No. 26. Report of Captain John A. Buckner, Assistant Adjutant-General, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade,* First Division.
HEADQUARTERS IN THE FIELD,
Comite River, Ten Miles from Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 9, 1862.
GENERAL: In compliance with your request I have the honor to submit the following report of the late engagement at Baton Rouge, so far as the First Brigade of the First Division was concerned, after its commanders, Brigadier-General Helm and subsequently Col. Thomas H. Hunt, were wounded, and I had the honor to receive the command at your hands:
The enemy had been repulsed from one of his encampments, and the different regiments constituting the First Brigade were drawn up in line in one of his camps, not, however, fully deployed. After moving the two regiments on the left of the brigade by the flank to the left the whole were formed in line of battle and were ordered to advance. The movement was spiritedly made up to the second encampment, through a somewhat sharp volley of musketry, in as good style as the broken and confined limits of the ground would admit, and immediately the enemy was hotly and determinedly engaged. After a few volleys I ordered the brigade forward, which order was being obeyed promptly by the Fourth and Fifth Kentucky (the other regiments being just in the act of advancing), when I received from General Clark the order to face about and retreat. This order was then given by myself and General Clark's aides. The troops fell back reluctantly and in not very good order, the general himself and a number of others being wounded in the retreat. I immediately reported to you to know whether you had ordered the retreat and was informed that you had not.
The Second Brigade of this division was then ordered by yourself to advance. It went up in good style, Captain Hughes, commanding Twenty-second Mississippi Regiment, leading them gallantry. By your presence and assistance the First Brigade was rallied and led by yourself in person to the same position from which it had fallen back, when it joined with the Second Brigade and moved conjointly the third second encampment, driving the enemy before them through the third and last of their camps to the river, under cover of their gunboats. This being accomplished, which was all that was expected of the land force, the Arkansas failing to make her appearance, nothing remained but to destroy what had been captured (inasmuch as no arrangement had been made for bearing it off, though the battle-field was in our possession sufficiently long), and retire from the range of the enemy's heavy batteries on the river. Accordingly you gave me the order to withdraw the division out of range of the fire of the fleet to await the movements of the gunboat Arkansas. This was done in good order, though with some degree of reluctance, the cause of the movement not being fully understood. Your order to fire the enemy's tents and stores was well executed. Their loss must have been very heavy in quartermaster's and commissary supplies, and particularly so in sutler's stores, considerable quantities of new goods and general equipments being burned.
The position in which you left me, near the house where General Clark lay wounded, was held more than two hours after the main body
*In returns of casualties this is called the Second Brigade.