampment checked our advance, and where well-nigh all of my casualties occurred. At this point we were ordered to fall back, by Colonel Hunt, and the retreat had hardly begun when Colonel Hunt was wounded and taken off the field. Here I attempted to rally my regiment, but the confusion had become so general that I found it impossible to do so. We then fell back to the ravine in advance of the first encampment, and formed under the cover of the ravine. General Clark, commanding division, came up at this juncture. I told him that we were without a brigade commander, Colonel H. having been wounded and requested him to assign some one to the command of the brigade, Colonel Edwards, of the Thirty-first Alabama, having lost his horse, and expressing an unwillingness to assume the command. General C. then left, and very soon Major Buckner as I was informed, took the command, and ordered us to march by the left flank in the direction of the enemy's second encampment, and having fairly gotten us in a position to advance, ordered us forward. The command was instantly obeyed, and the brigade, with the exception of the two regiments on the right, was soon engaged with the enemy. My regiment was lying down firing, with very little damage to themselves, and gradually approaching the encampment, when to our surprise we observed the right of our brigade falling back in disorder. I have no idea who gave the command, as I was on the extreme left. I then ordered my regiment to fall back, which it did, in confusion, to the cut in the road. At this time the regiments held in reserve were carried forward by General Clark, and we rallied again in the road under the direction of Major Buckner. We were a second time ordered to forward, and this time there was no halting or falling back. We advanced at a double-quick to within seventy-five yards of the encampment, fired, and charged bayonets, when the enemy began to give way, and finally ended in a rout. We were entering the encampment when we were ordered to halt, by Major B., and formed upon the color-line of the second encampment. We remained in this position some five minutes or more, when the same offier called “attention,” gave the command, “about face, forward, march,” the whole line marching in admirable order. Respectfully submitted,
H. E. Topp, Major, commanding Thirty-first Mississippi Volunteers.
Report of Major J. C. Wickliffe.
headquarters Fifth Kentucky regiment, camp near Comite River, Louisiana, August 7, 1862.Sir: I have the honor of submitting to you the following report of the part taken by the Fifth Kentucky regiment in the action of the fifth instant, at Baton Rouge. The Fifth Kentucky, with the commander of the brigade, was placed in line of battle early on the morning of the fifth of August. The line was advanced towards Baton Rouge steadily. In obedience to an order of my brigade commander, my regiment was held as a support to the battery attached to this brigade, where it remained until I received an order in person from Major-General Breckinridge to post one company, as pickets, to the right and at some distance from the arsenal. In obedience to this order, I placed Captain Gillum, with his company, consisting of one lieutenant, four sergeants, one corporal and twenty-four men, upon the ground designated by the General, and in obedience to another order from him, left Captain Gillum there, when my command was ordered to join the brigade and engage the enemy in their camps. Captain Gillum remained at his post until ordered away, when the brigade retired to the point where the line of battle was first formed. Thus this company was prevented from engaging in the battle, and this will account why none were killed or wounded in company A, of this regiment. When ordered by Major-General Breckinridge to join the brigade to which my regiment is attached, I was placed on the left of the Fourth Kentucky regiment, which was the first regiment in the brigade. Immediately after this, an order from you was given to advance. My command did so, and until the fire was drawn from the enemy, who were secreted in and about the tents of the third and last encampment. The fire was immediately returned by the men under my command. It continued warm and heavy for about twenty or twenty-five minutes, our line, as far as I could see, advancing very little, but steadily, and the enemy as slowly retreating. At this time an order was given by Brigadier-General Clark, commanding the division, to fall back to a small ravine a short distance in the rear, and re-form, which was executed in good order. In a few moments we were again ordered to advance, and did so, never halting until the enemy had been driven from the last of their encampments. After the brigade line had been formed, in obedience to an order from you, we retired slowly and in good order. My command numbered two hundred and twenty-two, rank and file. From this deduct Company A, numbering thirty-one officers and men, and seven detailed to carry off the wounded, thus reducing the number of men actually engaged in the fight, under my command, to one hundred and eighty-four men. The following is a list of the casualties which occurred in my regiment: In Company A, none.