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The battle of Farmington, Tennessee--report of General Daniel Ruggles.

headquarters Ruggles' division, army of Mississippi, Corinth, Mississippi, May 16th, 1862.
Major G. G. Garner, Assistant Adjutant-General:
Sir — I have the honor to report, for the information of the Commanding-General of the forces, that in obedience to instructions my division marched on the morning of the 9th of May along the lower road leading to Farmington, some four miles and a half distant, and reached there about 10 o'clock A. M., having encountered some small scouts of the enemy.1 Colonel McCullock, with about two hundred Arkansas cavalry, joined me some two miles distant from the trenches, and one-half of his force was thrown out as flankers to the right and left and the remainder in the advance.

In the vicinity of the town we discovered a body of the enemy's cavalry and dispersed it by a section of Captain Ducatel's guns of the Orleans Guards battery.2 Possession was immediately taken of the village of Farmington, where the enemy had established a telegraph station, and, as we subsequently learned, the Assistant Secretary of War of the Federal Government had just been engaged with it in urging the advance of the Federal troops. The brigades of my division advanced in separate columns in readiness to deploy into line of battle. Finding masses of the enemy apparently in line of battle some distance in front, I directed sections of Hodgson's, Ducatel's and Hoxton's batteries to open fire upon them, awaiting in the meantime the advance of General Van Dorn's division on my right. Having communicated with General Trapier's division, which had already arrived on my left, I then deployed the columns into line of battle — holding the Fourth brigade in [331] reserve — and advanced against the enemy, encountering his first fire near the road leading to the left of Farmington. The enemy was sheltered by the high bank along the roadside and in a narrow skirt of timber bordering the road on the left in which his position was partially taken.

Just previous to the opening of his fire, I had directed the three batteries into action at a point in advance, calculated to sweep the forest and more elevated ground beyond. The march of my division was mainly through an open field, in which exposed position our troops received the enemy's opening fire when about passing the batteries, mainly directed against the left of Walker's, the entire front of Anderson's and Gober's brigades.

At this time Robertson's battery of General Trapier's division, which had just opened fire on the enemy on our left, ceased firing at my request, as our lines came under the range of his guns, and advanced to a position I indicated, where he swept the open ground beyond the skirt of timber already mentioned.3 The contest of our infantry with the enemy was for the space of half an hour sharp and spirited, until we drove them before us to another skirt of timber and underbrush, distant some quarter of a mile beyond an open field. After having cleared the enemy from the forest, and driven him from the open field in front, the division pursued him until his entire force had fled and retreated across the large creek, where the pursuit was called off and the bridge burned, and was then ordered to fall back on Farmington, and thence to return to its encampment within the lines at Corinth.4

Brigadier-General J. P. Anderson speaks in terms of special commendation of the conduct of the First brigade, specifying the Confederate Guards of Louisiana and the Florida battalion, commanded [332] by Lieutenant-Colonel Clack; the Twenty-eighth regiment. Louisiana volunteers, Colonel Fisk, and also of the Thirty-seventh Mississippi volunteers, during a brief period when under his observation.

The Second brigade, Major D. Gober commanding, participated to a small extent in the action and behaved in a spirited manner, advancing with the line, without however encountering any great force of the enemy.

Brigadier-General S. M. Walker, commanding the First brigade, speaks in high terms of the conduct of the Twentieth regiment Louisiana volunteers, Colonel Richard, and Thirty-seventh regiment Mississippi volunteers, Colonel Benton; also of Lieutenant-Colonel Gerard, commanding Thirteenth regiment Louisiana volunteers, for making a gallant dash at the enemy with his regiment; also of Lieutenant Morgan, Thirty-seventh Mississippi volunteers, who continued to lead his company although wounded.

Colonel Fagan, commanding the Fourth brigade, speaks in high terms of the bearing of the First Arkansas and Second Tennessee, composing his command, and a section of Captain Ketchum's battery attached to his brigade.

Captain Hoxton, with two of James' rifled guns, temporarily attached to the First brigade; Captain Hodgson, with a section of two guns of the Washington artillery, also serving with the First brigade; Captain Ducatel, with his Orleans Guards battery of six guns, and Captain Robertson, with his battery of twelve-pounder field guns, of Brigadier-General Trapier's division, serving temporarily under my orders, were all distinguished for their gallantry, as well as their men for good conduct on the field.

I respectfully refer to the reports of commanders of brigades, and to those of subordinate commanders, for full details of the services promptly and gallantly rendered by the division I have the honor to command.

The accompanying return of casualties will show that our loss in killed and wounded was by no means inconsiderable — amounting to one hundred and nineteen.

I am greatly indebted to Captain R. M. Hooe, Assistant Adjutant-General; Major F. C. Tackarie, Twenty-fifth regiment Louisiana volunteers, Assistant Inspector-General; Lieutenants H. H. Price and A. B. de Samuels, on special service, and Dr. Hereford, Chief Surgeon of division, who was indefatigable in the performance of his appropriate duties — for their services on the field. [333]

I am also under obligations for services voluntarily rendered by Captain McMahan, and also Captain Laster, late of Tennessee cavalry, during the engagement.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Daniel Ruggles, Brigadier-General. Official copy: R. M. Hooe, Assistant Adjutant-General.

1 General Bragg, the commander of the corps to which my division belonged, joined me soon after commencing the march, and informed me that my division was to be supported on the right by General Van Dorn with his forces, among others, comprising General Price's division, and that he had been instructed to march forward with expedition and to communicate with me as soon as his forces could be aligned on my division, and recommended that I should march slowly until notified that this object had been attained.

General Bragg notified me at the same time that General Trapier, with General Wither's division, was marching forward to support my division on my left, and that he had been directed to communicate with me and to conform to my directions.

2 These guns were brought into the action about half a mile from the town and before General Van Dorn notified his arrival, and with design of bringing on an engagement with the enemy's advance, to hold it upon the field, and to gain time for General Van Dorn to advance to my support on my right.

3 Captain Robertson, from his new position, with his splendid battery of twelve-pounder Napoleon guns, repulsed a strong cavalry charge, and swept the open field beyond the skirt of timbers most effectively, and thus made a timely and telling diversion in favor of my troops, then engaged in a fierce and deadly contest.


The large creek here referred to was margined by an impassible quagmire. General Van Dorn's unexpected delay in advancing prevented the complete realization of our plan of battle. This was attributable to obstructions along his line of march. It was expected that his force would have advanced rapidly and swept around toward the centre, cutting off the enemy's retreat across the bridge over the creek. Subsequently I was informed that General Pope commanded the Federal forces — comprising his corps — engaged in this battle, and that he had sent a telegram from the field to Mr. Lincoln, the Federal Executive, that he had in this engagement taken 20,000 Rebel prisoners.

Our forces captured a considerable amount of camp equipage, arms and equipments while driving the enemy from the field. At the close of the action General Bragg said, as we met on the field, addressing me, “General, the honors of the field are yours.”

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