previous next

Doc. 91.-battle of Baton Rouge, La.

Colonel Cahill's report.

headquarters Second regiment, Baton Rouge, August 6.
Captain: I have the honor to report that an attack was made early yesterday morning by a confederate force of about ten regiments, under command of Major-Gen. J. C. Breckinridge, and [297] that, after a fight of four hours duration and of great severity, the enemy were repulsed.

I regret to state that Brig.-Gen. Williams was killed on the field, by a rifle-ball through the chest.

During the battle, our forces were obliged to retire about a quarter of a mile from our original position, and the enemy were thus able to occupy temporarily the camps of the Twenty-first Indiana, Seventh Vermont, and Fourteenth Maine regiments, and to destroy much of the baggage and camp equipage. They were, however, driven out; but our numbers being much lessened by sickness, and the men on the field being much exhausted by fatigue and heat, it was deemed inexpedient to pursue.

I am unable as yet to give a report of our casualties, which, I am sorry to say, are considerable.

The enemy has retired several miles, and, from all I can learn, are still retiring. I am expecting it possible they may receive reenforcements, and am disposing my troops in the strongest positions. Our force engaged numbered less than two thousand five hundred; the enemy had at least five thousand, with twelve or fourteen field-pieces, and some cavalry.

The ram Arkansas approached with the intention of engaging our gunboats, but grounded above the point, at a distance of about six miles, and to-day was engaged by the iron-clad Essex, and destroyed.

Enclosed is a copy of a communication received by flag of truce from Major-Gen. J. C. Breckinridge, and my reply thereto. You will see by the latter that Brig.-Gen. Clarke, and his aid-decamp, have delivered themselves up as prisoners of war.

I have also fully seventy wounded prisoners, that were left on the field, also about thirty captured. I would like instructions as to the disposition you wish made of them. Some express a wish to be paroled.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thomas W. Cahill, Colonel Commanding Post. Captain R. S. Davis, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Department of the Gulf.

The following is the communication of General Breckinridge to Col. Cahill:

headquarters confederate forces in the field, near Baton Rouge, August 6, 1862.
To the Commanding Officer of the United States Forces, Baton Rouge, La.:
I have sent Major De Bauer with a flag of truce, with the request that he will be allowed to attend to the burial of our dead who may have been left within your lines. Major Haynes, accompanying, desires to communicate with Brig.-General Charles Clarke, that he may supply him with money and clothing, and such articles as may contribute to his comfort.

Respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

John C. Breckinridge, Major-General Commanding.

Col. Cahill replied as follows:

headquarters United States forces, Baton Rouge, La., August 6, 1862.
General: In reply to your communication of this morning, under a flag of truce, I have the honor to say that we are now engaged in the burial of your dead within our lines, and that we shall soon finish the now nearly accomplished work. Gen. Clarke and his aid-de-camp, Lieut. Yerger, have surrendered themselves as prisoners of war, and are being cared for by our surgeons. A friend of Gen. Clarke, from this city, will attend to his pecuniary wants.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Thomas W. Cahill, Colonel Commanding. Major-General J. C. Breckinridge, Commanding Confederate Forces.

Colonel Cahill's Second report.

Baton Rouge, August 9, 1862.
To Captain R. S. Davis, A. A. General, Department of the Gulf:
sir: Being called to the command of the forces at Baton Rouge, on the occasion of the action of August fifth, by the unfortunate death of Gen. Williams, it becomes my duty to report the circumstances of the glorious victory. Rumors of the advance of the enemy in heavy force had prevailed for some days. On the afternoon of August fourth, Gen. Williams called the attention of the commandants of regiments and batteries to the probability of an attack at an early hour in the morning. The Fourteenth Maine, Col. A. Nickerson; the Twenty-first Indiana, under Lieut.-Colonel Keith; the Sixth Michigan, under Acting Lieut.-Colonel Clark, and Seventh Vermont, Col. Roberts, were encamped, the first with its right resting on the intersection of the Greenwell Springs road, and fronting on a road running to the intersection of the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads. These encampments were in heavy timber. The Twenty-first Indiana were encamped on about the same line front, and on the right of the Greenwell Springs road. On nearly the same line front, but still further to the right, at the intersection of the Clay Cut and Perkins roads, were the Sixth Michigan. The Seventh Vermont were some distance to the rear, and between the Sixth Michigan and Twenty-first Indiana, with the camp fronting the city. Everett's battery, under Lieut. Carruth, was in bivouac, on the right of the Fourteenth Maine, and on the right of the Twenty-first Indiana. Still further to the right were the guns in charge of the Twenty-first Indiana. On the extreme right, the guns of Nim's battery, under Lieut. Trull, were brought in position early in the action on the right. The Thirtieth Massachusetts, under Col. Dudley, were brought up from their quarters in the capitol on the night of the fourth, and took position on the left of the Sixth Michigan. On the extreme left, in advance of the left bank of the Bayou Gap, with an oblique front towards the intersection of the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads, with two pieces of Manning's battery, were the Ninth Connecticut and Fourth Wisconsin. The [298] remaining guns of Manning's battery were in position on the right bank of the bed of Bayou Gap. This was the real line of defence for the left flank, covering the north and east of the arsenal grounds. Gen. Williams, in his instructions to myself and Lieut.-Col. Bean, commanding Fourth Wisconsin volunteers, was very clear and positive in his orders to hold this position at all hazards, as he anticipated the enemy would advance (under cover of the fire from the ram Arkansas, with the gunboats from the Red River) through the open grounds of the Sawmill and Dougherty's plantation, and take possession of the Manae ground. The above-mentioned advance on the left bank of the Bayou was only ordered by Gen. Williams, after a lengthy consideration, on the evening of the fourth inst., with the intention of checking an advance on the same position by the Bayou Sara and Clinton roads; and for that reason we only brought forward the light howitzers of Manning's battery to the advance positions, leaving the heavy guns on the original line.

At early daylight on the morning of August fifth, the enemy threw his whole force on the camps of the Fourteenth Maine, Twenty-first Indiana and Sixth Michigan, with the batteries attached to each regiment. These troops stood their ground nobly, meeting the tremendous force thrown upon them with unflinching bravery. On looking over the battle-ground since the engagement I cannot conceive how it was possible for so many men to have been engaged in so small a space of ground. The attack was nearly simultaneous; but the first fire in line from the enemy's right was directed on the Fourteenth Maine, and was instantly answered by that regiment by a solid line volley, which must have done terrible execution. The companies of the Twenty-first Indiana, which were in advance as pickets, had fallen back in order. The whole regiment advanced towards the Magnolia cemetery and east of it. At this time Major Hays was seriously wounded, and was taken from the field. The regiment worked, advancing and retiring, and changing front as the enemy showed himself through the smoke. At nearly the close of the action Lieut.-Col. Keith, commanding regiment, had to leave the field, badly wounded, leaving the regiment, without a field-officer, in command of Captain Grimsley. It was at this stage of the battle that Gen. Williams fell, mortally wounded. He had just said to the men of the Twenty-first: “Boys, your field-officers are all gone. I will lead you.” The men answered with three cheers for the General. The sounds had scarcely died away when he fell. The General had previously issued an order for the line to fall back, and the artillery having done so, the regiments retired in good order to the positions now occupied. For details of movements and conduct of the regiments and batteries, I would refer you to the accompanying reports. I will only trespass on the patience of the Commanding General further than to say what the officers commanding regiments and corps cannot say for themselves — that more undaunted bravery, coolness and skill, in the handling of their commands, has not been displayed on any battle-field than on that of Baton Rouge, and that, too, by officers who never before handled troops in a fight. From the Twenty-first Indiana and Sixth Michigan, myself, in common with others, expected a great deal, and were not disappointed; but when I look back a few short months, and bring to my mind the arrival of the Fourteenth Maine at Ship Island, and today consider the work done by that regiment in the action, the smoothness and steadiness of its evolutions in difficult ground and under fire from the veterans of the confederate service, I can only say that, for his efforts in building up his regiment, the most serious task of a commander, and his conduct in the field, Col. Nickerson, of the Fourteenth Maine, deserves the highest praise. To the impetuous Lieut.-Col. Keith, of the Twenty-first Indiana, no words of mine can do justice. He was every where, in every place, working his men through tents, trees and underbrush like a veteran, and when seriously wounded and taken from the field he would not give up, but moved around among his officers and men, counselling and assisting in every thing, to the injury and irritation of his wounds. Colonel Roberts, of the Seventh Vermont, fell mortally wounded, and has since died. He was a gentleman of a generous nature and of cultivated mind.

