No. 77. Report of Colonel Thomas D. Sedgewick, Second Kentucky Infantry, commanding Twenty-second Brigade, of skirmish at Widow Serratt's, near Corinth, Miss., May 21.
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-SECOND BRIGADE,
Camp near Corinth, Miss., June 20, 1862.
SIR: On the morning of the 21st instant [ultimo], having received orders to make a forced reconnaissance with my brigade in front of General Wood's division, I proceeded with the four regiments composing the brigade to Driver's house. Here I was joined by a battery of artillery and a squadron of cavalry from General Wood's division. Accompanied by Captains Gilbert and Gillem, of General Buell's staff, and several other officers, I rode forward and looked at the situation. I then ordered forward the brigade to a high, open ridge immediately in front of Generals Wood's and Sherman's divisions. Placing the First Kentucky Regiment on the left of the road leading to Corinth, the Twentieth Kentucky on the right, I ordered two companies from each regiment to be deployed as skirmishers. The ground on which the Twentieth Kentucky was placed was an open field, in front of a dense wood, occupied by the enemy. That occupied by the First Kentucky was a heavy wood. I gave the order to forward, and the skirmishers had scarcely deployed before they were opened upon by the enemy. They,however, pressed steadily forward until they gained a position in front of Widow Serratt's house. Here the skirmishers both on the right and left met with such a determined resistance, that they were forced to fall back a short distance. Here, seeing that our skirmishers had met with an overpowering force, I immediately ordered forward two additional companies from their regiments to their support, with orders to press forward. I then ordered forward tow sections of the battery and placed them in position on the high ridge commanding the woods in front occupied by the enemy,the cavalry in the rear. I also moved forward the Second Kentucky Regiment, and placed it in position behind a fence in front of the artillery and in the rear of the ground occupied by the skirmishers of the Twentieth Kentucky, and the Thirty-first Indiana Regiment was moved into the woods on the left of the road in the rear of the First Kentucky. At this time the skirmishers on both sides were fiercely engaged-so much so that the reserves on our side had to be brought into action. The enemy seemed to be concentrating their forces with the intention of turning our left flank, which was held by three companies of the First Kentucky, under command of Captain Wheeler. Seeing his command hotly pressed, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson to move the remaining companies of his regiment by the left to his support, which was done promptly amid a shower of bullets from the enemy. I then ordered the artillery to open with shell upon the woods occupied by the enemy, who were endeavoring to turn our left, which was done under the superintendence of Captain Gillem, of General Buell's staff. The attack of the enemy on our left was furious, and fearful of a repulse at that point, I ordered forward five companies of the Thirty-first Indiana Regiment to the support. His fire seemed to increase instead of diminishing. The firing on both sides for three-quarters of an hour was fearful and the result of the contest seemed doubtful, but the enemy finally fell back and we gained possession of the point at which they attempted to turn our flank. Three times the enemy rallied and