Colonel Shafter was ordered to carry the rifle-pits, which he did handsomely, killing, wounding, capturing, or driving away the enemy from his front. He pushed forward until he reached the N. and C. R. R., when he was met by a destructive fire at short range, from a battery planted on the opposite side of a deep cut made by railroad. Seeing that Colonel Shafter had carried the line in his front, and that the enemy still held their position on his right, I ordered up to his support the reserve of Colonel Grosvenor. This command carried a portion of the line, but was quickly compelled to retire with severe loss, by reason of musketry fired on its right flank. What I had thought to be a mere curtain, proved to be a rude but strong lunette, with ditch in front and heavy head logs on top of parapet, forming a very safe cover for Granberry's brigade, which occupied it About the time of the repulse of Colonel Grosvenor, Colonel Shafter was compelled to withdraw his line from the range of the artillery. The entire command was then withdrawn by order of General Steedman, and moved to the north of Raine's house. A strong skirmish line connecting on the right at the railroad with Colonel Thompson's command, advanced very close to the enemy's line. Sharp-shooters loopholed a dwelling-house and outbuildings, and silenced the enemy. Thus the day wore away. The General's purpose, as communicated to me the night previous, had been accomplished. The enemy had been deceived, and in expectation of a real advance upon the right, had detained his troops there, while his left was being disastrously driven back. The troops under my command have, as a whole, behaved well, and if they failed to accomplish all I expected, it was my fault, not theirs. I was deceived as to the character of the work built by the enemy on the fourteenth. Could I have known the exact nature of the work, the troops would have carried it by a direct assault from the north side, with perhaps less loss than was sustained. During the night of the fifteenth the enemy retired from our front. On the sixteenth my command, by order of General Steedman, crossed the N. and C. railroad, the Nolensvllle Pike and the Tennessee and Alabama railroad, skirmishing with and driving the enemy. At an early hour in the afternoon the command joined the left of Colonel Thompson, and confronted Overton Hill. Colonel Grosvenor was ordered to join the left of Second colored brigade and conform to its movements. He thus took part in the first assault upon Overton Hill. Colonel Shafter, with Seventeenth, was in echelon in rear of Grosvenor. Lieutenant-Colonel Corbin, with Fourteenth, was directed to support and . protect the artillery. Colonel Johnson, Forty-fourth, was directed to guard the left. Captain Osborn, Twentieth Indiana battery, and Captain Aylshires, Eighteenth Ohio battery, kept up an incessant fire upon the enemy, and did excellent work. Subsequently the Fourteenth United States colored infantry was deployed as skirmishers in front of the artillery and directly facing the enemy's works, where they kept and received a brisk fire. When the first assault upon the hill failed, the assaulting column retired in disorder, passing through my skirmish line without shaking it. At one time I thought, and so reported, that the line was being forced back, but it was not true. The line remained-did its work amid the confusion that followed the repulse. When the Sixty-eighth Indiana struck this line they asked what regiment (?); being answered Fourteenth, they cried: “bully for you, we'll stay with you,” and they did. I assisted Colonel Thompson in re-forming his broken lines. When the finallassault was being made upon Overton Hill, the forces under me moved forward and joined in the pursuit of the enemy, which followed as far as Franklin, Tennessee. Subsequently the First colored brigade, as part of Second provisional division, accompanied the expedition towards Tuscumbia, Alabama, going as far as Leighton, Alabama. On its return it joined General Cruft's forces in the fruitless chase after General Lyon's rebel cavalry. The brigade was disbanded January twelve, 1865. Colonel Shafter, Seventeenth, acquitted himself well; is cool and brave and a good disciplinarian. Lieutenant-Colonel Corbin, Fourteenth United States colored infantry, does not possess sufficient courage to command brave men. Captain Baker in reality commanded the Fourteenth United States colored infantry in the battle of the fifteenth and sixteenth, and acquitted himself with great credit. He is brave, cool, untiring, and deserves promotion. Lieutenant-Colonel Grosvenor obeyed every order with promptness, and is a good soldier. To each member of my staff, Lieutenants Cleland and Hall, Forty-fourth United States colored infantry; Wadsworth and Dickman, Sixteenth United States colored infantry, and Wyrill, Fourteenth United States colored infantry, I am indebted for the promptness with which they carried out my desires, exposing themselves cheerfully to necessary danger. The wounded of the First colored brigade were faithfully cared for by Surgeon Clements, Seventeenth United States colored infantry; Surgeon Stony, Forty-fourth United States colored infantry, and Assistant-Surgeon Oleson, Fourteenth United States colored infantry. I have as yet received no reports from battalion commanders, and no lists of casualties. These will be forwarded as soon as received. I am, Major, Very respectfully Your obedient servant,
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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.