Col. Nickerson, of the Fourteenth Maine, had his horse shot from under him by a discharge of grape. He sprang from under his dying steed, and, waving his sword, called upon his men for one more charge. The men sprang forward, with three roaring cheers, and drove back the advancing foe. At this time the gallant Capt. French, of company K, Fourteenth Maine, received his terrible wound. The charge was made in presence of Gen. Williams, who complimented the men very highly. Capt. French was placed on board the unfortunate steamer Whiteman, and was lost when she went down. His name deserves special mention. The conduct of the officers and men of the several batteries was every thing that could be looked for by the Commanding General. The various batteries were very much reduced by sickness and deaths, and, even with the assistance of details from the infantry, were worked short-handed. Lieutenant Hall, in command of second piece Nim's battery, wishes special mention made of the successful rally by men of the Twenty-first Indiana and three men of the Ninth Connecticut, who, with the assistance of private Tyler, who left his sick-bed and acted as sergeant, gunner, etc., and privates Shield and Clogston, as also Sergeant Cheever, who left the hospital sick to do his duty, rallied and brought off the gun, when every man and horse was shot down and the piece in the hands of the enemy. The names of the privates of infantry engaged in this gallant exploit will be forwarded as soon as ascertained. The Ninth Connecticut and Fourth Wisconsin volunteers were brought up from their position early in the action, and were placed, by General Williams's order, in line across the grounds of the Orphan Asylum, immediately [299] in rear of the camps of the Twenty-first Indiana and Fourteenth Maine. The regiments moved with alacrity and obeyed all orders promptly.

Captain Silas W. Sawyer, of company H, Ninth regiment Connecticut volunteers, deserves mention for his bold reconnoissance on the morning of the sixth. Going out on the Bayou Sara road three miles, and finding no trace of the presence of the enemy, he took a cattle-path through the woods, coming out on the Clinton road beyond the original line of our pickets. He scoured the country to Reid's plantation, in scouting around which he found one of the enemy's caissons, near by another, and in a short time he discovered all four. Crossing over to Bernard's plantation, he found another and a damaged ambulance. Returning to headquarters, he proceeded, by order of Col. Paine, commanding a detachment of men and horses from Manning's battery, and a platoon of his own company, and brought them in. In conclusion, I would beg leave to call the attention of the General Commanding to the services of Lieut. Henry H. Elliott, Ninth New-York volunteers, Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant on General Williams's staff. Of his coolness and intrepidity in action, every officer in the action can bear witness, as also to the still more trying duties of the detail of his official business. I am under deep obligations to him for his cheerful and zealous services for the time I remained in command. I enclose copies of correspondence between myself and Lieut. Elliott. Col. McMillan, of the Twenty-first Indiana, has been unwell for some time. His counsel and advice have been freely offered on every occasion. All of which is respectfully submitted.

Thomas W. Cahill, Colonel Commanding at Baton Rouge.

Official report of Colonel Dudley.

headquarters right wing Second brigade, Department of the Gulf, Baton Rouge, La., August 7, 1862.
First Lieut. H. H. Elliott, A. A.A. G., Second Brigade:
sir: I have the honor to enclose, for the information of the Commanding Officer, tile reports of commanding officers of regiments and batteries which served under my command in the right wing of this brigade, in the battle before Baton Rouge, La., on the morning of the fifth inst., marked as follows:

A--Capt. Clarke, Acting Colonel Sixth Michigan volunteers.

B--Major H. O. Whittemore, commanding Thirtieth Massachusetts volunteers.

C--First Lieut.----Trull, commanding Nim's battery, (Mass.

D--Capt.----Manning, Fourth.

E--First Lieut.----Brown, commanding three pieces Indiana battery.

F--Lieut.-Col.----Callum, commanding Seventh Vermont volunteers.

G--First Lieut. William Carruth, commanding Everett's Sixth Massachusetts battery.

I forward the individual reports, so that the commanding officer may know to what extent this command participated in the events of the day.

It cannot be expected that I should mention all the brave exploits of persons or even regiments, particularly on an occasion when all did so well. Our lines were very much extended, and I frequently necessarily found myself separated from each regiment; but on no occasion did I see a single regiment misbehave. All seemed to act with a coolness and determination that surprised even themselves, after the excitement of the action was over.

On the afternoon of the fourth inst., Brig.-Gen. Williams ordered me forward with my own regiment and three pieces of light artillery belonging to the Twenty-first Indiana regiment, under First Lieutenant Brown, to a point about two miles from the river, for the purpose of supporting the Sixth Michigan regiment of volunteers. After making a careful reconnoissance of the grounds, accompanied by Capt. Clarke, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, in front and on the right flank, I posted one piece on the Grandville Spring road, the second on the road leading to Perkins's plantation, and the third at the head of Boulevard street — the first two supported by the Sixth Michigan, the latter by the Thirtieth regiment Massachusetts volunteers, then under the command of Major H. O. Whittemore, its left resting on the flank of Nim's battery, which was posted in the woods to the left of Boulevard street. Our pickets reported nothing during the night to warrant the belief that we should be attacked in the morning. At half-past 3 o'clock A. M., the enemy sounded the assembly, which we took at first to be the “long-roll.” On finding it to be only the assembly, I ordered it repeated, supposing it to have been sounded by our regiments on the left, which promptly called all our troops on the right to their feet. “Reveille” roll-call was hardly over, when firing commenced simultaneously on the left and centre of our front, shortly followed by the discharge of artillery on the extreme right. The latter was most promptly responded to by Lieut. Brown with his two pieces, and with great effect, as the scores of dead rebels laid thickly strewn at this point, after the battle, gave evidence.

The engagement on the whole line now became general. I immediately ordered Nim's battery, under the command of its brave and excellent First Lieutenant Trull, to the left and considerably to the front, so as to clear the thick woods in its front. Supported by the Thirtieth Massachusetts volunteers, this battery went into action within two hundred and fifty yards of a Kentucky regiment, sheltered by a fence and cornfield, where it remained doing excellent service, until ordered to change position. Officers and men could not behave better; more coolness could not be expected from old veterans than the officers and men of this battery displayed. They changed position four times under my own observation, and on each occasion its gallant commander displayed his perfect competency for the [300] prominent part he acted in this the severest part of this well-contested field.

