the Third Brigade from Iuka on the afternoon of the 2nd and went into camp near the fort designated as Battery F.
At daylight on the morning of the 3rd we were ordered to fall in line, and the regiment, under the command of the undersigned (Colonel Reid being sick and unable to assume command), marched to a position nearer the battery above named. On halting the Eleventh and Thirteenth were formed in line of battle fronting west, the Eleventh on the right and the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Iowa formed in close column by division, the first in rear of the Eleventh and the last in rear of the Thirteenth Iowa. Shortly after this disposition the firing in front, in which the Second Brigade was engaged, became general, and as they fell back the front of the Third Brigade (Crocker's) was changed, the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Iowa forming into line of battle at right angles to the previous line facing north and the Eleventh and Thirteenth formed in close column by division in the rear. While here two companies of the Thirteenth Iowa were sent as skirmishers to the front, and an order was given to change front, with the left of the division resting on Battery E and the right on the left of the Second Division (Davies'). This order was being executed by the Eleventh and Thirteenth Iowa and by the artillery posted near Battery F and was about to be executed by the Fifteenth and Sixteenth, when the skirmishers fell back before the enemy and the two regiments remained in line of battle to protect the formation of the new line above named. In a few moments (it being about 3 o'clock) the enemy came regularly on in line of battle, their left appearing through the thick underbrush to be nearly opposite the right of the Fifteenth and the left of the Sixteenth. The regiment was ordered by me not to fire until the enemy came near enough to be easily distinguished. This order was obeyed. Both fired at the same instant and both in full volleys, ours being promptly given and that of the enemy with less regularity. Our men fell back a few steps for an instant, reloaded, and from the first fought like veterans. For three-quarters of an hour they contended with an immensely superior force, and when the order was given by Colonel M. M. Crocker, brigade commander (who was on the field, in the immediate vicinity of the Fifteenth, throughout the action), to fall back to effect a union with the new line, it had to be frequently repeated before it was obeyed, and the tenacity and unflinching courage with which the men of my regiment clung to their position to the last deserves especial mention. The new line was formed promptly and in perfect order, and the first day's fight was over.
I cannot too highly commend the bravery and courage of the officers and men of the regiment, and am convinced that had the whole brigade been together in the fight the repulse of the enemy would have been complete on that part of the field.
The loss of the regiment was heavy. Out of about 350 men engaged our loss was 11 killed (among them 3 officers), 65 wounded,* and 8 missing.
The friends of the gallant and lamented dead have the proud satisfaction of knowing that their lives were patriotically given to their country, and that their comrades, who loved them while living, will cherish their memory now that they are gone.
The three officers killed (First Lieutenant Eldredge of Company K, and Second Lieutenants Kinsman of Company C, and Cathcart of Company G) were among the best in the service. Though young-dauntless in fight and devoted to duty-their loss can hardly be overcome. Personally witnessing their conduct on the field, I can truly say they
*But see revised statement, p. 176.