Numbers 145. Report of Captain George R. Swallow, Seventh Indiana Battery.
CAMP OF THE SEVENTH INDIANA BATT., THIRD DIV..,
January 5, 1863
On the morning of December 31, I ordered Lieutenant Buckmar to move the battery in rear of the Second Brigade of the Third Division. This brigade was not moved across the river at the time the First and Third crossed and recrossed, but was ordered up the pike in the vicinity of our hospital, where the enemy's cavalry were trying to capture prisoners from our broken and retreating columns. The battery opened upon them with shell, our cavalry at the same time charging upon them, which caused them to retreat in disorder. The brigade then advanced to the right and front, through a cedar thicket into an open field, the battery following immediately in rear. While in the field, and nearly across it, our advance commenced skirmishing with the enemy. I immediately ordered the battery into position, and the firing to commence with shell to our right and front, where the enemy's infantry were rapidly advancing upon us. They soon entered the field, when I ordered the battery to open upon them with canister, at the same time ordering the caissons to the rear.
I soon saw part of the brigade falling back in disorder and the enemy advancing across the field toward the battery, with a yell. I then ordered the battery to limber to the rear and retire as rapidly as possible, which was done in not the best order. We reached the pike and took position near the old block-house, with a loss of 1 lieutenant, F. W. Buckmar, seriously wounded, 1 man killed, and 2 wounded. During the day the battery occupied several different positions, engaging the enemy's artillery and infantry, but with what effect is not known. At night went into park a short distance from the old block-house, having had 1 lieutenant and 4 men wounded, and 3 killed.
On the morning of the 1st instant, by Captain Mendenhall's order, I took position near the ford, supported by General Cruft's brigade. Nothing worthy of note transpired during the day, and the morning of the 2nd instant found us occupying the same position. During the day General Negley's command took position in my rear and near the ford. Six guns of the artillery under his command took position on my left, and Captain Mendenhall's battery of eight guns, under command of Lieutenant Parsons, came into position on my right and front.
About 4 p.m. I received word that the enemy were advancing in force to attack the left of our wing. Their lines of infantry soon came in full view, and the batteries on my right and left, together with my own, opened a rapid and vigorous fire upon their advancing columns. They soon opened a galling artillery fire upon us from three different points. The battery on my left retired a short distance, and the one on my right commenced to fire, retiring. Seeing this, I ordered the battery to fix prolong, to fire retiring. About this time the vent of my left piece became filled with friction primers, and was ordered to the rear for repair without my knowledge. The drivers of the other pieces, seeing this piece moving to the rear, supposed the order had been given to retire, and drove some 40 yards to the rear before they could be halted. The order was then given to advance, and one piece was moved by hand to its position; the rest were limbered and moved to the position first occupied, except the gun that had been ordered to the rear, where all the ammunition was expended except a few rounds of canister. In this engagement we had 1 man killed and 2 wounded.