War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0493 Chapter XXII. PITTSBURG LANDING, OR SHILOH, TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

too were unable to descry the concealed foe, and were only firing at the flash of the enemy's pieces.

Seeing that my men were being rapidly shot down, and having no reason to believe that we were inflicting equal injury upon the enemy, I gave the order to cease firing and to charge bayonets. Officers and men alike obeyed the order promptly. So dense and impenetrable became the thicket of undergrowth that after my men had boldly forced their way 20 or 30 steps into it, and if seeming impossible to make further progress, I again gave the order to commence firing.

The regiment now gradually fell back to the fence. Finding that the enemy were now opening a cross-fire upon us from our left, and seeing a large number of my small command killed and wounded, I deemed it my duty to order the regiment to fall back to the order side of the little farm, which was accordingly done in good order.

In this enequal conflict-unequal on account of the enemy's local position-the regiment sustained heavy loss. In this one action, out of little less than 300 we had lost in killed and wounded between 40 and 50 as brave and gallant men as ever risked their lives in the defense of a righteous cause. Adjt. J. P. Harris and Lieutenant W. J. Clarke, of Company I, and Lieutenant J. P. Spears, of company C, here fell severely wounded. As of the others, so I have the pleasure of bearing testimony for these; they did their duty well and nobly.

Having fallen back beyond the small farm, I halted the regiment and waited in the hope that the enemy would leave his covert and give us a fair fight. But he too fully appreciated his great advantage of position to give it up.

Remaining in this position a short time, having had nor order from your or our division commander, I received an order from General Bragg, transmitted through one of his staff, to advance again and attack the same position from which we had just withdrawn. Of course the order was obeyed without delay; but I requested the officer to say to the general that I thought it impossible to force the enemy from this strong position by a charge from the front, but that with a light battery playing on one flank and a simultaneous charge of infantry on the other the position could be carried with but small loss.

Again we advanced into the little farm, and again, when midway the clearing, the enemy opened fire upon us. Again we pressed on to the other fence directly in front of his ambuscade. Here we remained exposed to his merciless fire for over half an hour, without the power to inflict any apparent injury upon the hidden foe. In justice to my command I again ordered them to fall back, which was done in as good order as before.

In this second attack we had lost in killed and wounded 15 men of desperate courage and unflinching bravery. Among them Lieutenant M. Leverett, of Company D, mortally wounded, and Lieutenant John L. Maples, of Company B, slightly wounded. It would, under the circumstances, have been madness to have kept my command there longer.

I may be permitted to add, sir, that this formidable position of the enemy, after having withstood the repeated attacks of various regiments, was only carried at last by a charge upon the right flank, supported by a battery on the left.

After the enemy were driven from this stronghold we, with several brigades, moved toward the river. It was then night sunset.

In accordance with your order we commenced falling back about dusk, and, being separated from the brigade, I conducted the regiment to the camp of the enemy, where I had established a temporary hospital