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Doc. 24.-battle of Farmington, Miss.

General Pope's report.

near Farmington, May 9--P. M.
To Major-General Halleck:
the enemy, twenty thousand strong, drove in our pickets beyond Farmington, and advanced upon the brigade occupying the further side of the creek in front of my camp. The brigade held on for five hours, until finding them heavily pressed in front and on the flank, and that I could not sustain them without passing the creek with my whole force, which would have been contrary to your orders, and would have drawn on a general engagement, I withdrew them to this side in good order. The conduct of the troops was excellent, and the withdrawal was made by them very reluctantly.

The enemy made a demonstration to cross, but abandoned the movement. Our loss is considerable, though I cannot yet tell how great. The enemy, being much exposed, suffered very severely-one of his batteries being completely disabled, and his infantry line having been driven back several times. My command are eager for the advance.


John Pope, Major-General.

Official report of Colonel Hatch.

camp near Farmington, May 10.
Lieutenant Marden, A. A.G. Brigade:
I had the honor to report, complying with orders to report, with Second regiment to Gen. Granger. Did so, receiving instructions from Gen. Pope to report to General commanding the advance. I reported at twelve o'clock to Gen. Palmer, who ordered me to throw out two companies to the left of the Farmington road, and hold the balance of command in reserve. Our infantry, who had held the field above us, being driven in to the brow of the hill, Gen. Paine ordered the regiment to charge the enemy's batteries. Moving the column to the top of the hill, ordered Major Kuhen, with companies H, G, and C, of the Second battalion, and Major Love, with the Third battalion, to charge the batteries on our right; Major Hepburn those on our left, in echelon of squadrons, deploying the columns to the right and left.

When we passed the infantry columns we attacked their skirmishers and supports, driving them in, killing and wounding some. No effect was produced on the battery on our left. Near the main Farmington road the battery and supports were protected by a rail fence. Major Kuhen gallantly attacked the battery near the building known as the cotton-mill, company F, Lieut. Reilley, alone attacking two guns in battery on our extreme right. The centre battery was fairly carried, the enemy limbering up his guns without taking them off the field.

Finding our horses badly blown for a long charge over rough ground, going a distance of twelve hundred yards, and the infantry in great force, ordered all companies on the right to retreat to the right and rear, forming on the swamp road, and those on the left, to then join their command.

The conduct of men and officers was in every respect commendatory. Captains Lundy and Egbert, Lieutenants Owen, Horton, Suetger, all had horses killed under them. There were about four hundred men in the charges. Our loss will scarcely exceed fifty killed and wounded; fifty horses, as many wounded and unserviceable.

Edward Hatch, Lieut.-Col. Commanding Second Iowa Cavalry.

Cincinnati Commercial account.

camp near Farmington, Miss., May 10, 1862.
Gen. Pope's little army have been chafing and edging up toward the enemy for ten days, several miles in advance of the main column. It is rather a remarkable fact that our army should have come from Fort Pillow all the way to this place, and then be ready for action so much in advance of the main army — which was said to be ready before we left the Mississippi River.

On the eighth we made an armed reconnaissance in force upon the enemy, drove in his pickets, and took a peep at the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and some of the huge guns planted for its protection. We took headquarters in Farmington, run our telegraph wires to that ancient city of now one inhabitant — the town all finished fifty years ago — and spent rather a pleasant day in the reconnoitre. Our loss was small — but two killed and four wounded. We, however, met with the severe loss of our friend, Dr. E. W. Thrall, surgeon of the Twenty-seventh Ohio regiment, who was captured by the enemy while moving a short distance to the rear for his ambulances. The woods were very dense, and cavalrymen, it appears, dropped in behind the column, and were seen after our men had passed. Dr. Thrall is much missed by us all, and we hope soon to hear from and release him from his bondage. At dusk we drew in our columns and left pickets stationed at Farmington, while the whole army fell back three miles to the old camp. The next morning our telegraph operator sent us a hasty despatch and cut his machine loose, and retired with our pickets before a line of battle extending over a distance of two miles. From time to time he hooked on to the wire and told us of the progress of the rebels. One brigade and one battery, which remained over the creek which bounds our camp southward, ready to aid the pickets, gave them a warm reception, but owing [118] to a despatch from Gen. Halleck, requesting that no general engagement should be brought on, Gen. Paine was ordered to fall back over the stream when pressed too hard. He fought the whole command of the enemy, numbering from twenty-five to thirty thousand men, for four hours, then fell back in good order.

