No. 298. Report of Lieutenant Colonel William H. Luse,
Eighteenth Mississippi Infantry, of the battle of Malvern Hill.
IN THE FIELD, July 5, 1862.
DEAR SIR: It becomes my duty to report to you the action of the Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment in the engagement of July 1 near Charles City road:
Upon receiving your order to do so, the regiment, under the command of Colonel Thomas M. Griffin, started from its position in rear of our line of battle and took its position and participated in the engagement. Counter-marching, the regiment moved by the right flank, so as to receive protection of natural defenses against the enemy's batteries to our front, but was all the while exposed to a heavy and destructive fire from his batteries on our right. Just before reaching the scene of action Colonel Griffin fell wounded and was carried from the field. On reaching the foot of the hill upon whose crest rested the line of the enemy the regiment was thrown into line. While this was being done I sent Lieutenant Johnson and Private Edward Dunning, of Company C, to the front to locate the enemy's battery and infantry, who returned and reported accurately his position, and also reported that the only opening to be seen long enough in our line (at that time engaged) to admit of our entering was about 200 yards to our left. I accordingly marched the regiment to the left and then to the front, rising the hill, still partly masked by the regiment on my right. This was unmasked by an oblique movement to the left; which being accomplished, I moved the regiment forward to within short musket-range and opened on his batteries and infantry.
This position I occupied until twilight began to dim the field, when Lieutenant Buckles (Company E) informed [me] that all support had been withdrawn from our left, which I saw at a glance to be true. This unfortunate circumstances threw a more destructive fire into our left than veterans could be justly called upon to withstand, yet officers and men stood firm, and resolutely returned the enemy's fire from ranks now reduced by more than one-third of their former number. At this juncture the same officer reported the enemy moved around our left flank, whereupon I withdrew the regiment in line, firing in retreat.
Where the conduct of all was so satisfactory it is difficult to identify those to whom is due the credit of peculiar gallantry, but I feel it my duty to put upon record the heroism of some who displayed conspicuous gallantry. To Captain E. G. Henry on the right and Captain F. Bostick on the left wing, the former acting lieutenant-colonel, the latter major, the regiment is indebted for much of the order and steadiness which marked its action in this engagement. Each fell mortally wounded at his post while heroically in the discharge of the most dangerous and responsible duties. To Assistant Adjutant-General Inge, of Colonel Barksdale' staff, I would express my obligations for assistance upon the field, where his zeal, skill, and bravery inspired all who beheld him. So numerous were the instances in which non-commissioned officers and privates in the ranks distinguished themselves that it would be impossible to mention all in a report like this; but some there were whom the accidents of the battle threw under my immediate observation. Sergeant Smith (color-bearer) is deserving of the highest praise for his steadiness during the fight and considerate coolness after being wounded. Orderly-Sergeant Goodloe, Company C, for