Report of Colonel Charles H. Abbott, Thirtieth Iowa Infantry, of skirmishers at Chickasaw Bayou and assault on Chickasaw Bluffs.
HDQRS. 30TH IOWA INFTY., 3rd Brigadier, 4TH DIV., 13TH A. C.,
Arkansas Post, Ark., January 12, 1863.
GENERAL: Agreeably to your order of the 9th inst. I have the honor to submit my report of the party my regiment took in the action of the 28th and 29th of December, 1862, at Haines' Bluff, near Vicksburg, Miss.:
On the morning of the 28th ultimo, by your order I moved my regiment forward toward the pint of attack and took position immediately in the rear of the Fourth Iowa Infantry, supporting the battery in our front, where we remained until about 4 o'clock p. m., when we were by your order remanded to the river, with orders to embark on transport Stephen Decatur and drop down to Johnson's plantation.
On the morning of the 29th ultimo we were ordered to disembark and by your placed in position in rear of the Fourth Iowa Infantry, with orders to keep close up and follow them. When we had advanced to within range of the enemy's guns and they, having discovered our position, commenced shelling us we were ordered by your aide, Captain Richardson, to lie down and make ourselves as secure as possible under the levee, the Fourth Iowa Infantry being in a like position in our front on the opposite side of the levee, in which position we remained until ordered by your aide-de-camp to fix bayonets and advance, following the Fourth Iowa Infantry, which had got 10 or 12 rods in advance.
I immediately put my regiment under a double-quick, and had advanced but a few roads when I was met by Brigadier-General Steele, who checked us and ordered met o leave my horse, cross the next bayou in any way we could get across, and take my regiment tot he right into the woods and deploy as skirmishers. I put my regiment again under a double-quick and advanced to the extreme right of the Fourth Division. I then advanced my regiment in line of battle to within a few rods of the fallen timber, in which was heavy firing of musketry. I then ordered them to lie down; ordered the right and left flanking companies forward as skirmishers into the fallen timber. They went in and soon reported the Thirteenth U. S. Infantry already occupied the ground and were engaged with the enemy, who were posted in rifle-pits. I then ordered those companies back to their position in the regiment. The Third [First?] Wisconsin Battery, immediately upon our right, was supported by a part of the Thirteenth U. S. Infantry, while the skirmishers of the Thirteenth Infantry on our front were unsupported. I sent my orderly to General Steele for further orders, who returned with orders to remain where we were. While my orderly was absent to see General Steele a captain, representing himself as the aide-de-camp of General Smith, came to us and inquired what regiment we were and told me the position of my regiment was all right, lying upon the ground in front of the enemy. We had 3 men severely and 1 slightly wounded.
We remained under fire from about noon until 4 o'clock p. m., when we were ordered to return. I accordingly marched my regiment near the position occupied by General Steele and reported to him and then to you, who came up soon after. I was ordered by you into camp to the rear.
With sentiments of high regard, I remain, general, your most obedient servant,
CHARLES H. ABBOTT,
Colonel Thirtieth Iowa Infantry.
Brigadier General JOHN M. THAYER, 3rd Brigadier 4th Div., 13th A. C.