Ninth Mississippi Regiment, and called on them to follow. With a wild shout the whole brigade rallied to the charge, and we drove the enemy back and reoccupied our first position of the morning, which we held until the order to retreat was received, when we fell back in good order, the enemy not daring to pursue. Colonel Wheeler, of the Nineteenth Alabama Regiment Volunteers, was, with a small remnant of his regiment, fighting with the Mississippians, on foot himself, and bearing the colors of his command.
In this last charge, so gallantly made, the Ninth Mississippi sustained a heavy loss in the fall of its brave commander, Lieutenant. Colonel William A. Rankin, who fell mortally wounded after having led his men fearlessly throughout the whole of the first and second day. Most of my command behaved well. Colonel R. A. Smith, of the Tenth Mississippi Regiment, was particularly distinguished for his bold daring, and his clarion voice could be heard above the din of battle cheering on his men.
Major F. E. Whitfield, of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, led the skirmishers during Sunday, and deserves great credit for his courage and coolness. He was wounded in the hip early on Monday morning, and taken from the field. Colonel Fant and Major Stennis, of the Fifth Mississippi Regiment, and Lieutenant-Colonel Mayson, commanding the Seventh Mississippi, were all conspicuous in the thickest of the fight. All the Mississippians, both officers and men, with a few exceptions, elsewhere reported, behaved well. The Fifty-second Tennessee, except two companies under Captains J. A. Russell and A. N. Wilson, who fought with the Fifth Mississippi, behaved badly. Gage's battery did manful service on the 6th, but on the 7th was not in the fight.
I cannot conclude without mentioning the signal service rendered me by the gentlemen of my staff. To Capt. Henry Craft, assistant adjutant-general, I am greatly indebted for the order and system established in a new brigade, composed very largely of troops never before placed in brigade, and having but little knowledge of their respective duties. On the field he rendered all the service required of him, and had his horse slightly wounded when bearing an order. First Lieutenant. George T. Banks, aide-de-camp, was always at his post, and in a most fearless manner discharged all the duties of his hazardous position. First Lieutenant. W. T. Stricklin, adjutant of the Third Mississippi Regiment, who made his escape from Fort Donelson after its surrender, being ordered to report to me for duty, was placed on my staff as acting inspector-general, and bore himself gallantly during the fight.
Captains R. S. Crump, acting commissary of subsistence, and James Barr and Lieutenant. M. M. Shelley, both of the late Tenth Mississippi Regiment, rendered me efficient service as volunteer aides. William A. Rains, sergeant-major, and Fleming Thompson, private in Company K, both of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, two brave Mississippi boys of but seventeen years of age, accompanied me on horseback, and in the absence of staff officers bore orders under the heaviest of the fire. Sergeant-Major Rains deserves especial notice for having carried an order with promptness and precision on Sunday evening, when we were attacking the batteries, under the heaviest fire that occurred during the whole engagement.
I must also acknowledge the valuable assistance rendered by our guide, Mr. Lafayette Veal, of McNairy County, Tennessee, who remained with us closely, and was ever ready to give any information and aid in his power. Without him our movements would have been comparatively in the dark and much retarded, while with his guidance