Number 16. Report of Lieutenant Joseph G. Strong, adjutant Twenty-eighth Iowa Infantry. NEAR Vicksburg, MISS., May 28, 1863.
DEAR SIR: It affords me great pleasure to be able to report to you the part taken by the Twenty-eighth Iowa in the battle of Port Gibson, May 1, 1863.
On the evening of April 30, we were landed on the bank of the Mississippi, and started for Port Gibson. At 1 a. M of May 1 we could hear the boom of artillery in our advance. We quickened our pace, and arrived at the foot of Thompson's Hill at sunrise. General Hovey, our DIVISION commander, rode up and said,"Boys, prepare your breakfast soon, for we go into battle in half an hour. " After breakfast we formed in line of battle on the crest of Thompson's Hill, where we remained one hour under fire. Three companies at this time (B, g, and K) supported the Thirty-fourth Indiana Infantry in a charge on a rebel battery, which was taken, together with about 300 prisoners. After this contest the regiment was reformed and ordered to the extreme left (by order of General McClernand), which was at this time vigorously attacked by the enemy. On arriving at this point, we found that the enemy had massed a large force to turn our left, among which force were two rebel (Missouri) regiments (the SECOND and FIFTH) which were placed directly in front of us. On arriving near to the point, we immediately formed the regiment in a position to meet them. After a hotly contested engagement of about two hours, the enemy fell back, and we succeeded in planting the Eighth Michigan Battery on the knoll we had held against their charge, which battery immediately commenced playing upon the enemy.
At about 4 p. m. they again appeared in force, still attempting to turn our left, but after a brisk engagement of about an hour they retired in confusion.
A company of skirmishers having been sent out to the left and front of our line, discovered a rebel battery which had command of the Port Gibson road for about three-quarters of a mile. Our artillery soon got in position and commenced shelling them. We lay in support of the batteries until they had silenced the enemy's guns. By this time it was nearly dark, and General Stevenson coming up, relieved us from our position on the left, and we rejoined our brigade, which was encamped for the night on the bloody field. Here we lay on our arms in support of the Peoria Battery during the night. I give an extract of Colonel Connell's report in regard to the conduct of the regiment:
With regard to the conduct of officers and men during the action, I can only speak in terms of highest commendation. Although having marched all the day and night previous to the engagement, carrying three day's rations and 100 rounds of cartridges to the man, and having never before been under fire of the enemy, they yet fought with that fearless spirit and determination which has always characterized the American solider.
I append a list of the killed and wounded. *
Our regiment in now on duty in the rifle-pits before Vicksburg, so
you will see that I have but little time to make reports. However, I will send you a report of the part the Twenty-eighth took in the battle of Champion's Hill before long. I will only state that we lost in the
*Nominal list omitted. See p. 583.