Gen. Paine and Gen. Palmer both conducted the affair with credit to themselves, and their men behaved admirably. Our men were greatly in hopes that the enemy would push on toward our camp over the creek, where the main force was silently awaiting their approach. But, perhaps, thinking they had seen enough of glory, they wisely concluded not to carry out their boast (as told us by deserters) of driving us into the Tennessee River.

Knowing we were at Farmington the night before, they evidently expected to flank us and cut us off from the main army, and get up a little private fight à la Shiloh. But Gen. Pope's headquarters is not ten miles from camp, and faithful sentinels are far enough in advance to allow us to coolly get ready in line of battle, and then take a good lunch before they arrive, which is slightly different from shooting down men with trowsers in one hand and musket unloaded in the other. (If the people of Ohio do not investigate the cause of disgrace which has been tried to be fastened upon her brave soldiers, she is unworthy of them.) But the enemy fell back, and at dusk, leaving our pickets strong, our poor tired boys fell back to their tents and slept till three o'clock this morning, when they took position and were ready for an expected attack at daylight. Our loss was twenty-one killed, one hundred and forty wounded, and ten missing.

The enemy's loss in both of our engagements, if we can believe the deserters, has been very severe. One deserter to-day informs us that in his regiment ten were killed and ninety wounded. As they stood so much thicker on the ground, it is reasonable to suppose that their loss was heavier than our own.

Lieut.-Col. Miles, of the Forty-seventh Illinois, was killed. There was but few casualties in the Ohio brigade, as it was held in reserve at the batteries. Most of the killed and wounded were in the Iowa cavalry and Illinois infantry, and Hescock's battery. The last-named battery was handled most beautifully.

To-day Gen. Nelson is closing up the Four Mile Gap, and soon the word will be “forward.” The rebels have greatly the advantage by their knowledge of the country, as well as in position and superiority in numbers. The country is very much broken, with many running streams between the hills, on either side of which there are marshes from fifty yards to half a mile in width, which are impassable to horses and wagons. We have to make our roads as we proceed forward. Every man in our army knows all the minutiae about building corduroy roads, and the necessity of keeping on them when they are built.

To-day we took our wounded aboard the boats for St. Louis. Most of their wounds are from Minie balls, but little damage having been done by the enemy's artillery.

The position of the enemy at Corinth is a very strong one. The space in front has been cleared for three hundred yards, and then there is an abattis of trees and brush for a long distance, so arranged that a charge of infantry is very difficult. Of our plans or prospects I may not write. We have men of wisdom and experience to lead us, and they have wise men as their counsellors.

Col. Scott, Assistant Secretary of War, is yet with us, and when a gun is heard is generally to be found in front. He is a thorough gentleman, in every way fitted for his position, as well by coolness as by his good common-sense, which make him a good adviser in army movements.

O. W. N.

Another account.

General Pope's division, near Farmington, May 10, 1862.
Yesterday we were treated to a battle here of considerable interest. Only the day before Gen. Pope's command made a reconnaissance towards Corinth, skirmished for several hours, and returned at night. Next morning, just as I had despatched my letter containing an account of the affair, the outer pickets gave notice of large rebel forces approaching. Instantly preparations were made to determine their full strength, hold Farmington if it could be done easily, and should that prove difficult, fall back. General Halleck had given orders to do so, and avoid bringing on any general engagement. Nearer and nearer came the firing, the enemy skirmishing with our pickets. Instantly afterward, so soon, it seemed as if they had run towards us, they were swarming around the place.

Gen. Paine, with a command of six regiments, engaged them. This was at half-past 10 A. M. Until three o'clock the fighting was continuous, both artillery and infantry taking part. Yet it was rather a great skirmish than a battle. Only a portion of Gen. Pope's command was engaged, and it fought more to make the enemy show their force and intentions than with any idea of being successful. The rebels were full twenty thousand strong, and had three batteries. The artillery firing was sometimes rapid. Our troops behaved gallantly under the galling fire they were often subjected to, and poured effective volleys among the enemy. In accordance with previous instructions, Gen. Paine's troops fell back after stubbornly disputing the enemy's advance and finding out their strength.

The Union troops fell back to their camp a mile from Farmington. Although the latter place had been occupied by Gen. Pope, it was in the manner of a picket outpost, the encampment of his army being a mile in the rear. No loss of tents or property occurred, therefore, when the town was abandoned, and as there were plenty of troops near, the place could have been held had such been the wish of Gen. Halleck. All the rebels obtained was the benefit of any knowledge their reconnoissance afforded them. The [119] number of killed, wounded, and missing of the troops engaged is about one hundred and fifty. Last night the foe retreated, and to-day our pickets again hold Farmington.

One curious feature of the advance now is that of throwing works of defence up along the whole line. The fortifications completed to-day cannot be less than twelve miles in length, extending from the extreme right to the extreme left wing. They are strongly made with logs and earth, lined by rifle-pits, and distant from Corinth six miles. Every movement is characterized by extreme caution. To-morrow the lines advance four miles, when another parallel will be constructed. In case any reverse should happen, these defences would be invaluable.

The people are doubtless surprised that their great army has not yet reached the rebel position and attacked it. The reasons of the present delay are known only to Gen. Halleck. Doubtless they are good and sufficient. Every thing here would seem to be in readiness — the roads are good, and the army as much prepared as it ever will be. All the heavy guns are safely in front, and can easily be moved any distance wished. Perhaps the Commander-in-Chief is waiting for the Gulf-fleet to occupy Memphis, or, when reaching Vicksburgh, to destroy the railroad at Jackson. Something foreign from here evidently influences him. As matters now stand, a battle may occur at any moment, yet be avoided for a week.

Our offensive movements begin to resemble those lately at Yorktown, approaching the enemy's works as if a siege was intended, and endeavoring to achieve a complete victory with as little loss of life as possible. It is more than probable the two results will be similar. In regard to efficiency, nothing more could be wished for regarding the force here. It is healthy, well armed and disciplined, and supplied as few armies have been before. If it fails to gain victory, it will be difficult to imagine any troops we possess capable of succeeding.

Richmond Dispatch account.

Hurrying forward to the scene, I found that our right wing, under command of Price and Van Dorn and Sturgis, had advanced beyond our intrenchments to Farmington, and were engaging the enemy advantageously.

To convey a more perfect idea of the affair, I should observe that on Thursday night Van Dorn had placed himself so near the Federal front, on our right, that the pickets of the two forces were only four hundred yards apart. Suddenly, at nine o'clock, three heavy guns from our intrenchments broke the stillness of the evening air, and the whole army was in commotion. The “long roll” sounded, our men marched to their respective positions, and every preparation was made for a fight. The enemy suspecting a stratagem from this unusual bustle, and not wholly certain of its meaning, at once stampeded from their position on the right, and fell back a mile or two in the rear of Farmington. The object of the signal it is of course imprudent to reveal; but when morning came it found a portion of our army in full pursuit, and the troops, one and all, fully inspired by the prospects of the approaching engagement.

