Night was now closing in, and our men, tired, exhausted, and hungry, lay down on the field in the line of battle formed by the Fourth Division for the defense of the Landing, and rested on their arms during the heavy rain-storm of that night.
Early next morning we formed again with our brigade and advanced to support our forces, which had attacked and were slowly but steadily driving back the enemy. During the forenoon we kept close behind our advancing column, ready to offer support to any of our wavering flanks. In the afternoon I received your order to move rapidly forward to the center and form with the brigade for the final charge upon the enemy. Taking our position in the line, we moved forward in double-quick in fine order, hoping to give the last charge to the flying rebels; but when had passed beyond our outposts and on to the hill the enemy had gone too far for us to reach them, and the pursuit was given over to the cavalry.
I cannot bestow too much praise upon the brave conduct of both officers and men of my command during this long and hard-fought battle. They were called out in the early morning of Sunday so unexpectedly that they had hardly completed their breakfast, and left without haversacks, and in very many cases without canteens, and remained on the open field during the two days with nothing to eat but a few crackers. At no time during the battle did the men show signs of fear or despondency. The rallied promptly to the colors at my call after the first bloody repulse, and never again during either day did they leave them or fail to obey my commands, even under the most deadly fire. By this steadiness and precision in all their movements they well earned the name of veteran soldiers. I am greatly indebted to Captains Rheinlander, Walker, and Poole for the promptness with which they brought their commands together after the first repulse and for the readiness with which they seconded all my commands during the hard fighting of Sunday, and to all the officers who were with me during both days for their coolness, promptness, and courage. Without them my efforts would have been unavailing.
Capt. George W. Saltzman, of Company A, became separated from the regiment after the first repulse, being on the extreme right, and covered entirely with the thick undergrowth. After vainly seeking for the regiment he went into the thickest of the battle on the left, joining the Sixteenth Wisconsin, and there, bravely fighting for his country, was shot through the heart. The regiment contained no more upright and faithful officer or purer patriot than he. Lieutenant Boren acted as adjutant, and was faithful in executing every order.
Surgeon Walker and Chaplain Heuring were in the hottest part of the field, active in their work of attention to the wounded.
Assistant-Surgeon White was at his post at the hospital. The band rendered valuable service in carrying off the wounded and ministering to their wants. Quartermaster Foster kept us supplied with ammunition,and secured all our regimental papers and baggage from the reach of the invading enemy.
Our loss of killed, wounded, and missing is 149, a list of which I attach to this report.*
JOHN W. FOSTER,
Major, Commanding Twenty-Fifth Indiana Volunteers.
Colonel J. C. VEATCH,
Commanding Second Brigade, Fourth Division.
*Nominal list of casualties omitted; but see revised statement, p. 103.