I was near at hand and witnessed with great satisfaction the cool and steady advance of this brigade, and bear my willing testimony to the brave conduct of Colonel Smith and the entire brigade, officers and men.
W. T. SHERMAN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
No. 76. Report of Lieutenant. Colonel James Peckham, Eighth Missouri Infantry, of action at Russell's house, near Corinth, Miss., May 17.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH MISSOURI VOLUNTEERS,
On the Field, Three Miles Northeast from Russell's House.
SIR: I have the honor to report the conduct of the Eighth Missouri in the action of Saturday, May 17, for the possession of a place known as Russell's house. Russell's house is situated upon the summit of a rise of ground, or rather succession of ridges, about three-quarters of a mile from a partially-dry creek, which is located 1 1/4 miles from this camp.
We left here with two days' rations in haversacks at 3 o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday, May 17, in company with the other regiments of our brigade, taking our place in the rear of the column, and proceeded to the top of the hill this side of the creek, where we were halted. At this place I was ordered with my regiment to the front, where General Morgan L. Smith met me, and informed me that the pending fight was for the possession of Russell's house, beyond the creek; that I should march in column by company across the botton-land, and when beyond the creek deploy in line of battle. This order was executed. Previous to executing which, however, I caused Company B, Lieutenant Moffett, and Company G, Captain D. P. Grier, also Company A, Captain William A. Johnson, to deploy as skirmishers,the latter as a reserve. At the summit of the first ridge beyond the creek our skirmishers met the fire of the enemy's pickets, but they did not halt. I at once deployed Company L (a detachment of sharpshooters, under Captain Hugh Neill), who advanced upon the enemy's pickets. The latter retired, closely pursued by our skirmishers, but they were soon largely re-enforced, and severe fighting commenced about 200 yards from the creek. Between this point and Russell's house I caused Company E, Captain Dennis T. Kirby, and Company C, Lieutenant W. D. Murphy commanding, to deploy, which they did in excellent style and with admirable boldness. As the enemy retreated, which he did with great reluctance, he was re-enforced largely, and was, because of his superior numbers, enabled to flank us. I called upon Colonel Smith, Fifty-fourth Ohio, to protect our right, which he at once did by deploying two companies on that flank. As we neared Russell's house we met cross-firing from our left, and by order of General Smith I called upon Colonel Stuart to send two companies of the Fifty-fifth Illinois in that direction. I reserved my own companies remaining in line to strengthen my skirmishers in front. As we reached Russell's house I caused Company I, Captain A. Hart, to strengthen our skirmishers in front. Captain Hart deployed