At this period of the action the fire on Manning's battery and the Indiana regiment under command, of Captain Noblet, was very close and severe — so much so that Manning's battery was compelled to fall back, which it did with considerable confusion, leaving one piece and caisson, the horses having either been killed or disabled. First Lieut. Whitcomb, Thirtieth Massachusetts, gallantly dashed through the smoke of the enemy's musketry and succeeded in bringing off the caisson. The fearless Indianians secured the piece, and both were turned over to the battery on the field. Capt. Manning quickly rallied his men and went into battery on the right of the Indiana Twenty-first, well supported on the right by the Vermont Seventh, Lieut.-Colonel Callum, (Colonel Roberts having been mortally wounded.) Here this battery did good service. In the mean time the enemy appeared in strong force directly in front of the Indiana Twenty-first, Vermont Seventh, and Massachusetts Thirtieth. At one time these three brave regiments stood face to face with the enemy, within forty yards of each other. For full one hour the contest for this piece of woods was fierce. At one moment the rebel Tennesseeans would seem to have success on their side; the tide would then turn, and the brave Twenty-first Indiana and Thirtieth Massachusetts would exchange a yell with each other, quickly advance and drive the enemy back to the fence and into the corn-field. While this brisk work was going on directly in front, the undaunted Trull, with his battery, was hotly engaged on the right with a full battery of the enemy that had cut its way through a belt of thick timber and approached within one hundred and fifty yards. (This is supposed to have been Symms's celebrated battery.) The Sixth Michigan, under Capt. Clarke, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, moved up to the support of Nim's battery in elegant order. Its assistance came most fortunately, for it was clear the enemy intended to outflank us at this point. Nobly did Col. Clarke and his command discharge their duty here, as their list of killed and wounded show. This regiment did good service on more than one occasion this day. For individual acts of gallantry I refer the commanding officer to Col. Clarke's report. At this juncture of the contest I ordered Lieut. Trull to fire his three left pieces across the fronts of the Indiana Twenty-first, Massachusetts Thirtieth, and Seventh Vermont. This was the turning point on the right wing. This galling fire of canister, with the terrible discharge of the regiments of musketry, effectually silenced the enemy's fire, and they withdrew again to the fields in the rear. For the valuable aid given by Lieut. Brown and his pieces of artillery on the right in the early part of the engagement, which prevented our being outflanked on the right, I refer to Acting Lieut.-Gol. Clarke's report.

To the report of First Sergeant William Corruth, commanding Everett's battery, marked G, I respectfully solicit the Colonel Commanding's attention. His battery did not form part of my command in the morning, but from the fact one section was sent to me afterwards, and the other fact of its having been supported by troops from the right wing, (Twenty-first Indiana,) accounts for his sending it through me. The number of dead in front of his position indicates the valuable aid his battery rendered on the left. There was very many acts of bravery which could not come under my own observation, therefore I respectfully solicit a careful perusal of the several reports made by the several commanders of regiments and batteries.

I cannot close this report without noticing the conduct of Capt. Kelty, of the Thirtieth regiment, who fell at the head of his brave and active company of Zouaves; once before he had been sent forward to reconnoitre the position of the enemy, drew their fire, fell back with the same coolness and precision that he ever exhibited at drills. He was killed within fifty yards of the enemy's lines. His loss I feel specially and personally. Lieut. Gardener, company K, Thirtieth Massachusetts volunteers, fell wounded severely, yet requested to be left on the field. The command of the Thirtieth Massachusetts fell on Major Whittemore, by its Colonel being assigned to the command of the right wing, and most honorably did he acquit himself of his responsible duties. He was probably more frequently under my eye than any other officer in the wing, and circumstances requiring me to move his regiment more often, he displayed coolness, tact, and military knowledge throughout the day, which well fitted him to command in the field. As for the conduct of the officers and men of his regiment, I refer you to his minute and correct report.

I am specially indebted to the following officers, who served on my staff during the day: Lieut. Tenney, who made a reconnaissance by my order at the commencement of the action, was detailed to serve on the Commanding General's staff. He fell severely wounded by the General's side in ten minutes after. Lieut. Howe, my Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, also fell mortally wounded. Both of these officers were shot in the very thickest of the engagement.

First Lieut. C. A. R. Dimon, who acted through the balance of the day as Chief of my staff, and Second Lieut. Norcross also rendered me every possible aid in the transmittal of orders from one section of the field to another. Lieutenant Dimon joined me after the action commenced from the hospital, where he had been confined for days.

Lieut. Clarke, Sixth Michigan, also acquitted himself handsomely.

I should forget one obligation, did I fail in my report to mention the conduct of Assistant-Surgeon A. F. Holt. He was by my side constantly, when not engaged in his professional duties, ready to transmit any order, transport to the rear, as he did on several occasions, under a hot fire, on his own back, the wounded; or discharge any duty that would contribute towards the success of the day.

The enemy having retreated, I ordered the [301] troops composing the right wing to take up a more desirable position out of the woods, near the Penitentiary grounds.

Respectfully submitted to the Colonel Commanding Army of Baton Rouge, La.

N. M. Dudley, Colonel Commanding Right Wing, Army of Baton Rouge. C. A. R. Dimon, A. A. A. General.

Lieutenant Weitzel's report.

headquarters, Baton Rouge, August 7, 1862.
General: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of yesterday.

Your troops at this place have won a glorious victory. I do not consider that there is the least danger of an attack for the present, because one of the several reconnoitring parties sent out this morning, and which has returned, reports five abandoned caissons on the Greenwell Springs road. We have sent out to bring them in. This indicates a hasty retreat on the part of the enemy. Our forces could not pursue. One half of the men who left the hospitals to fight, could not march a mile. The conduct of these men was magnificently glorious. The attack was undoubtedly made upon representations of rebels within our lines, that our troops were nearly all sick and demoralized, and Gen. Breckinridge undoubtedly expected, in conjunction with the ram Arkansas, to make a successful dash. It was a complete failure. The ram is blown up; their troops were repulsed.

Gen. Williams disposed his forces as follows, namely: The Fourth Wisconsin on the extreme left on the right bank of Bayou Gross, with two pieces of Manning's battery in the arsenal grounds on the left bank of Bayou Gross, to sweep the grounds, on the left of the Wisconsin Fourth; the Ninth Connecticut was posted on the right of the Fourth Wisconsin, with two pieces in rear of centre, and two pieces in rear of the right. All of these pieces were of Manning's battery, and were posted on either side of the knoll in the Government cemetery.

Next came the Fourteenth Maine, posted in rear of the Bayou Sara road, and to the left of Greenwell Springs road.

Next came the Twenty-first Indiana, posted in the woods in rear of Magnolia cemetery, with four pieces of Everett's battery (under the command of Lieutenant Carruth) on their left on the Greenwell Springs road. The Indiana battery of two pieces came up to the support of these pieces after the battle commenced. Next came the Sixth Michigan, posted across the country-road, on the right of the Magnolia cemetery, and across the Clay Cut road, their left supporting two pieces of Everett's battery, posted on the road, on the right of the Magnolia cemetery.

The Seventh Vermont was posted in rear of the Twenty-first Indiana and Sixth Michigan, on the right of the Catholic cemetery. The Thirtieth Massachusetts came next, forming the right, and posted about half a mile in rear of the State House, supporting Nim's battery.

This disposition of the forces was made with the supposition that the enemy would attack our left flank, under the cover of the ram Arkansas. The right flank depended upon gunboat support. The only fault of disposition — perhaps rendered unavoidable by the formations of the ground — was, that the camps of the Fourteenth Maine and Twenty-first Indiana were pitched in front of their position, in line of battle, and consequently came into the possession of the enemy for a short time.

