of the river, I deemed it proper to notify all the women and children of their danger and give them time to get from under range of the enemy's guns. This being accomplished, about 5 a.m. I ordered my men to fire on the bridge-builders, which they obeyed promptly and deliberately [and I think with stunning effect], the command being echoed by Captain Govan on the right in the same manner and with equal effect, causing the enemy to throw down their implements and quit their work in great confusion, after which they immediately opened a heavy, galling, and concentrated fire of musketry and artillery upon both wings for one hour, and, supposing they had driven us from our position, they again began their work on the bridges; but as soon as we discovered them at work, we renewed the attack and drove them pell-mell from the bridges. They made nine desperate attempts to finish their bridges, but were severely punished and promptly repulsed at every attempt. They used their artillery incessantly with a heavy detachment of sharpshooters for twelve hours, we holding our position firmly and whole time, until about 4.30 p.m., when they increased their artillery and infantry, and, their batteries becoming so numerous and concentrated we could not use our rifles, being deprived of all protection, we were compelled to fall back to Caroline street, and from there were ordered from town.
Having to abandon my position on the left, believing Captain Govan still holding the lower bridge, and knowing the enemy to have crossed. I immediately dispatched a courier to notify him to fall back, fearing he would be taken. He rendered me very valuable assistance, and held his position firmly and with great gallantry and unusual firmness, supported by a part of the gallant Eighteenth Mississippi Regiment, composed of Companies A, I, and K.
Lieutenant [William] Ratliff deserves special notice for his able assistance to Captain Govan.
I call your attention especially to the gallant conduct to Lieutenant W. R. Oursler, commanding F.
Much credit is due to Lieutenant G. Ed. Thurmond, Company B, acting adjutant, for his promptness, coolness, and efficiency in face of danger.
Lieutenant [Phillip] Sweeny, of Company D, deserves much credit for promptness and efficiency.
Captain G. R. Cherry, with his gallant company, stood the shot and shell like veterans, as did the commands of Captains Pulliam and [F. W.] Middleton, and Lieutenants [W. H.] Patton and [J. W.] Lindley.
I cannot close without according to William C. Nelson, private of Company G, the highest praise for his services as courier, bearing dispatches when shot and shell fell thickest and fastest. Much credit is also due to Private C. H. Johnson, Company F, for his valuable services as courier.
First Lieutenant Jonas B. Clayton, Company G, quit his post, severely wounded, about 3 p.m., after having done valuable service with his gallant company.
Colonel Carter, of the Thirteenth Mississippi Regiment, furnished me with 10 sharpshooters, which rendered valuable service.
JOHN C. FISER,
Lieutenant Colonel Commanding Seventeenth Regiment Mississippi Volunteers.
Lieutenant JOHN A. BARKSDALE,
P. S.-The casualties in the regiment during the engagement were 116 killed, wounded, and missing.