War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0631 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON, MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

I desire to make particular mention of Captain L. H. Whittlesey, of the Eleventh Wisconsin, acting assistant adjutant-general, for his great energy and activity throughout the battle. He was always at the right place at the right time, and almost constantly on the hottest portion of the field. No braver man or truer soldier ever entered the field of battle, and I should be much pleased to see him occupy a position where his talents and bravery could be more successfully employed.

Lieutenants Jackson, of the Eleventh Wisconsin, and Waterbury, of the Twenty-THIRD Iowa, acting aides, rendered me essential service, and they both displayed great coolness and bravery in conveying orders under the hottest of the fire.

I must also avail myself of this opportunity to express my admiration of the gentlemanly deportment, the coolness, and conspicuous bravery of the brigadier-general commanding the DIVISION during all our severe fighting. His presence on the field during the heaviest of the battle, and the clearness and self-possession with which his orders were given, contributed much to enforce confidence among all who were under his command.

With me there is a higher significance attached to the victory of yesterday than the mere defeat and rout of the enemy. We fought the veteran troops of the Confederacy, who gloried in the laurels won upon the earlier fields of the war. They were gathered from several States, and were led by a general who fought us at the memorable battle of Shiloh, over one year ago. We met them again upon more equal terms and in a contest as fierce as Shiloh, considering the numbers engaged. Hand to hand we fought them, and demonstrated the fact beyond all Number 20. Report of Co. Samuel Merrill, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry. [MAY -,]. 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in the late battle of Port Gibson, April 30 and May 1, we lost in wounded 16 men, including 5 non-commissioned officers . The officers and men, with two or three exceptions, behaved with singular courage and bravery.

It is known to you that we had the honor of being the leading column of this great army, and of drawing the first fire at Port Gibson. At the widow Daniel's plantation, some 9 miles from Port Gibson, we were ordered by General Carr to take the advance. I ordered Company A, commanded by Captain A. R. Jones, and Company B, commanded by Captain William D. Crooke, as advance skirmishers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Dunlap, supported by Companies D and F, commanded by Major Van Anda; next was a 12-pounder field piece from that excellent battery, the First Iowa; all supported by the balance of my command. I am happy to report that, in the skirmishing of those companies, singular fortitude and bravery were exhibited during that long and tedious night's march, and especially are Company B and Captain Crooke deserving of mention as having received the first fire of the pickets and returning it with great coolness. Our advance was fired upon by the rebel picket about 1 mile from the town of Port Gibson. Our column was rapidly advanced, and soon received the raking fire of battery of the First Iowa could be brought the bear, Company E, commanded by Captain Swivel, was ordered to its support. They have received the commendation of all for their faithfulness. Sergt. B. Kirst, of this company, captured a rebel orderly while carrying dispatches. General Carr next ordered a company to stand as picket guard. Company G, commanded by Captain Benton, performed this duty till morning. Next came an order for two skirmishing companies to deploy in front of the enemy, and, in fact, between the enemy and our own artillery firing. I called for volunteers for my four remaining companies.