The enemy formed line of battle on the open grounds, bordering on the Greenwell Springs road, and attempted to draw our forces out. Failing in this, they advanced rapidly on the ground between the Clinton and Clay Cut roads. The whole brunt of the attack, consequently, fell upon the Fourteenth Maine, Twenty--first Indiana and Sixth Michigan. As soon as it became apparent that this was the real point of attack, Gen. Williams ordered up the Ninth Connecticut, Fourth Wisconsin, and one section of Manning's battery, to support the left, and the Thirtieth Massachusetts, and two sections of Nim's battery, to support the right.

You will, therefore, see that the disposition (with the slight exception hinted at) and the manoeuvring were faultless.

The conduct of our troops was excellent. The Twenty-first Indiana particularly distinguished itself. I saw a number of the dead of the enemy to-day in front of the ground they occupied; but not content with the check they gave the enemy, this regiment pursued him quite a distance, strewing the ground with his dead.

The brave Gen. Williams fell in front of the Sixth Michigan, toward the end of the conflict, while giving his men a noble example of reckless and daring bravery. He was killed by a rifleball in the chest.

The enemy's force consisted of two Louisiana regiments, (the Fourth and Thirtieth,) two Mississippi, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Kentucky, two Tennessee, one Alabama regiment and thirteen guns, and a large guerrilla force. Their attacking force numbered fully six thousand men. Our actual force engaged was not over two thousand. Three companies of the Sixth Michigan covered themselves with glory in recovering, from a large force, two guns posted on the right of the Magnolia cemetery, which temporarily were left by our forces. These same three companies captured the colors of the Fourth Louisiana, but only after they had shot down four successive color-bearers.

The exact loss on our side is not yet reported. But certain it is, that it is much less than that of the enemy.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

G. Weitzel, Lieutenant U. S. Engineer and Chief Engineer, Department of the Gulf. Major-General B. F. Butler Commanding Department of the Gulf, New-Orleans, La.


Commander Porter's report.

U. S. Gunboat Essex, off Baton Rouge, August 6, 1862.
Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy:
sir: On the evening of the fourth inst. I was informed by Gen. Williams that rebels, in considerable force, under Gen. Breckinridge, were moving on this place. The rebel ram Arkansas, with two gunboats, Webb and Music, were also in the vicinity of the city, to support the attack of the rebel army. I made such a disposition of the naval force under my command, as I thought would give the most aid to our small force on shore.

On the morning of the fifth inst., at one A. M., the enemy made an attack on our land forces, and drove in the left wing of our army, killing Gen. Williams. Our men retreating, I opened fire with shot and shell over them on the advancing enemy, and turned them back.

It was the intention of the enemy to make a simultaneous attack by land and water, but the fire from the Essex and other gunboats, driving the enemy back, evidently disconcerted their plans.

Though not making her appearance, I had information of the vicinity of the ram Arkansas, and this morning I determined to steam up the river and attack her, and, if possible, prevent her rendering further assistance to the land forces she was cooperating with. At ten A. M. I came in sight of her, at about the distance of half a mile, and immediately opened fire. After an action of about twenty minutes, I succeeded in setting fire to her, and at meridian she blew up, with a tremendous explosion.

The Arkansas had a crew of one hundred and eighty, and mounted ten guns, (six eight-inch and four fifty-pound rifles.) This vessel, the Essex, mounts seven guns, and had only forty men on duty at the time of our going into action. My First Master, Mr. R. R. Riley, was in sick-hospital, and his place was supplied by Second Master David Porter Rosenmitla, who conducted himself to my entire satisfaction.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. D. Porter, Commanding Division of Flotilla in Western Waters.

Lieutenant Commanding Roe's report.

United States gunboat Katahdin, off Baton Rouge, La., August 6.
sir: The anticipated attack of the enemy on this place, of which I made mention in my letter of the fourth instant, took place on the morning of the fifth. In consequence of the lines of our troops being so extended, the Katahdin could render no assistance to the place until the afternoon.

During yesterday afternoon, the Kineo and Katahdin shelled the enemy, firing clean over the town into his very camps. This we were enabled to do by means of a system of signals established by Lieut. Commanding Ransom, on the tower of the State House, which corrected our aim. Our shells did fine execution, and drove the enemy from his position, and determined him to retreat, he having been repulsed by our troops under Gen. Williams, in the earlier part of the day. The only way we can operate is by firing at extreme elevation, clean over the town of Baton Rouge.

This morning Commander Porter, in the Essex, accompanied by the Cayuga and Sumter, started up to attack the Arkansas. The Katahdin and Kineo remained at their stations, near the State House, but were subsequently signaled to follow up and close in with the other vessels, but when nearly up with the enemy, appearances indicated an attack on the town, and we were again ordered back to our stations.

In the mean time the Essex engaged the Arkansas for about one hour, when the latter was fired, deserted, and at one P. M. blew up with a terrific explosion.

For some unexplained reason, the two consorts of the Arkansas left early in the morning, and advantage was taken of their absence to engage the ram.

We have thus had a bloodless victory, but the timely arrival of the Cayuga and our approach in force, no doubt had a good moral effect, as the ram was badly managed and made a poor fight.

The enemy are still hovering in the rear of the place. Information is received that to the six thousand troops already in this vicinity, four thousand are approaching from Manchac, and others from Vicksburgh. I keep in constant communication with the Commander-in-Chief of the troops here, ready to open fire when and where he may desire.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

F. A. Roe, Lieutenant Commanding. Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron, New-Orleans.

Lieutenant Commanding Ransom's report.

United States gunboat Kineo, off Baton Rouge, La., August 6, 1862.
sir: I have to report that a vigorous attack was made upon our forces at this place yesterday morning, at about five o'clock, by a strong rebel force, said to be commanded by Gen. Breckinridge.

The Kineo and Katahdin were placed immediately in a position previously indicated to me by Gen. Williams to protect his right flank. But his lines were so much extended, and so completely covered the enemy's approach, that our guns could not be made available with safety to our troops at any time during the morning. In the afternoon, however, we were notified of such changes in the relative positions of the two forces, that we were enabled to open (with tremendous effect, we are informed) upon the enemy's left wing, which caused him to withdraw in much haste, and to fall back several miles.

Early in the morning, soon after the attack had been commenced, the smoke of a steamer, supposed, from information received the previous [303] evening, to be the ram Arkansas, was observed moving rapidly down the river toward the bend just above this place. It stopped about a mile above the bend and remained there, sometimes apparently moving up a little, then down again, during the day and night.

Late in the afternoon, she was joined apparently by two other steamers, (judging by smoke,) which separated from her this morning, moving up the river. The Essex, accompanied by the Cayuga and Sumter, then moved up toward the bend. Finally a general signal was made by the former, agreeably to which the Kineo and Katahdin followed. Upon drawing near to the bend, however, some lines of white smoke having been observed in the rear of the city, it was deemed advisable for the two latter to return to their station for the protection of the troops.

By this time it had been discovered that the Arkansas was on fire; subsequently it had been ascertained, I believe, that she had suddenly become helpless there, by some failure of her engines; and seeing our approach, so formidable to her in her crippled condition, doubtless they set her on fire and abandoned her. At about one o'clock her magazine exploded, and the ram Arkansas was extinct.

