Number 3. Reports of Colonel George E. Bryant, Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry. JOHNSON'S FARM, EIGHTEEN MILES FROM MEMPHIS, April 20, 1863.
CAPTAIN: We commenced skirmishing with the enemy on Saturday, 2 miles across Nonconnah, and pushed him to Hernando. He had a camp 18 miles out of Memphis. They removed their tents through Hernando on Saturday morning. After we got into camp at Hernando, at sundown, 600 rebels attacked us. We went out, met, and routed them, and they fired on the flag. The next morning we reached Coldwater River at 8 a. m., skirmishing with the enemy 8 miles up the river. We fought them from 8 a. m. till 4 p. m., but were unable to cross the ferry, the boats of which the rebels shot loose.
Their force was infantry, Chalmers having been re-enforced by two regiment on Thursday.
Major Hayes was badly, and I fear mortally, wounded about 9 a. m. He was so weak he could tell me nothing. I posted the artillery to the front, with the Forty-first and Thirty-THIRD and three companies of the Twelfth Wisconsin, leaving the balance of the Twelfth to hold the hill. The enemy was fully equal to us, intrenched. I sent cavalry up the river above the railroad, but they could find no place to cross. At 4 p. m. they commenced shelling us from the hill beyond, though, of course, they did not have our range. After throwing a few shells, they apparently withdrew. At this time the cavalry on my right commenced to skirmish, and sent me word they had met the enemy's advance. Previous to this I had been told they were crossing below. I immediately took the battery train and seven companies of the Twelfth Wisconsin on the hill in rear, and soon moved the whole force back, and filed to the right of the Horn Lake road. Here I met Major Eastman. On this road I camped, and this morning moved into Hernando. I sent cavalry back to the river, and they found the enemy still there. I also sent cavalry toward the east. Though meeting and driving the enemy, they found no place to cross, and could hear nothing of Smith's guns; 500 or 600 rebels have been continually in our rear; attacked and captured a pressed ambulance, with Lieutenant Major, which decided to fall back here and communicate with you. We have 2 officers of the Thirty-THIRD Wisconsin dead, Major Hayes badly wounded, and some 13 others dead and wounded. The rebels have torn up the bridges behind us, on Hernando road, compelling us to come this way. Several of the battery horses are dead, and they are down to four to a gun, and they played out. I wish I could hear by daylight. I dislike to come back; still, with the prisoners, rations running out, and ammunition getting a little scarce, I ask for instructions. If we go back, we shall want ambulances, ammunition, an bread. What has become of Smith? Men never fought better. I do hope I may hear by daylight. It is best to send not less than 50 men with this.
GEORGE E. BRYANT,
Captain W. H. F. RANDALL,