command of this battalion. With serious misgivings in his capacity in this emergency, and sorrow felt at the necessity, he arrived to do his best in seconding the gallant fearlessness and conspicuous example of the commanding officer, to save his troops from a panic and to rally them into line. His efforts were supported by the daring courage of Lieutenant Barrow, commanding Captain Chinn's company, by the energy of Lieutenant Burnett, Captain Bynum's company, and by the cool and noble example of Lieutenant Brown, of the same company. A partial success only rewarded their exertions. We were saved a panic, but the annoying fire from the enemy's sharpshooters left them no other alternative but to fall back across the field to the shelter of the woods. Here another effort was made to rally the brigade into line, now massed confusedly. The commanding officer employed every incentive and expedient that courage could suggest, but with haggard results. The men made no response to his appeals. They were not cowed or panic-stricken; they were simply exhausted, hopelessly exhausted, and seemed to be staggering under the half of that last ounce which breaks the camel's back of endurance. Having been under arms for more than sixteen hours; having neither supper, breakfast, nor sleep; having marched over twelve miles, and having gone through four hours fighting, is it a matter of surprise or for blame that they paid but little heed to the rallying cries of their leaders? Their conduct was, however, only in accordance with the example of troops who had been under fire, and were reported veterans. Many vicissitudes of this battle must remain unnoticed. The undersigned was not called to command till a late hour, and many events, doubtless, noted by the experienced eye of Colonel Boyd, must be unchronicled because of his absence. While Colonel Boyd was in command, his promptitude and courage ably sustained the policy of Colonel Allen. His Adjutant, Lieutenant Breeden, was conspicuous for daring devotion to duty throughout the trials of the day. The men generally behaved with coolness and courage. Upon returning to headquarters, near Ward's Creek bridge, the undersigned was relieved of his command by Lieutenant Barrow. I am, sir, very respectfully, Your obedient servant,
Report of Captain O. T. Semmes.
in camp, near Baton Rouge, August 8, 1862.Sir: I was ordered to take part in the action of the fifth instant, which I did. My men behaved well. The officers, Lieutenants J. T. M. Barnes and J. A. West, acted with great coolness and bravery, at times firing their pieces personally. Lieutenant T. F. Fauntleroy was detached with a section, and I did not see him during the action. The casualties were five men killed, five severely wounded, five slightly wounded; nine horses killed, two badly wounded, two missing; one caisson exploded by an enemy's shell, the rear carriage of another rendered worthless, and left on the field. Four sets of harness lost. I fired two hundred rounds of smooth bore six-pounder ammunition, and one hundred and twenty rounds of six-pounder rifled. Dr. Lewis, A. S., C. S. A., rendered efficient service to my wounded on the field. I am, sir, respectfully,
O. T. Semmes, Captain, commanding C. S. Light Battery.At 4 1/2 o'clock P. M. of the fifth instant, I took position between Colonel Allen's and Colonel Thompson's brigades, filling a vacancy of some eighty yards, moved forward with the infantry line half a mile, opened fire on an enemy's battery, driving them back, moved to the right of the Second division, General Ruggles commanding, when I opened on a battery with effect, at about two hundred and fifty yards, then occupied my first position, opening on a column of infantry, doing much execution; was ordered to the support of Colonel Allen's brigade. I took position on its right and silenced a battery. This was my last firing, after which I rejoined the main forces.
O. T. S.
Return of Casualties in the Second Division.
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