War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0259 Chapter XXXV. EXPEDITIONS TO COURTLAND, ALA., ETC.

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Numbers 5. Report of Colonel Moses M. Bane, Fiftieth Illinois Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.


Corinth, Miss., May 19, 1863.

SIR: In compliance with your order to report the part the Third Brigade bore in the action at Newsom's farm, and during the late expedition up the valley of the Tuscumbia, I submit the following:

On arriving at Great Bear Creek, on Friday morning, with the balance of your command, I was ordered by the general commanding to push forward two companies of skirmishers to take and hold the crossing of the creek, which was soon accomplished without any casualty, but a very few shots being exchanged with the enemy's skirmishers. I then received orders to cross my brigade and push forward to support the cavalry, under the direct command of Colonel Cornyn, which had already crossed and engaged the enemy 1 or 2 miles in advance of my command. Two regiments crossed in deep, swift water to near their arms, carrying their clothing and accouterments on their bayonets over their heads. One regiment crossed on a small boat. One regiment (Thirty-ninth Iows Infantry) was left (by order) to guard the ford. With three regiments, I pressed on. Was informed by you that the cavalry would not pursue the enemy that evening more than 2 miles, when I would go into camp with our cavalry. I soon distinctly heard firing in my front, and knew that it could not be less than 3 or 4 miles in advance. I pressed on as rapidly as my command, which was in fine spirits, could march. I had gone about 2 miles, when I received an order from the general commanding. On reading it, I found it was directed to Colonel Cornyn, but was to be read by myself before being sent forward to him. The purport of the order was for the colonel not to advance more than 3 to 5 miles, as there was an enemy on his left, which he alone could not meet. I sent the orderly on with the order and pushed forward as fast as we could march, still hearing the fighting in front, though it was growing more distant. On arriving at Dixon's Station, I learned that a large force of cavalry and artillery had filed into the road at Cherokee, in Cornyn's rear. I pressed forward as rapidly as possible, and soon reached Cherokee, where my skirmishers exchanged a few shots with the enemy's rear guard and soon dispersed them, capturing 2 prisoners. While here, I received a request from Colonel Cornyn to send a battery forward to his assistance. I immediately ordered Captain Welker to move forward as fast as the jaded condition of his horses would permit.

Hurrying forward, I soon came up with Colonel Cornyn, who had his command in line of battle across a field, at Newsom's. The enemy were in line about a quarter of a mile, but as soon as Welker's battery moved into the field the enemy fell back. I immediately moved the Seventh Illinois into the timber on the right, and the Fiftieth and Fifty-seventh Illinois on the left of the field, and requested Colonel Cornyn to fall back with the cavalry, hoping that the rebels would attempt to follow him, and I could thus decoy them into a position where my infantry would have a cross-fire upon them. As soon as the cavalry had fallen back, the vanguard of the enemy came forward into the field, apparently unconscious of danger; but as they arrived opposite one of my regiments, some of the men, without orders, opened fire upon them, disabling a number of men and horses, but, unfortunately for us, dis-