War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0339 Chapter X. ENGAGEMENT AT BELMONT, MO., ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

record, and I would be under personal obligations for such a statement for my own use as you may think proper. Please see Colonel Russell's report; he commanded our brigade.

I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,,

ED. PICKETT, JR.,

Colonel Twenty-first Regiment Tennessee Volunteers.

Major-General POLK.

Numbers 24. Report of Colonel Thomas J. Freeman, Twenty-second Tennessee Infantry, in reply to interrogatories from General Polk.

HDQRS. TWENTY-SECOND REGIMENT TENN., VOLS.,

February 23, 1862.

DEAR SIR; In reply to the questions propounded in your note of to-day [copy following], in reference to the battle of November 7, last, at Belmont, I submit the following reply:

In answer to question Numbers 1, "Was I ordered to charge bayonet," &c.? I reply, I was so ordered by General Pillow himself, under the following circumstances: My regiment was in the open field, but kneeling, and protected by a ridge that runs through the corn field in which we were posted from the balls of the enemy. General Pillow rode up in the rear of the left wing of my regiment and asked the question if we could not charge and drive the rascals out. Captain Lindsay, of Company B, replied that he thought we could. I made no reply. General Pillow then asked me the same question, directing it to me by name. I replied I would charge if he ordered me to do it. He then said he ordered me to charge. I immediately ordered my regiment to charge bayonet, which they did. We did not reach the enemy's position, but charged, I think, about 50 yards into the timber, over a fence, as we went. Before we reached the timber I think we had to pass over about 75 yards, crossing the fence mentioned. In crossing it my line was broken and the men went into the woods in great disorder, but rushing on gallantly. I remember as I rode into the woods-which I did immediately in rear of the men who were foremost in the charge-seeing the line of the enemy, which I think was at least 75 or 100 yards from my own men, and in the midst of a forest of heavy Mississippi bottom timber. My regiment did not reach the position of the enemy nearer than this, as an order was shouted along the line, coming from the left, to "Retire!" Whether the order came from General Pillow I do not know. The first I heard of it was as I plunged into the timber. A captain of mine was walking down towards the left wing shouting, "Retire; you are running into the fire of Pickett's men and the artillery," both of which were on my left. I ordered my men to go on and spurred my horse on. We then began,a s we entered the timber, to receive a most tremendous volley of musketry, and soon after the word passed down the line from the left to retire, and the men came back, passing me under a most tremendous fire. I give, as the reason why the men did not reach the enemy's position, the above order (whether received from General Pillow or not I have never learned), and the further fact that I believe we would have been compelled to retire in a few moments by the tremendous fire of the enemy, which for a time seemed almost entirely