War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0340 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

Search Civil War Official Records

concentrated at this point on my regiment; and my men would have had, from the place we started in the field, to charge, I think, between 150 and 200 yards to reach the enemy. He was not in view at the time we were ordered to charge, nor did we know his strength. In fact, the charge at the time into the timber was more like a plunge into the forest to ferret the enemy out and then drive him back, and it was because I could not see the propriety of the charge at the time that I made no reply to the general question of General Pillow, asking if we could not charge and drive the rascals-perhaps damned rascals-out. I thought it best to wait in my protected position in the field until the enemy came out, as he would have soon done in advancing upon us, and as soon as he was clear of the protection of the timber to have poured in my fire and then to have charged him and have driven him back, especially if my fire had produced confusion in his ranks as I think it certainly would at point-blank range and in plain view. I think the charge was ill-judged and almost impossible to have been executed with success against an enemy in such number as he soon after developed and as I felt assured he had at the time the order was given me and the at the same time enjoying the protection of the heavy timber for his men.

Second question: "Were your ordered to charge or make more than one charge?" I answer, I have no knowledge of any other order to charge bayonet than the one I have referred to. We advanced on the enemy, firing for a short time in the fight in the timber in the woods near the river, about the time or just before he commenced to retire, but I do not think there was any order given, as far as I am informed, to charge bayonet.

Third question: As to getting out of ammunition, I answer, I think some of my companies had got short of ammunition when we got back to the river, and filled up their cartridge-boxes at the river, but I was never informed that there was any ammunition to be had by any one. One of my lieutenants, and perhaps some other officers, saw ammunition being landed from a boat, and helped themselves to it and distributed it to their men. I don't think any company was out of ammunition entirely during the day.

In answer to the fourth question: At the time of the charge ordered by General Pillow I should say I certainly had in my companies an average of at least twenty-five rounds of ammunition to each man, some more and perhaps some less, but I hardly think there was any man who had less.

Fifth: As to the judiciousness of the position selected for the line of battle, I reply that I had the opinion at the time that no worse arrangement of our forces could have been made on the ground than was made and that opinion is confirmed by an examination of the ground since the battle. It is difficult to present the objections to the propriety of the position without a map of the field, as perhaps the objection that best applies may be stated in general terms to be that there was a total failure to take advantage of any protection that is abundantly furnished by the nature of the ground immediately in our rear, or to take any advantage of such protection at all, except that Lieutenant-Colonel Bell's regiment, I think, was placed on the extreme right, and protected by taking position in a narrow ravine with a ridge in front. Perhaps Colonel Tappan's regiment may have been somewhat protected. My own regiment (the Twenty-second Tennessee) and Colonel Pickett's (the Twenty-first Tennessee) were placed in an open corn field. The Twenty-second was posted in front of a rise in the ground behind which I ultimately placed them, the left extending from the