I have the honor to be, sir,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

George M. Ransom, Lieutenant Commanding. Flag-Officer D. G. Farragut, Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron.

Flag-officer Farragut's reports.

The following despatches detail the operations of the navy in the destruction of the rebel ram Arkansas, and in cooperation with the army at Baton Rouge:

flag-ship Hartford, Baton Rouge, August 7, 1862.
sir: It is one of the happiest moments of my life that I am enabled to inform the Department of the destruction of the ram Arkansas, not because I held the iron-clad in such terror, but because the community did.

On the fourth instant I sent the Tennessee up to Baton Rouge with provisions for Commodore Porter and the gunboats stationed at that place. On the night of the fifth, she returned with information that the enemy had made a combined attack upon Baton Rouge by the ram and two gunboats, Webb and Music, and calling for assistance. At daylight the Hartford was under weigh for this place with orders for the other vessels to follow me as fast as ready.

I arrived here to-day at twelve M., in company with the Brooklyn, Westfield, Clinton, Jackson, and Sciota. I had sent the Cayuga up before me, agreeable to a request of Gen. Butler, in consequence of the guerrillas firing into some of his transports. On my arrival I was informed by Commodore W. D. Porter that yesterday morning at two o'clock, the enemy's forces under Gen. Breckinridge attacked Gen. Williams, drove in his pickets, etc. General Williams, having had ample warning, was all prepared for him. The fight was continued with great energy on both sides until ten A. M., by which time the enemy had been driven back two or three miles, but unfortunately the gallant General Williams, while cheering on his men, received a Minie-ball through the heart.

Gen. Williams had informed Lieut. Commanding Ransom the evening before of his plans, and requested him not to fire a gun until he notified him, and when he did so, our gunboats, the Kineo and Katahdin, opened with fine effect, throwing their shells directly in the midst of the enemy, producing great dismay and confusion among them. Lieut. Ransom had an officer on the StateHouse, which overlooks the adjacent country, and could direct the fire of every shell.

As soon as the enemy was repulsed, Commodore Porter with the gunboats went up-stream after the ram Arkansas, which was lying about five miles above, apparently afraid to take her share in the conflict, according to the preconcerted plan. As he came within gunshot, he opened on her, and probably soon disabled some of her machinery or steering apparatus, for she became unmanageable, continuing, however, to fire her guns at the Essex.

Commodore Porter says he took advantage of her, presenting a weak point toward him, and loaded with incendiary shells. After his first discharge of this projectile, a gush of fire came out of her side, and from that moment it was discovered that she was on fire, which he continued his exertions to prevent from being extinguished. They backed her ashore and made a line fast, which soon burnt, and she swung off into the river, where she continued to burn until she blew up, with a tremendous explosion, thus ending the career of the last iron-clad ram of the Mississippi. There were many persons on the banks of the river witnessing the fight, in which they anticipated a triumph for “Secessia;” but on the return of the Essex not a soul was to be seen.

I will leave a sufficient force of gunboats here to support the army, and will return to-morrow to New-Orleans, and depart immediately for Ship Island with a light heart that I have left no bugbear to torment the communities of the Mississippi in my absence.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Commanding Western Gulf Blockading Squadron. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

flag-ship Hartford, New-Orleans, August 10, 1862.
sir: Since forwarding the reports of Lieutenants Fairfax, Ransom, and Roe, we have picked up a number of prisoners from the ram Arkansas, all of whom I have catechised very closely. They agree very well respecting her exit from the Yazoo and her passing the fleets; they also agree as to the number of killed and wounded on each of these occasions, making in all eighteen killed [304] and a large number of wounded. At Vicksburgh they plated the deck with iron and fortified her with cotton inside; she then came down in command of Lieutenant H. K. Stevens, (Brown having been taken sick at Vicksburgh,) with the intention of making a combined attack with General Breckinridge upon Baton Rouge, but her port engine broke down; they repaired it in the course of the day, and went out to meet the Essex next morning when they saw her coming up, but the starboard engine gave way, and they ran her ashore, she being perfectly unmanageable.

They say that when the gunboats were seen coming up, and the Essex commenced firing, the captain set the ram on fire and told the crew to run ashore. They also state that the gunboats Webb and Music were sent for to tow her up the river, but they did not arrive, and neither of them had been seen. This is the statement.

All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,

D. G. Farragut, Flag-Officer Commanding W. G. Blockading Squadron. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy.

General Butler's General orders.

headquarters Department of the Gulf, New-Orleans, August 7, 1862.
General order No. 56.

The Commanding General announces to the Army of the Gulf the sad event of the death of Brigadier-General Thomas Williams, commanding Second brigade, in camp, at Baton Rouge.

The victorious achievement — the repulse of the division of Major-General Breckinridge by the troops led by General Williams, and the destruction of the mail-clad Arkansas by Captain Porter of the Navy — is made sorrowful by the fall of our brave, gallant and successful fellow-soldier.

General Williams graduated at West-Point in 1837; at once joined the Fourth artillery, in Florida, where he served with distinction; was thrice breveted for gallant and meritorious serv ices in Mexico, as a member of General Scott's staff. His life was that of a soldier devoted to his country's service. His country mourns in sympathy with his wife and children, now that country's care and precious charge.

We, his companions in arms, who had learned to love him, weep the true friend, the gallant gentleman, the brave soldier, the accomplished officer, the pure patriot and victorious hero, and the devoted Christian. All and more went out when Williams died. By a singular felicity the manner of his death illustrated each of these generous qualities.

The chivalric American gentleman, he gave up the vantage of the cover of the houses of the city — forming his lines in the open field — lest the women and children of his enemies should be hurt in the fight!

A good General, he had made his dispositions, and prepared for battle at the break of day, when he met his foe!

A brave soldier, he received the death-shot leading his men!

A patriot hero, he was fighting the battle of his country, and died as went up the cheer of victory!

A Christian, he sleeps in the hope of the blessed Redeemer!

His virtues we cannot exceed — his example we may emulate — and mourning his death, we pray “may our last end be like his.”

The customary tribute of mourning will be worn by the officers in the Department.

By command of Major-General Butler, Commanding. R. S. Davis, Captain and A. A.A. General.

headquarters Department of the Gulf, New-Orleans, August 15, 1862.
General order No. 62.

The Commanding General has carefully revised the official reports of the action of August fifth, at Baton Rouge, to collect the evidence of the gallant deeds and meritorious services of those engaged in that brilliant victory.

The name of the lamented and gallant General Williams has already passed into history.

Colonel Roberts, of the Seventh Vermont volunteers, fell mortally wounded, while rallying his men. He was worthy of a better disciplined regiment and a better fate.

Glorious as it is to die for one's country, yet his regiment gave him the inexpressible pain of seeing it break in confusion when not pressed by the enemy, and refuse to march to the aid of the outnumbered and overwhelmed Indianians.

The Seventh Vermont regiment, by a fatal mistake, had already fired into the same regiment they had refused to support, killing and wounding several.

The Commanding General therefore excepts the Seventh Vermont from General Order No. 57, and will not permit their colors to be inscribed with a name which could bring to its officers and men no proud thought.

It is further ordered, that the colors of that regiment be not borne by them until such time as they shall have earned the right to them, and the earliest opportunity will be given this regiment to show whether they are worthy descendants of those who fought beside Allen, and with Starke at Bennington.

The men of the Ninth Connecticut, who were detailed to man Nim's battery, deserve special commendation.

The Fourteenth Maine volunteers have credit for their gallant conduct throughout the day.

