Numbers 28. Report of Brigadier General William P. Carlin, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, FIRST DIV., TWENTIETH ARMY CORPS,
Winchester, July 10, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report upon the operations of this brigade since leaving camp at Murfreesborough, Tenn., on the morning of the 24th ultimo:
Marching on the Shelbyville pike to Alexander's, following the First Brigade, Colonel Post, we turned eastward, toward Millersburg, where we arrived about 1 p.m. Resting here till near night, orders were received to move toward Liberty Gap and bivouac in supporting distance of the Second Division, then about 2 miles south of Millersburg. On the 25th, I informed General R. W. Johnson, commanding the Second Division, that my command, then comprising the First and Second Brigades, was subject to his orders. About 1 p.m., brisk firing in front caused me to dispatch a staff officer to General Johnson to ask him if he desired assistance, to which a negative reply was received. However, about 3 p.m., a serious attack was made by the enemy, and orders were then received from General Johnson to move my command to the front. The First Brigade I ordered to take position in reserve on the right of the road, 300 yards in rear of Johnson's headquarters, on the field. The Second Brigade moved up to that point, then under fire of the rebel artillery. Before the Second Brigade had formed for action, General J. C. Davis, commanding First Division, arrived on the field and assumed command. Lieutenant Carlin, of my staff, was detailed to report to General Davis for duty during the action. The Twenty-first Illinois was soon ordered to relieve the Eighty-ninth Illinois, of Johnson's division, then on the extreme right of our line, on a high, wooded hill. Colonel Alexander, commanding Twenty-first Illinois, deployed six companies as skirmishers, who drove the enemy from his front. This regiment was exposed to the fire of the rebel batteries, as well as infantry; but, true to its gallant character, never wavered nor lost a man by straggling or skulking. While I was engaged in placing the Twenty-first Illinois in position, the Thirty-eight Illinois, Colonel Gilmer, was ordered by General Davis to relieve the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, in front of the center. Though I had not the gratification of placing this regiment in action, all accounts represent the conduct of the officers and men as admirable. It advanced over an open field, deep in mud and under a heavy fire. The Thirty-eighth Illinois captured the colors of the Second Arkansas Infantry, and deserve the credit of breaking the line of the enemy and forcing him to retreat. The total loss of my brigade, excepting 1 man of the One hundred and first Ohio, fell on the Thirty-eighth Illinois. The One hundred and first Ohio, Colonel Kirby, soon followed the Thirty-eighth into action, and took position on its left, the two regiments taking the strong position on the left of the road from which the enemy had recently been driven. The Eighty-first Indiana, Colonel Caldwell, was held in reserve to support any regiment that might most need it. Though not called into close action, they were under the fire of the rebel artillery, and behaved with the coolness of veterans. The Second Minnesota Battery was not called into action. At the close of the action, near dark, I received orders from General Johnson to exercise command over all the troops on our front, including a brigade (Colonel Rose's) of the Second Division.