War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0626 Chapter XXII. KY.,TENN.,N.MISS.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA.

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No. 229 Report of Colonel John A. Wharton, Texas Rangers (unattached).


Camp Beauregard, Corinth, Miss., April 12, 1862.

I have to report that, being left by General Beauregard to protect the left flank of the army, I proceeded on Sunday, the 6th instant, to the bridge across Owl Creek, near Hurly's, on the Purdy and Pittsburg road, where I halted my command, and dispatched Clinton Terry, esq., and J. M. Weston to General Beauregard to acquaint him with my position and to receive orders to control my future movements. I received through my messengers an order to cross Owl Creek and co-operate with the left of the army.

I passed over the brigade at 11 a. m. on Sunday, the 6th instant, and reported to General Hardee, who was in immediate command of the left. I was ordered to dismount the Rangers and protect a battery then opening upon the enemy. This was promptly done. The enemy apparently retired, and General Hardee ordered me to pursue them and intercept their retreat. Mounting the command, I promptly proceeded in the direction of what I supposed to be the fleeing enemy. I had not gone over 300 yards when the head of the column received a heavy fire from a large force of the enemy, who lay in ambush. Having been compelled to cross a very boggy ravine in single file, the rear of the regiment was full 400 yards off when myself and 20 or 30 of those in advance were under a very heavy fire from a concealed foe not 40 yards distant. it being impossible, from the nature of the ground, either to bring up the strength of the command or to form for a charge, I drew off the regiment in good order some 200 yards and formed it, having determined to dismount and fight the foe upon foot. Before this could be executed the infantry, which had been in our rear, was ordered forward, and after a very severe straggle succeeded in driving the enemy back. I then proceeded with the command to our extreme left, where I had discovered a battery without any support. After consultation with the officer in command of the battery, I determined to dismount the command and advance upon the enemy, who were at that time annoying the battery by a scattering fire. Having dismounted five companies, I threw them forward as skirmishers. The men behaved most gallantly and advanced upon the enemy in fine style, driving them before them through the camp which they were defending.

Soon after this the day closed, and I encamped upon the extreme left, near the battery which I had just been sustaining. Having thrown out a heavy picket in the direction of the enemy, the command lay upon their arms during the night, prepared for action on the morrow.

Monday, April 7.-The left flank of the army, with which my command was co-operating, fell back soon after daylight under an advance of the enemy.

At about 10 a. m. General Beauregard ordered me to charge the right of the enemy, which was pressing our left heavily. I proceeded with promptness to execute the order, if possible; to attempt it at all hazards. I was compelled, in order to reach a position to attack the right of the enemy, to pass by file through the woods down the sides of a ravine. This threw the head of the regiment 400 yards in advance of the rear. I had selected the ground upon which to form for the purpose of charging the right of the enemy, which was stationed in the woods, engaged in a severe struggle with our left. Upon rising an eminence that com-