low the direction taken by the infantry, which I did by crossing a deep hollow and making the best of my way up the opposite hill. Here I fortunately met General Cheatham and requested him to assign me a position. His command at this moment was at a halt. The enemy had a battery vigorously engaged with one of ours on our left oblique. He being directly in front, his position was about 400 yards across an open field, and his pieces could be distinctly seen glittering in the sun. The general ordered me to the front and to open fire immediately.
I cannot repress the belief that now ensued an artillery duel equal in interest to anything of the kind during the whole course of the action. As soon as the contest began all parties seemed to silently await the result. We had some advantage of the ground, the curve of the surface being nearer us, thereby causing their shot to ricochet over us, while ours might fall directly among them. I attributed our miraculous escape either to this circumstance or the habitual high shooting of the enemy, for their missiles passed, with a perfect range, over us at from 5 to 20 feet high. We soon made him restless in that position, and our gunners had more than once to change the direction of their aim.
They, however, showed a perseverance to dislodge us as daring as unexpected, for, running a piece around and coming upon our right oblique, they opened upon us from about 150 yards distance. I ordered every gun at once to bear upon this one, and a few rounds soon stopped its mouth. A few more rounds were then discharged to the front, but their fire was by this much slackened, and soon ceased altogether. It was now time for the infantry to take up the fight, which they did by charging right through our battery, compelling us to cease firing.
I then gave the order to retire more to the rear, to avoid the hailstorm of balls that soon fell around from the heavy volleys of opposing musketry, as well as to allow time for the men to rest after such hard work.
The list of casualties in this day's operation, I am glad to say, was small in proportion to the numbers engaged. I had 70 men exposed to fire, 8 of whom were wounded, some severely, but none dangerously; 3 horses were also killed.
I cannot mention any individual instances of gallantry where all seemed to deserve notice. Every man stood manfully to his post, and the gunners worked their pieces with admirable coolness, sometimes waiting to be told they were wasting time.
Inclosed you will find the operations of the battery on Monday, under orders of First Lieutenant Darden, upon whom the command devolved after my wound disabled me.
I have the honor to be, yours, respectfully,
W. L. HARPER,
Captain Jefferson Artillery.
Numbers 223 Report of Lieutenant Put. Darden, Jefferson Artillery.
CAMP, NEAR CORINTH, MISS., April 10, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the morning of April 7 I took command of the company agreeably to your orders.