War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0638 Chapter XXIX. WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

On the morning of the 29th commanding general directed that the attack should be resumed, and upon the enemy's center, by my division, re-enforced by that of Steele. I had the honor to submit my plan of attack, which was approved by general Sherman, and upon a general volley of the artillery of my division a general attack was to be made. I had directed Captain Patterson, engineer, to throw over the advanced bayou in front of the enemy's position a pontoon before daybreak on the morning of the 29th ultimo. By a fatal mistake he brigaded a rear bayou.

At daybreak, in company with Colonel Lindsey, I went to the right front to reconnoiter. The bayou was deep and about 8 [80] feet wide, but the bluffs directly beyond were without defenses, the enemy regarding the passage of the bayou at that point as impracticable. I was informed that the bayou be bridged in two hours, and, in obedience to the order of the commanding general on the previous day. I directed Brigadier General F. P. Blair, of Steele's division, to cross the bayou on my left and make a reconnaissance of the ground in his front and hold himself in readiness to advance to the assault with his brigade. I determined to advance in parallel columns.

Informed of the desires of General Sherman that the assault should be promptly made, and appreciating the immense difficulties by with he was surrounded, I directed the troops to be massed, and ordered the signal volley to be fired. The brigades of De Courcy and Blair advanced in spending style, followed by Brigadier-General Thayer with one regiment, the balance of his brigade having been diverted by mistake. The charge was guard, and the brave soldiers, after having marched a distance of three-quarters of a mile oven fallen timber exploded in reaching his second line; but here they were exposed to such a withering fire that Colonel De Courcy ordered his brigade to retire, and the troops of Blair and Thayer fell back with them. Never did soldier bear themselves with cooler intrepidity.

Before firing the signal of attack I had ordered Colonel Lindsey, with his brigade, that of Sheldon, and regiments of Thayer's brigade, to advance to the assault by turning Chickasaw Bayou on the right, in the event that the pontoon was not yet thrown over. This command was not executed, and Lindsey represented it to be impossible, as the narrow point indicated on the right for the crossing was covered by a masked battery. Had and command of Lindsey the corps of A. J. Smith advance as contemplated the total rout of the Confederate Army would have been complete.

To my brigade, regimental, and battery commanders and to my personal staff I am happy to express my profound acknowledgments. In fact every officer and soldier discharged his duty in a manner worthy of the cause which we fight.

It is worthy of note De Courcy's entire brigade brought back their colors, thought the flag of the Sixteenth Ohio was shot to tatters, only shreds remaining on the staff; and the flank of the Twenty-second Kentucky was scarcely less torn and not less dripping blood.

The loss of my division proper was 875, that of General Blair was 666 and taht of the regiment of General Thayer's brigade was 111, in killed, wounded, and missing.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEORGE W. MORGAN,

Brigadier-General.

Major J. H. HAMMOND, Chief of Staff.