War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0484 KY., TENN., N. MISS., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.

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[CHAP. XXII.

until the officers reported many of their men as having exhausted their ammunition. Such was the case with Colonel Fagan's regiment, with which I was at the time. The loss of officers of every grade, and or men had been heavy; most of the mounted officers had their horses killed. My chief staff officer and assistant, Lieutenant Ben. King, was mortally wounded; and the next, Lieutenant H. H. Bein, was severely injured. Mr. Pugh was dismounted, and the detail of cavalry with me had disappeared. The regiments were very large, and the growth so thick as to prevent any one from seeing, or being seen, but for a short distance. It was clear to all the commanding officers present and who had participated in the movements that we were but making a vain sacrifice of the lives of the troops.

Under this state of facts the command fell back to an open field, about 100 yards from the enemy's infantry fire, to reform and replenish ammunition. The regiments were rallied by their own officers. At this point officers came riding over the open field from the position where I understood General Bragg had been posted. They brought me orders to develop to the right; but as I was taking the necessary steps to do this, being without staff officers and without a horse, I was ordered to hold a position slightly to our rear, with the two right regiments, at all hazards, as the enemy was supposed to be advancing. With Colonels Fagan and Hodge I remained in this position for a short while, when I was informed that General Bragg, hearing of General Johnston's death, had gone to the extreme right. The instant I ascertained this I again took charge of the whole command, moved forward, nor halted until I came near the river, where I met General Ruggles.

I received no more orders from General Bragg personally or through any of his staff officers, nor indeed from any superior officer, till I met General Ruggles. I do not feel that either I, as commanding the brigade, nor the officers commanding regiments during that two days' battle, deserve the censure we receive in the official report of General Bragg for the part we took while executing his orders; and I confidently believe that an investigation of our conduct throughout will show that we did our duty. The success we met with elsewhere on the field and in the conflict on Monday, the second day, when co-operating with the troops of Generals Polk and Cheatham, as officially reported by them, entitles us, I think, to some claims for a fair hearing.

I have the honor to remain, very respectfully,

RANDALL LEE GIBSON,

Colonel Thirteenth Louisiana Volunteers.

[Indorsement.]

Respectfully submitted to Secretary of War, with an extract of report of General Bragg, to which Colonel Gibson takes exception. This is not time to assemble courts of inquiry to examine into cases of personal or official difficulties between officers, the Army being engaged in matters in which the whole Confederacy is most deeply interested. If this were not the case, I question if the interested. If this were not the case, I question if the interest of the service would justify the assembling a court of inquiry in this particular case. Please see General Orders, Numbers 76, current series.

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

Indorsement of the Adjutant and Inspector General approved.

By order:

J. A. CAMPBELL,

Assistant Secretary of War.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1863.