Report of Lieutenant J. L. Faris, Clark (Missouri) Battery.
HEADQUARTERS CLARK BATTERY,
Baldwyn, Miss., September 24, 1862.
COLONEL: After having marched out on several occasions with the expectation of meeting the enemy, and having been disappointed in each instance, at length, upon the evening preceding the evacuation of Iuka, the Clark Battery, attached to the Second Brigade, First Division, District of the Tennessee, was ordered to advance in company with the brigade out upon what is called the New Road to Bay Springs. Proceeding as rapidly as possible in that direction, our farther advance was soon checked by the appearance of the Federals upon the high ridges 1 or 1 1/2 miles distant from town. By order of Brigadier-General Hebert the first section of the battery, under the immediate command of Lieutenant Faris, was sent forward up the road to take possession of an eminence commanding the ridges upon which the Federals were advancing. The second section, under command of Lieutenant Johnston, took position commanding the open fields on the right of the road. The first section, while being advanced by hand up the hill, was received by a hot fire from the enemy's skirmishers at short range, but fortunately sustained no damage therefrom. There being no support near, it was deemed best to retire until the skirmishers were driven back and the position of the enemy more definitely ascertained. The section accordingly fell back below the brow of the hill about 150 yards and again went into battery. Our line of infantry was ordered forward to drive the skirmishers from their position, which after a sharp fire was successfully accomplished.
In the mean while Lieutenant Johnston, with his section, on the right of the road, sent a few case-shot among the enemy with good effect, as was manifest by the disorder they created. They, however, soon retired out of his range.
The first section was again ordered to take position on the hill previously mentioned, which was done as soon as possible, and immediately a heavy fire of canister and case shot was opened upon the advancing columns of the enemy. The men worked at the pieces coolly and calmly, taking good aim, every shot producing a telling effect, the first discharge from one of the pieces, as we were informed by prisoners, killing 6 men outright. As long as the enemy was visible the firing was continued with fine effect, but they soon ceased to show themselves by bodies in our line of fire and our discharges were confined to an occasional shot. At length our whole line was ordered to charge, and our own men being thus thrown between us and the enemy, we were unable to use our guns. The section remained for some time under a terrific storm of grape-shot and Minie balls (which also swept through the second section beyond), unable to do anything, and at length was ordered to retire out of range by General Hebert, our presence being no longer necessary at this point.
Our next position was on the right of the road at the point formerly occupied by the second section. Here we remained until morning, when we were ordered to take up the line of march for this place.
The battery entered into this engagement with a force present of 71 men, non-commissioned officers and privates, a large detail having been left in camp for cooking rations, &c.