Numbers 56. Report of Brigadier General Jacob G. Lauman, U. S. Army, commanding Third Brigade.
HDQRS. THIRD Brigadier FOURTH DIV., U. S. FORCES,
Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 9, 1862
GENERAL: I assumed command of the Third Brigade of your division, composed of the Seventeenth and Twenty-fifth Kentucky and Thirty-first and Forty-fourth Indiana Regiments, on Saturday morning, and on Sunday at 8 a.m. I received your orders to advance to the support of our troops, then engaged with the rebels. In twenty minutes the brigade was in line and moving to the front to the left of General W. H. L. Wallace's division and to the right of Willard's battery, when we formed in line of battle, with an open field on the left and a heavy growth of underbrush in front of us. We remained in this position about an hour, when our skirmishers came in and informed me that the rebels were advancing in line and would soon be upon us. I waited until I could distinctly see them advancing by the gleam of their bayonets about 100 yards distant, when I gave the order to fire, which at once checked their advance. They held their ground for some time, however, when they moved off to the right, where they had planted a battery, and under cover of which attempted to cross the open field. I immediately ordered the left wing to move up to the fence, and as soon as they came in short range opened fire on them, which soon caused them to fall back. Their loss here and in the front was very heavy, the ground being literally covered with their dead. To add to the horrors of the scene the woods caught fire, and dead and dying were soon enveloped in a general conflagration. The rebels continuing to move to the right, so as to endanger Willard's battery, I received your order to move the brigade to the left, so as to check their movements in that direction. The movement was executed in fine order, and here we held our position until 4 o'clock, fighting against vastly superior numbers, until the batteries on the right and left of us had retired. The rebels now brought up a section of light artillery, which they brought to bear on us, and continuing their movement to the right, thereby endangering our left flank, and being without support, I was obliged to fall back, which we did in good order, reforming about a mile to the rear, which position we held until next morning, resting on our arms during the night. The men suffered from want of wood and the inclemency of the weather, but their ardor was unabated, and although with diminished numbers, when your order came in the morning to advance to the support of the right wing, they moved forward with the energy of men determined to conquer.
Under the guidance of your aide, Lieutenant Long, we proceeded to the extreme right, and found the rebels engaged in a fierce contest with General McClernand's division. We immediately formed in line and assisted in driving them back, and, after a long contest, in driving them from the field with great loss. Here I reformed my broken ranks, and finding the rebels now in full retreat, pursued by other and fresher troops, I received your orders to get my brigade into camp and make them as comfortable as possible. They needed rest and refreshment, having been under arms for nearly thirty-six hours.
When I come to speak of the gallantry and bravery of the officers and men of my command I find great difficulty in finding language strong enough to express my feelings on the subject, and can only say that they fought from morning until night like veterans. Well may