Colonel Nickerson deserves well of his country, not more for his daring and cool courage displayed on the field when his horse was killed from under him, than for his skill, energy and perseverance in bringing his men in such a state of discipline as to enable them to execute most difficult manoeuvres under fire with steadiness and efficiency. His regiment behaved admirably.

Nim's battery, Second Massachusetts, under command of Lieutenant Trull, its captain being confined by sickness; Everett's battery, Sixth Massachusetts, under command of Lieutenant [305] Carruth; Manning's battery, Fourth Massachusetts; and a section of a battery taken by the Twenty-first Indiana from the enemy, and attached to that regiment under command of Lieutenant Brown, are honorably mentioned for the efficiency and skill with which they were served. The heaps of dead and dying within their range attested the fatal accuracy of their fire.

The Sixth Michigan fought rather by detachments than as a regiment, but deserves the fullest commendation for the gallant behavior of its officers and men. Companies A, B and F, under command of Captain Corden, receive special mention for the coolness and courage with which they supported and retook Brown's battery, routing the Fourth Louisiana and capturing their colors, which the regiment has leave to send to its native State.

Colonel Dudley, Thirtieth Massachusetts volunteers, has credit for the conduct of the right wing under his command. The Thirtieth Massachusetts was promptly brought into action by Major Whittemore, and held its position with steadiness and success.

To the Twenty-first Indiana a high meed of praise is awarded. “Honor to whom honor is due.” Deprived of the services of their brave colonel, suffering under wounds previously received, who essayed twice to join his regiment in the fight, but fell from his horse from weakness, with every field-officer wounded and borne from the field, its Adjutant, the gallant Latham, killed, seeing their General fall, while uttering his last known words on earth, “Indianians! your field-officers are all killed — I will lead you,” still this brave corps fought on without a thought of defeat. Lieutenant-Colonel Keith was every where, cheering on his men and directing their movements, and even after his very severe wound, gave them advice and assistance. Major Hayes, while sustaining the very charge of the enemy, wounded early in the action, showed himself worthy of his regiment.

The Ninth Connecticut and Fourth Wisconsin regiments being posted in reserve were not brought into action, but held their position. Colonel T. W. Cahill, Ninth Connecticut, on whom the command devolved by the death of the lamented Williams, prosecuted the engagement to its ultimate glorious success, and made all proper dispositions for a further attack.

Magee's cavalry, (Massachusetts,) by their unwearied exertions on picket-duty, contributed largely to our success, and deserve favorable mention.

The patriotic courage of the following officers and privates, who left the hospital to fight, is especially commended:

Captain H. C. Wells, company A, Captain Eugene Kelty, company I, First Lieutenant C. A. R. Dimon, Adjutant, and Second Lieutenant Fred. M. Norcross, company G, Thirtieth Massachusetts; Third Lieutenant Allyn, Sixth Massachusetts battery; Second Lieutenant Taylor, Fourth Massachusetts battery; Sergeant Cheever and private Tyler, Ninth Connecticut.

The following have honorable mention:

Lieutenant H. H. Elliott, A. A.A. General to General Williams, for his coolness and intrepidity in action, and the promptness with which he fulfilled his duties; Lieutenant J. F. Tenney, Quartermaster of Thirtieth Massachusetts, who fell severely wounded while acting aid to General Williams; Lieutenant W. G. Howe, of company A, Thirtieth Massachusetts, acting aid to Colonel Dudley, dangerously wounded in five places before he quit the field; Lieutenant C. A. R. Dimon, Adjutant Thirtieth Massachusetts, acting aid to Colonel Dudley, behaved most gallantly; Lieutenant Fred. M. Norcross, Thirtieth Massachusetts, acting aid to Colonel Dudley, for daring courage in the field; Alfred T. Holt, Assistant-Surgeon Thirtieth Massachusetts, for humane courage, taking on his back, under a hot fire, the wounded soldiers as they fell.

Lieutenant G. F. Whitcomb, Thirtieth Massachusetts, gallantly dashing into the smoke of the enemy's musketry, bringing off a caisson left by Manning's battery. The gallant officer and admirable soldier, Captain Eugene Kelty, of company I, Thirtieth Massachusetts, who was ordered to deploy his brave and active company of Zouaves as skirmishers on the right, and in the performance of this duty fell bravely at their head. Lieutenant W. H. Gardner, company K, Thirtieth Massachusetts, who fell, wounded severely, but entreated not to be taken from the field until the battle should be ended. Color--Sergeant Brooks, company C, Thirtieth Massachusetts, and Color-Corporal Rogers, company K, Thirtieth Massachusetts, who lost his left arm. Both behaved admirably during the entire engagement.

Private McKenzie, company B, Thirtieth Massachusetts, who, though wounded, with the bullet still in his body, remained on duty throughout the engagement, and is now at his post First Sergeant John Haley, company E, Thirtieth Massachusetts, commanded his company bravely and well, in the necessary absence of his line-officers. Captain James Grimsley, company B, Twenty-first Indiana, who commanded the regiment after Colonel Keith was wounded, for his gallant behavior in following up the battle to its complete success. Adjutant Matthew A. Latham, Twenty-first Indiana, instantly killed, while in the act of waving his sword and urging on the men to deeds of valor.

Lieut. Charles B. Seely, Ord.-Sergt. John A. Boyington, Corp. Isaac Knight, and private Henry T. Batchelor, all of company A, Twenty-first Indiana, who were killed instantly, while bravely contesting the ground with the enemy. Captain Noblet, Twenty-first Indiana, detailing men from his company to assist in working the guns in the Sixth Massachusetts battery, after the gunners were disabled, for his supporting Lieut. Corruth and battery. Lieut. Brown, of the Twenty-first Indiana, commanding a battery, improvised from his regiment, for the efficient manner in which he handled the guns. He deserves promotion to a battery.

Capt. Chas. E. Clark, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel, [306] Sixth Michigan regiment, prevented the enemy from flanking our right, bringing his command at the critical moment to the support of Nim's battery. Lieut. Howell, company F, Sixth Michigan, and Lieut. A. T. Ralph, Acting Adjutant, for intrepidity. Capt. Spitzer, Sixth Michigan, in command of the company of pickets, who handsomely held in check the enemy's advance. The fearless conduct of Lieut. Howell, company F, and Sergt. Thayer, company A, Sixth Michigan regiment, after they were wounded, in supporting Lieut. Brown's battery.

Captain Soule and Lieut. Fassett, company I, Sixth Michigan, as skirmishers, were wounded, deserve especial notice for the steadiness of their command, which lost heavily in killed and wounded. Major Bickmore and Adjutant J. H. Metcalfe, of the Fourteenth Maine, wounded while nobly discharging their duty. Capt. French, company K, Fourteenth Maine, who was wounded while leading on his men to one of the finest charges of the battle. It is sorrowful, indeed, to add, that by the accident to the steamer Whitman he was drowned.

Second Sergeant J. N. Seavy, company C; Corp. Edminster, company D; Private Preble, company F; Second Sergt. Snow, company D; private A. Blackman, company F, all of the Fourteenth Maine, and are commended for rare bravery.

Acting Ordnance-Sergt. Long, Quartermaster-Sergt. Gardner, and Commissary-Sergt. Jackman, all of the Fourteenth Maine, and all of whom borrowed guns and entered the ranks at the commencement of the action.

