No. 182. Report of Col. Alfred Mouton, Eighteenth Louisiana Infantry.
CAMP, NEAR CORINTH, MISS., April 12, 1862.
SIR: Herewith I respectfully submit a report of the part taken by the Eighteenth Louisiana Volunteers in the engagements of the 6th and 7th instant:
Leaving this camp at about 3 p.m. on the 3rd I reached the line of battle on the 5th at about 5 p.m.
Early on the 6th I was ordered to take position facing the enemy in an eligible location and await the arrival of the balance of the brigade. I advanced opposite to the enemy's camp and halted in a field about 400 yards distant therefrom. My skirmishers ascended the slope of the hill and exchanged shots with the enemy for about fifteen minutes, when the latter withdrew. I then pushed forward and perceived about 500 of the enemy in retreat. Anxious to intercept them, I rushed on at double-quick, but, unfortunately, our troops on the right mistook us for the enemy, owing, I presume, to the blue uniforms of a large number of my men, and opened on us with cannon and musket. This impeded my progress and brought me to a halt until a staff officer signaled to our troops to cease firing. On the cessation of the firing I moved on to the camp and captured 29 prisoners, who were placed in charge of Lieutenant. W. Prewcott, Company K, who transferred them to Col. Eli S. Shorter, Eighteenth Alabama, on receipt. But for this unfortunate occurrence the probability is I would have captured the whole number of the enemy that was fleeing.
Here 1 man was killed and Captain Huntington, Company H, and 3 privates were wounded by the fire of our friends.
Thence we moved onward to a deep ravine under cover from the enemy's shells; notwithstanding, Company F had 1 private killed and another wounded.
Thence, at about 4 p.m., I moved by the left flank through the continuation of the same ravine, with a view of charging the battery, which had been continuously firing on us. Before reaching a proper position, and while directly in front of the battery, distant from it about 600 or 700 yards, I received peremptory orders to move up the hill and charge the battery. The order was instantly obeyed. About 400 yards from the battery my line became entirely uncovered, and thence my regiment rushed forward alone at duble-quick toward the battery, being all the while exposed to an incessant fire both from the battery and its supports. At about 60 or 70 yards from the battery, which then commenced moving from its position and began to retreat, the enemy had opposed to my regiment, then numbering about 500, three regiments of infantry, two of which kept up an incessant cross-fire on my troops, and the third, as soon as unmasked by the battery, also opened upon us. Thus exposed, my men falling at every step, being unsupported and unable to accomplish the capture of the battery or the repulse of the enemy, I was compelled to retire, leaving my dead and wounded on the field.
Here 207 officers and men fell either dead or wounded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Roman and I had our horses shot under us.
I must add that, in my opinion, the order to charge the battery was prematurely given; that is, before our troops had taken proper position