War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0597 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON, MISS.

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different forts. I immediately ordered my regiment to lie down behind the brow of the hill which we had been ascending, and all escaped unhurt.

Being in advance of the other regiments of your brigade, which had halted prior to the first volley being fired at us, and finding that my right wing was unnecessarily exposed to the fire of rebel sharpshooters, I ordered them some 20 yards to the rear just in time to avoid another volley of musketry from the front and left. This position I occupied with my regiment for the rest of the day, and on the morning of the 20th, my men advanced carefully to the brow of the hill and behind the chimneys of the burned buildings in our front, sending balls where-ever a head would show itself above the breastworks. At one time a chimney was tumbled over them by a solid shot from a rebel battery. Nothing daunted, though almost buried in its ruins, they crawled to the next one, and again commenced their firing.

During the night of the 19th, I advanced two companies of skirmishers to within about 300 yards of the main fort, and the rest of the regiment rested on their arms several hundred yards in advance of the other regiments of the DIVISION.

On the 20th, about 11 a. M, I received your orders to prepare to advance, and formed the companies immediately, preparatory to the movement. For the first time since I had the honor of serving my country, I felt the heavy responsibility resting on my shoulders as a commander; that the lives of hundreds, perhaps, hung on my order then and there to be given. I knew my duty and was determined to execute it at the risk of my own life; but how about others? I had carefully examined my position, and was convinced that a direct advance was impossible without charging and storming the fort, while to do the latter I must have had support on my right and left, or should have been exposed to a cross-fire of four different forts. My regiment, to some extent, formed the center of the DIVISION, being on the right and left of the Jackson road. Ascending over the hill that now protected my men, I was exposed to the aforesaid fire of the enemy, unable to find shelter for them anywhere this side of the forts, particularly for my left wing. All the other regiments of the whole DIVISION could have advanced by but little exposure in charging over the hill or ridge then in their front, finding protection immediately beyond them in a ravine, protected by another range of hills centering at the one I then occupied.

My regiment had advanced to a position justifying them in remaining, for if all the other regiments had advanced into the next ravine they would have been but on a line with me, and no nearer the forts than the Sixty-seventh was at that time. I represented the case to you, general, requesting that if my order was positive to advance, to have the proper support on my right and left. You informed me that the order was for the whole DIVISION to advance, and I should be well supported.

Returning to my regiment, I immediately advanced to the brow of the hill, ready to go over first as soon as the order should be given; but finding that the Eighty-THIRD Ohio Regiment, which was to support my right, had returned to the rear several hundred yards, and having your order to advance with the SECOND Brigade, I at once took advantage of the opportunity, and marching my right wing to the right oblique across the hill, ere the rebels could be prepared for us I advanced them to a safe position within 250 yards of the fort. Returning again for my left wing, I detached three companies, leading them over the hill in the same manner, on the right, and leaving two companies in the rear to advance with the SECOND Brigade (Nineteenth Kentucky Regiment),