Numbers 3. Report of Captain Charles G. Matchett, Fortieth Ohio Infantry.
CAMP OF FORTIETH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
Near Franklin, Tenn., April 11, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor of submitting to you the following report of the engagement had by the Fortieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under my command, with the combined rebel forces of Van Dorn, Cosby, and Brigadier-General Jackson, on yesterday (April 10, 1863) while on picket duty:
The colonel and major of the regiment being sick, and I being the ranking captain of the regiment reported for duty, the command of the regiment for that day was assigned to me.
At 12.20 p. m. the enemy commenced the engagement by attacking the outpost guards on and adjacent to the Columbia pike, with a large advance guard. Companies E and K (First Lieuts. James Allen and David Roop, respectively) were in charge of that section of our line, with First Lieutenant David Roop commanding. The guards of that section were rallied on their reserve, where they gallantly repulsed two attacks of the enemy's advance before re-enforcements reached them. Before the attack began, I ordered Company H, Captain [J. C.] Meagher, and First Lieutenant John W. Smith, Company I, forward to strengthen Lieutenant Roop's reserve. Seeing the strength of the enemy's advance guard greatly outnumbered Lieutenant Roop's reserve, I immediately sent Company B, Captain Charles J. Ent, forward also to take position on the left of Lieutenant Roop's reserve. A moment's glance at the enemy's force convinced me that the limited force under my command could maintain their lines but a short time against the numbers of the enemy in front. I therefore ordered my last company of reserves (Company A, under command of Second Lieutenant [S.] Hart, of Company B) to take position in the wood at the left of the railroad, in order to strengthen Company C, Second Lieutenant J. C. Peck, who had been posted on our extreme left section of the guard on the Lewisburg pike. At the same time I sent for the provost guards of Franklin (Company G, Second Lieutenant J. A. Fisher commanding), ordering them to re-enforce my left, by way of the Lewisburg pike, with all their force, excepting one relief of the prison guards. This order was not obeyed. My messenger in a few minutes informed me that Lieutenant Fisher and the provost marshal, Captain [William L.] Avery, of General Granger's staff, refused to send me the company. Company G, therefore, was not sent out of the town. With this disposition of my force, and with only seven companies of infantry, less than 300 men, we maintained our lines of more than one-fourth of a mile in extent for more than two hours against vastly superior numbers. Twice did they attempt to rout us with their cavalry, and as often were they repulsed with loss.
The next advanced several mounted companies as skirmishers, deployed in sections and platoons, and at the same time began to form a consolidated line on rear of his skirmishers for a charge. We held our lines thus long, momentarily expecting re-enforcements. None, however, arrived, and I was informed that none were on their way. From the length of time that we were engaged, it was reasonable to suppose that we were not to be re-enforcements. None, however, arrived, and I was informed that none were on their way. From the length of time that we were engaged, it was reasonable to suppose that we were not to be re-enforced, but rather that it was the wish of the commanding general for us to fall back. No order or intimation to that effect, however, reached me.