Numbers 22. Report of Colonel August Mersy, Ninth Illinois Infantry (of the Second Brigade, Second Division).
HEADQUARTERS NINTH REGIMENT ILLINOIS INFANTRY, Pittsburg Landing, April 13, 1862.
SIR: The following is a report of the part taken in the action of the 6th and 7th instant by the Ninth Regiment Illinois Infantry, which I have the honor to command:
About 8 o'clock on Sunday morning, there having been heavy firing in progress for some time previously along the left or center of our lines, the regiment was ordered to form and await orders. We formed with the brigade on the open ground near the camp of the Second Iowa Infantry, and found our force to be an aggregate of 600 officers and men. At 9 o'clock the regiment, in company with the Twelfth illinois Infantry, were ordered by Brigadier-General McArthur to a part of the lines about one-fourth of a mile in advance of General Hurlbut's headquarters. We there formed, and afterward marched about half a mile by the left flank, when we encountered a heavy force of the enemy, strongly posted in a deserted camp and skirt of timber.
While taking up a position in a ravine to the left of the Twelfth Illinois we received a severe fire of musketry and shell, which killed and wounded a number of men. After taking up this position we maintained a steady and destructive fire upon the enemy for an hour and thirty minutes, when our ammunition began to fail, and at the same time a most murderous cross-fire poured into our ranks from the left, which we were unable to silence by a partial change of front of the two left companies. We were then compelled to fall back some five hundred yards to the rear. The enemy were constantly re-enforced during this period, and fresh regiments were seen deploying to relieve those which had been some time under fire. Our loss up to this time was about 50 killed and over 200 wounded. We were ordered at this time by General W. H. L. Wallace, commanding our division, to retire to our camp, replenish the cartridge-boxes, clean the guns, and be in readiness for action as speedily as possible.
At about 3 o'clock p. m. we were again ordered forward to support the right wing of General Sherman's division. Here we again entered action, our regiment numbering about 300 men, and for about an hour aided in checking the advance of the enemy's force, disputing the ground inch by inch, until compelled to retire on account of a flank movement of the rebels and a destructive artillery fire, in all which the enemy suffered terribly.
On Sunday night the regiment laid in line of battle near the camp of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, on the main road leading to Pittsburg Landing, and during the greater part of Monday were stationed as a reserve on the right of the Forty-first Illinois Infantry. At about 4 o'clock we were ordered forward, but the enemy having been driven from our lines, we were ordered to return and re-enforce the position of Colonel Marsh, after which we were ordered to our camp.
The gallantly of all the officers under my command admits of no discrimination, and I bear cheerful testimony to the heroic courage and fortitude with they, without exception, stood the enemy's fire, the severity of which is fully attested by the loss of our regiment. This terrible destruction was only caused by the most determined bravery, such as I have never seen equaled.