Capt. Chas. H. Manning, Fourth Massachusetts battery, who fought his battery admirably, and established his reputation as a commander. John Donaghue, Fourth Massachusetts battery, who brought off from the camp of the Seventh Vermont regiment their colors at the time of their retreat. Private John R. Duffee, Fourth Massachusetts battery; private Ralph 0. Royley, of Magee's cavalry, who together went into the field, hitched horses into a battery-wagon of the Sixth Massachusetts battery, and brought it off under the fire of the enemy. Lieut. Allyn, who had two horses shot under him; Lieut. Frank Bruce, Orderly-Sergt. Baker, Sergt. Watchter, Corp. Wood, and private George Andrews, all of the Sixth Massachusetts battery, for especial bravery, gallantry, and good conduct.

Sergeant Cheever and privates Tyler, Shields, and Clogston, of the Ninth Connecticut, for the skill and bravery with which they worked one of the guns of Nim's battery. Captain S. W. Sawyer, of company H, Ninth Connecticut, for his daring reconnoissance on the morning of the ninth, during which he found and secured three of the enemy's caissons, filled with ammunition.

By order of

Major-General Butler. Wm. H. Wiegel, First Lieutenant and A. A.A. General.

New-Orleans Delta narrative.

Baton Rouge, La., August 7, 1862.
my dear Capt. Clark: Though just from the field of battle, I cannot say that the smoke or glory can attach itself to my skirts; for though no matter what my fighting propensities may be, it was not my good fortune either to take part in the repulse of the Camp Moore army or in the destruction of the Arkansas. The latter I will dispose of à l'outrance, by asserting that it was a fair stand-up, knock-down and scratch-gravel fight between the two iron-clad nondescripts — the Union Essex and the rebel Arkansas. No matter what the rebels may say, it was a square fight. The Arkansas took the position of her choice, in a deep bend of the river, where she tied up, but with her starboard and port broadsides sweeping the river up and down, and her bow raking across, at the same time ready to dash across and plunge her bow into any vessel attempting to pass in front of her. Porter, of the Essex, with a seaman's instinct, saw this plan of the enemy, and wisely laid below, but not more than three hundred yards distant, whence she plunged solid nine-inch shot into the Arkansas, till, a favorable breach being made in her bow, just under her ports, an incendiary shell was exploded in the breech, instantly setting the Arkansas on fire. Her bow, where the shell burst, being the windward end, in a few minutes the Navy who were so fortunate as to be present at this last naval combat of two iron-clads, had the satisfaction of seeing the crew of the rebel scuttling on shore, while the flames were bursting out on every side. But be it understood and recorded, all this time the Arkansas was fighting her battery, till her fast burning off, she floated into the middle of the river, where in a little while she blew up. Let no credulous or unbelieving rebel flatter his soul that this was not the Arkansas that was sunk and destroyed. So much for the naval part of the affair — important, as enabling the gunboats to act without impediment with the land forces.

The battle of Baton Rouge may be characterized as one of the most soldier-like, skilfully-planned fights of this war. Gen. Williams, with his well-known abilities as a leader, scorned to rally behind houses and fences, and taking in with one glance the plan of the enemy's attack, made all his preparations to resist and oppose them.

Two highways run out of Baton Rouge--one above and one below on each side of the town. About a mile and a half, a road cuts these two roads at right angles, while extending from road to road is a large cemetery, facing towards the city, and looking directly into the camps of the Indiana, Massachusetts and Connecticut regiments. The front of this cemetery is fenced with paling, while the cemetery is thickly strewn with large tombs, and overgrown with high rank weeds. This was the position of the rebel centre. Our centre was composed of the Indiana Twenty-first, the Massachusetts and Connecticut, drawn up on the opposite side of the roads, and not more than forty-five rods distant. The rebel right approached, through corn-fields and over a rolling country, attacked with great impetuosity the Fourteenth Maine's camp, and drove them out, burning and pillaging the camp in a few minutes. [307] The Fourteenth Maine rallied, and supported by the Massachusetts and Nim's battery, returned to the attack, and drove the enemy back with great slaughter. The fiercest part of the conflict at this tide of the battle occurred before and within a house which the rebels obstinately determined to get possession of. The most conspicuous of the rebels at this place was a huge negro, armed and equipped with knapsack, musket and uniform. He led the rebels, and met his death at the hands of one of our men. Pressed back by our left, and our ground regained, the battle raged in front with desperate fierceness. So silently did the rebels approach, and so well were they concealed, that they were in the cemtery and drawn up in battle array without our knowing it. With a yell they rushed up to the fence, dashed through it and across the road, bearing every thing before them. At one time the opposing forces were hand to hand, and our handful of men were driven out of their camps and back into the town; but rallied on every hand by their officers and the cool daring of Gen. Williams, assisted by the gunboats that began to fire shell on each flank with perfect accuracy and deadly effect, our troops bravely rushed to the front and down the entire rebel centre, back across the road into and beyond the cemetery, from which they were not able again to emerge. Four times they made desperate efforts to come out from behind the tombs and cross the road, but each time they were driven back, until finally they were in full panic retreat. Our own men were too much exhausted to pursue. On our right, in the mean time, the rebels under General Clarke made a desperate effort to flank us, and get in our rear. It was here that the admirable generalship of Williams displayed itself. Anticipating this very movement, he had placed Manning's battery of six pieces, supported by the Wisconsin and Vermont regiments, while the Michigan regiment was strongly posted at the crossing of the roads, and commanding the entire approach of the enemy's left. Here the battle raged fiercely, and after the rebels' flank movement was repulsed and driven back, not to return. Here it was that the gallant General fell at the head of the Indiana and Michigan regiments; but not before victory had lighted up that fine manly face with its glow of triumph. I am convinced that had Williams not fallen, he would have destroyed the whole of the rebel forces. By ten A. M. all firing had ceased, and the enemy had retired with haste, and left over three hundred of his dead on the field of battle. Every one of his dead was buried by our men, except many who died in the retreat, or were killed by the long-reaching shells of our gunboats. The field presented evidences of the desperation of the combats at the crossing of the roads, where the rebels had endeavored to flank us, and where they were met by the Indiana and Michigan regiments. The men fought hard. Those who had lost their arms tore up the rails from the fences. More than one rebel was found dead who had been killed in this way. In one spot behind a beautiful tomb, with effigies of infant children kneeling, twelve dead rebels were found in one heap. Every where they strewed the earth, and made ghastly the quiet graveyard under which they soon lay, victims to a madness which, if much longer persisted in, will make the entire land red with blood; for the rebellion must be crushed, if we have to use the last, most certain, but most fatal weapon left us. Let us pray that they will not force us to this last dread alternative — that they will return to reason in time, and dismiss the bitter hatred which they nourish in their hearts against us. Let them remember that as “love begets love,” so do scorn and hatred beget their like; and let them be assured that it will be a sorry day for Southern homes when the fierce fires of rage and hate begin to burnt in the Northern heart. I am convinced that as yet there is little of that feeling existing; but it will come.

To return to our feeble account of this battle. The enemy were repulsed; their short-lived Arkansas blown to atoms, in retreat and discomfiture they have returned to Camp Moore — ay, this time, those who have been practising guerrilla warfare and assassinating defenseless wounded soldiers, have been punished. The inhabitants of certain villages, who sit listless on the levee as a man-of-war passes up or down, spring into life and bring out the murderous double-shot gun to fire upon the hospital-ships — these gentry will find that they can be made to suffer and feel. Our gallant army at Baton Rouge, in their first battle, have behaved like veterans. Let us praise the living and mourn the dead, and cry: “Long live the Republic! Death to traitors and aristocrats! Death to the man who stabs our common mother, the Union!” If she must die, let us all die with her. Let not a man, woman or child live after her.