At eleven o'clock our advance came up with the enemy, their front being concealed in a heavy thicket on the opposite side of an immense field of some four hundred acres. Halting a few moments to allow the confederates to form in their respective positions, a portion of Van Dorn's and Ruggles's divisions opened the ball. A Louisiana battery of six guns, under command of Felix Q. Robinson of Texas, was thrown forward in the field, and for more than one hour alone sustained the brunt of the conflict. For fully half an hour the guns remained unsupported by infantry, while musket-balls, round shot and shell were whizzing in every direction around them.

Once, and only once, the Federal regiment of cavalry came dashing down upon it like a cloud, sabres flashing and horses running like mad ; but in a moment there followed a series of flashes, and a volley of grape-shot scattered them like leaves. Over forty riders were dismounted, and the horses galloped frantically into our lines. The remainder returned discomfited, and no more was an attempt made by any portion of the Federal army to leave their covert.

Our troops, meanwhile, occupied the open field, and wherever an opportunity presented, poured a heavy fire into the ranks of the enemy.

Gen. Price had been ordered early in the day to make a detour on our extreme right, so as to get in the rear of the Federals, and entirely surround them. But, owing to the distance around, or the suddenness of the attack by Van Dorn, he was not in position in time; and the grand design failed. We, however, drove the enemy back in confusion, capturing all their knapsacks, loose clothing, and many wagon-loads of baggage. In fact, it may be said to be a total rout. They attempted to save nothing but themselves, and that they did most effectually.

More than four fifths of our army were disengaged, but were drawn up in line, awaiting the various developments of the engagement. The force of the enemy was probably not less than five thousand, and our own engaged not more than two thousand. The result of the skirmish — for such it must be termed — was the occupation of Farmington, the destruction of an important base of operations, from which the enemy intended to make demonstrations upon the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, make an attack upon our fortifications when the proper time arrives, and also complete their reconnoissances, which have thus far effectually failed. They are now compelled to attack directly in front, or not at all. They have been completely outgeneralled, and our army is in better position in every respect than it would have been without the skirmish. Our only misfortune was the failure to bag the entire opposing force, and this is due more to natural [120] obstacles than the want of strategic ability on the part of our leaders.

Our loss was slight, only some ten or twelve killed, and forty or fifty wounded. Among the latter are Major Ingram, (mortally,) and Capt. Leftwitch, both of the staff of Gen. Van Dorn.

rebel killed and wounded.

A correspondent furnishes us with the official list of the casualties in the confederate troops engaged in the skirmish at Farmington:

Twenty-fifth Louisiana.--Killed 2; wounded, 3 officers and 25 privates; 1 missing.

Eleventh Louisiana.--Killed, 1; wounded, 13 privates.

Sixteenth Louisiana.--Killed, 2; wounded, 1 officer and 12 privates.

Eighteenth Louisiana.--Killed, 1; wounded, 12 privates.

Thirty-sixth Mississippi.--Killed, 1 officer; wounded, 4 officers and 8 privates; 1 missing.

Thirteenth Louisiana.--Wounded, 9 officers and 6 privates; 1 missing.

Florida and C. G. Battery.--Wounded, 2 officers and 6 privates; 1 missing.

Thirty-seventh Mississippi.--Wounded, 1 officer and 2 privates, accidentally.

Twentieth Louisiana.--Wounded, 1 officer. and 4 privates.

Hodgson's Battery.--Wounded, 1 private.

Ducabel's Battery.--Wounded, 1 private.

Houton's Battery.--Wounded, 1 private.

First Arkansas.--Wounded, 1 officer and 3 privates.

Recapitulation.--Killed, 1 officer and 6 privates; wounded, 13 officers and 96 privates; 3 missing.

Among the wounded were Lieut.-Col. Girard, who fell while gallantly leading his regiment, struck in the thigh with a Minie ball; Lieuts. Smith, McGowan, and Caldwell, of the Twenty-fifth Louisiana, were also wounded. Our wounded are all doing well.

There are three thousand sick soldiers in the hospitals at Lynchburgh.

--Memphis Appeal, May 17.

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