Numbers 57. Report of Colonel Charles Cruft, Thirty-first Indiana Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTY-FIRST INDIANA VOLUNTEERS,
In the Field, Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 10, 1862
CAPTAIN: The following report of the part taken by the Thirty-first Regiment of Indiana Volunteers in the battle near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., on the 6th and 7th instant, is respectfully submitted:
On Sunday morning, 6th instant, about 7.30 o'clock, rapid volleys of musketry from camps to the front indicated the commencement of the battle. Soon an order was received from the general commanding brigade to form the regiment for action. In ten minutes it was in brigade line on the right. In a few moments thereafter the brigade was moved in column to the front along the Hamburg road. The regiment was formed in line of battle in the position indicated by Brigadier-General Lauman. At this time the battle was progressing actively upon the right and left of the main line. Soon the enemy attacked our brigade in great force and with much desperation. My line met the attack with perfect coolness and with a low and steady fire. Officers and men behaved handsomely. After the expenditure of some 30 rounds the enemy was repulsed. The advance was made up to within some 10 yards of my line, and the slaughter among the enemy in its front was terrible. A second attack was shortly made with increased fury. The line stood unbroken, however, and after exhausting nearly the last cartridge again repulsed the enemy. Here a slight cessation in the attack occurred, barely long enough to procure fresh ammunition from the rear. The boxes of the men were scarcely filled before the enemy were the third time upon us. The line stood firm, and again succeeded against superior numbers. There was now a short cessation of firing, during which the cartridge-boxes of the men were again filled. A fourth assault was soon made, which was gallantly repulsed, and the enemy withdrew, leaving my regiment, with the balance of the brigade, in position. The enemy, retreating, moved off toward the left of the main line.
During the action my regiment fired an average of about 100 rounds per man. The piles of the enemy's dead which were lying along our front when he retreated attested the accuracy and steadiness of the fire.
About 2 o'clock p.m. an order was received to move to the left. This was promptly executed. For some minutes the brigade was halted near the Hamburg road, to protect Willard's battery, that was then playing upon the enemy. The various regiments were then moved farther to the left, and my regiment ordered to the extreme left, and placed in position to await the expected attack. An Illinois regiment subsequently formed to our left and rear. The action soon commenced to our right. It was apparent, from the reports of skirmishers sent to the front and from observations, that the enemy were preparing to flank our line to the left in great force. This was shortly accomplished. Regiment after regiment marched up from a large ravine to the left, moving in echelon, in compact lines, with Confederate flags flying,in perfect order, as if on parade, and came steadily down upon our small front. An order was given for our left to advance. My regiment did so promptly. It was soon evident that the advance could not be sustained, in the absence of a reserve, against the overwhelming force of well-disciplined troops of the enemy. After my regiment had fired