A soldier's account.

New-Orleans, August 9, 1862.
The troops were posted as follows, from right to left: Thirtieth regiment Massachusetts, Sixth Michigan, Twenty-first Indiana, Seventh Vermont, Fourteenth Maine, Ninth Connecticut, Fourth Wisconsin and Fourth Massachusetts battery posted on the left, supported by Ninth Connecticut, and Fourth Wisconsin; Everett's battery, Sixth Massachusetts, supported by Fourteenth Maine and Seventh Vermont; Second Massachusetts battery, Captain Nim, supported by Twenty-first Indiana;------battery, supported by Sixth Wisconsin and Thirtieth Massachusetts.

The Fourteenth Maine, Twenty-first Indiana and Sixth Wisconsin, were the first regiments engaged. They held in check about eight thousand confederates for about one hour, when they were forced back a quarter of a mile, the confederates occupying their camps, which they destroyed. (On account of a heavy fog, the Seventh Vermont, Ninth Connecticut and Fourth Wisconsin were not able to ascertain the exact position of the enemy, and were of but very [308] little service until the new line was formed.) Capt. Nim, Capt. Everett, and the battery on the right, and two pieces of the Fourth Massachusetts on the extreme left, opened a murderous fire from their batteries, which was returned with spirit by the confederates. The battle raged without a moment's intermission, and with great severity, for two hours. During this time nothing but a continual roar of artillery, the rattle of musketry, the shouts of the combatants, and the groans of the wounded and dying, was to be heard. Capt. Nim's battery was compelled to fall back, his guns being so hot it was impossible to use them. He took his position on the left of the Twenty-first Indiana, and ordered water to be brought to cool his guns. While thus engaged, three regiments of the confederates charged the Twenty-first Indiana, and one regiment charged Capt. Nims. General Williams, perceiving the perilous position of the regiment, and knowing the consequences of having the centre broken, took his position at the head of the regiment, and gave the command to prepare to charge. The regiment fired three volleys, (the battalion having breech-loading rifles,) and allowed the confederates to approach within a few rods. General Williams then gave the command, “Forward! Double-quick!” and with a deafening cheer they rushed to the charge. The shock of two such masses advancing, shook the entire field.

The struggle was fierce, and the killed and wounded on both sides numerous. General Williams fell, shot through the heart. This was the signal for a general onset on both sides. Capt. Nim lost two of his guns, but charged with his sabres and revolvers and retook them. The Twenty-first regiment repulsed three times their own number, and drove them back in confusion. I was at this time detached with the first platoon of our company, (Fourth regiment Wisconsin,) to skirmish on the extreme left of the line, to prevent a surprise on our flank. I took a position one mile outside the old picket-lines, in true Yankee style — behind stumps and trees. The rebels did not think it safe to honor us with a shot. We were fired at, however, by some of our pickets, who were driven in from the front, they mistaking us for rebels. They also reported us to the gunboat Essex as rebels, and she commenced shelling our lines: In riding in to correct the mistake, a shell burst directly behind me; my horse taking fright, I broke my stirrup, and fell heavily to the ground, and consequently was obliged to retire from the field.

The rebels were forced back one mile and a half, our forces occupying their original position. Our men lay on their arms during the day and night.

The confederate loss was heavy in killed and wounded. Our loss was about two hundred killed and wounded. Among them were several distinguished officers, whose names I did not learn.

On visiting a portion of the field on the morning of the sixth, I counted sixty-four confederate soldiers and a Colonel that were not yet buried, some twenty hours after the engagement. Prisoners taken report their force at from six thousand to ten thousand, while our force did not exceed two thousand five hundred.

The field-officers of the Fourth Wisconsin regiment showed great personal bravery. Lieut.-Colonel S. E. Bean, acting Colonel, retained his position at the head of his regiment during the entire battle. While standing with his hand on a fence, in a perfect shower of grape, a cannonball passed between him and the fence, and under his arm, but he did not change his position.

G. W. Porter, Corporal Fourth Wisconsin Regiment.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas Williams (26)
Nim (16)
Thomas Manning (11)
Charles Clarke (11)
A. S. Williams (9)
W. D. Porter (9)
J. N. Brown (9)
Everett (8)
Thomas W. Cahill (8)
N. M. Dudley (7)
J. C. Breckinridge (7)
George M. Ransom (6)
Trull (5)
John A. Keith (5)
D. G. Farragut (5)
C. A. R. Dimon (5)
H. O. Whittemore (4)
C. W. Roberts (4)
A. Nickerson (4)
Charles H. Manning (4)
Henry H. Elliott (4)
William Carruth (4)
B. F. Butler (4)
John C. Breckinridge (4)
Gideon Welles (3)
R. C. Tyler (3)
F. A. Roe (3)
Frederick M. Norcross (3)
Eugene Kelty (3)
W. H. French (3)
R. S. Davis (3)
Cheever (3)
G. F. Whitcomb (2)
G. Weitzel (2)
J. F. Tenney (2)
Silas W. Sawyer (2)
A. T. Ralph (2)
Noblet (2)
Magee (2)
Howell (2)
James Grimsley (2)
W. H. Gardner (2)
William Corruth (2)
Clogston (2)
Charles E. Clark (2)
Callum (2)
S. E. Bean (2)
Allyn (2)
Yerger (1)
William F. Wood (1)
William H. Wiegel (1)
Westfield (1)
H. C. Wells (1)
George Webster (1)
Watchter (1)
Thayer (1)
J. R. Taylor (1)
Symms (1)
H. K. Stevens (1)
Starke (1)
Spitzer (1)
Soule (1)
Snow (1)
James Shields (1)
Shield (1)
Charles B. Seely (1)
J. N. Seavy (1)
George Scott (1)
David Porter Rosenmitla (1)
S. G. Rogers (1)
R. R. Riley (1)
H. T. Reid (1)
Preble (1)
G. W. Porter (1)
D. D. Perkins (1)
William G. Paine (1)
E. O. C. Ord (1)
Nims (1)
J. H. Metcalfe (1)
McMillan (1)
Charles McKenzie (1)
Long (1)
Matthew A. Latham (1)
Isaac Knight (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Jackman (1)
W. G. Howe (1)
Silas Howe (1)
Alfred T. Holt (1)
A. F. Holt (1)
Alexander Hays (1)
James S. Haynes (1)
R. B. Hayes (1)
Milton A. Hall (1)
John Haley (1)
Gardener (1)
Fassett (1)
Charles Fairfax (1)
Edminster (1)
John R. Duffee (1)
John Donaghue (1)
Doc (1)
Corden (1)
Clinton (1)
George W. Clarke (1)
Beverly L. Clark (1)
Benjamin F. Butler (1)
Frank Bruce (1)
Brooks (1)
John A. Boyington (1)
A. Blackman (1)
Bickmore (1)
Bernard (1)
Bauer (1)
Henry T. Batchelor (1)
James Baker (1)
George Andrews (1)
Charles Allen (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
4th (6)
August 7th, 1862 AD (5)
August 6th, 1862 AD (4)
August 5th (3)
5th (3)
August 9th, 1862 AD (2)
August 6th (2)
August 15th, 1862 AD (1)
August 10th, 1862 AD (1)
1837 AD (1)
August 4th (1)
9th (1)
6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: