War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0325 Chapter XXIX. CORINTH.

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Number 78. Report of Colonel Cyrus Hall, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, of engagement at Hatchie Bridge.


Hatchie Bottom, near Metamora, Tenn., October 6, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you as follows concerning my command in the battle of the 5th instant:

Being in camp, 2 miles west of Metamora, on the Memphis and Corinth road, on the morning of the 5th instant, at about 7 o'clock, I was ordered by Brigadier-General Veatch to move out in rear of the Forty-sixth Illinois (Colonel Davis). After marching nearly a mile in the direction of Corinth I was ordered by General Veatch to form my regiment in line of battle at right angles with the road and on the left of the Twenty-fifth Indiana (Colonel Morgan), throw out skirmishers, and advance. In this order I marched until near the summit of the ridge on which stands the village of Metamora. Here I halted while a battery was placed in advance and to my right. My skirmishers were thrown forward to the edge of a waste field on the opposite side of the ridge, where they were able to observe the movements of the enemy and had full view of his guns. A brisk cannonading ensued and my skirmishers reported the enemy moving a column of infantry to our left. Fearing he meditated an attack on my flank I requested Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers, commanding the Fifteenth Illinois, which was to my left and rear, to throw out skirmishers to the left, which he did. After the cannonading had continued half an hour I was ordered by General Veatch to advance and charge across a field which lay between my front and the enemy, the Twenty-fifth Indiana still on my right and the Fifteenth Illinois to my left and rear. This charge was handsomely executed to near the center of the field, when, being within our front. Here I commanded a halt and ordered my men to cease firing, being informed that a portion of the force in the woods were our own men. A heavy volley of musketry poured into my ranks convinced me that this was not the case, and I again gave an order to advance, which was instantly obeyed by every officer and soldier of my command.

Volley after volley of musketry was delivered into our ranks from the enemy concealed in the woods; but, undaunted, my men, with a defiant yell, pressed onward in double-quick over the fences and ditches, and soon possessed themselves of the cover of the enemy, he having fallen back across a narrow field to a strip of timber bordering on the Hatchie River. This being the extent to which the enemy could fall back, he poured a murderous and continuous fire into our ranks until we had advanced to within a few paces of the river bank. Here we captured several hundred prisoners and a number of small-arms.

I was then ordered by General Veatch to throw out skirmishers across the river, which I had hardly done when I was ordered to recall them that the woods might be shelled. My skirmishers being in, I immediately received an order from General Veatch to move my command across the river and form a line of battle on the left of the road and parallel with the river. I at once moved over the bridge by the right flank, and formed on the right by file into line in line of battle as