War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0742 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

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Numbers 17.

Report of Colonel Friend S. Rutherford, Ninety-seventh Illinois Infantry.


Arkansas Post, Ark., January 12, 1863.

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the conduct of the regiment under my command during the recent battle and conquest of Arkansas Post:

At 1 p. m. Saturday, the 10th instant, I received your order to disembark my command and to be ready for marching, which was done in time to take its position in the brigade. At about sundown of that evening my regiment, with the brigade, took up the line of march for the swamps, and reached its point of destination near the center of the left wing of the forces about to attack the fortifications, where we received orders to lie upon our arms for the night.

At about 9 o'clock on the morning of the 11th, by your order, my regiment was placed in front, on the extreme left, where it remained until about 2 p.m. when I was ordered to move by the right flank to support the First Brigade; we were halted on the extreme left, but to the rear of the First Brigade, in the edge of the timber and on a rise of ground, where my men were exposed to shell and rifle-shot of the enemy; but a cautioning my men to lie down we met with no casualties at this point.

After remaining at this point for about twenty minutes we, together with the Nineteenth Kentucky, were ordered to advance to the front. Having advanced about 50 yards, I received orders from General Burbridge in person to move by the right flank to support him in his assault upon the enemy's works. Still keeping on the left of the Nineteenth Kentucky, we moved to immediately in the rear of General Burbridge's brigade, which was then in close conflict with the enemy. My command was halted so that four companies on my left were exposed to the fire of the enemy constantly. During all these movements we were exposed to the fire of the enemy, yet up to this time met with no accident. It was while in this position that I received an order from your by your aide-de-camp to act at my discretion. I immediately ordered six companies of my left to advance obliquely to the left and take possession of some old houses and sheds,, and assail the enemy at that point and to relieve some skirmishers there. Lieutenant-Colonel Martin was given the command and most faithfully was it executed.

Afterward seeing the some skirmishers in the field on the left of the house were suffering from a galling fire, many being carried off wounded, I deemed it time to take my other four companies and go to their assistance. I am glad to say that my men showed no hesitation in taking their places and pouring a vigorous fire into the enemy's entrenchments. My men remained in this position until informed that a battery was to open upon the enemy from our rear. When I found the battery well at work I withdrew my regiment and commenced a flank movement to the left, still advancing. When my regiment had reached within about 100 yards of the river bank I ordered the men to fix bayonets and charge upon the enemy's works. With a double-quick and a shout of triumph my men advanced in good order about 50 yards, when I heard the command given to cease firing. My men, now hilarious with joy, rushed inside the enemy's fortifications and planted the flag of the