War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0679 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON, MISS.

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gaged. The balance of the brigade then on the ground - consisting of nine companies each of the Twentieth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Alabama Regiments - were then placed in the position for battle pointed out by General Green, who, as understood, was sent by General Bowen to discharge this duty. The battery was placed on the ridge about the center of our line and near some negro houses. The Thirtieth Alabama was posted on either side of the battery. The left wing of the Twentieth Regiment formed line on their right, stretching out obliquely to the front to a skirt of woods on the east side of the ravine, which is WEST of the negro houses. Two of the four remaining companies of the Twentieth Regiment were posted at very long intervals, and the other two were deployed as skirmishers to protect our right flank, the distance between the right flank of our little force and Bayou Pierre, which was intended to be protected by these four companies, being not less than 800 yards. The nine companies of the Thirty-first Alabama Regiment were placed in line on Colonel [Charles M.] Shelley's left, in a gorge or ravine grown up with reeds, bushes, and some few small trees. The distance between the left flank of this last regiment and the nearest troops on its left was at least 1 mile.

The battle was commenced on the right a little before 7 o'clock in the morning, the enemy first attacking the center of our brigade with artillery and small-arms. The attack was coolly and promptly met by the section of Captain Johnston's battery above mentioned and the Thirtieth Alabama Regiment. The contest here soon became warm and bloody. The battery was in range of the enemy's sharpshooters, and in a short time a number of the officers, men, and horses had been killed or wounded.

A little before 8 o'clock our brave and gallant commander, General Tracy, fell near the front line, pierced through the breast, and instantly died without uttering a word. The command of the brigade then devolved upon the undersigned, and the fight was continued by our troops with unabated ardor. I knew nothing of the plan of battle except what I had casually learned that morning from General Tracy, the substance of which is hereinbefore stated. The enemy was in our front, and I knew of no order to retire. A messenger was immediately sent to the commanding general for instructions, who, on account of the distance to be traveled, did not return until about 11 o'clock, when he brought the order that our position was to be held at all hazards.

In the mean time the fire of the enemy had become much heavier, and the Thirty-first Alabama and the left wing of the Twentieth had become engaged. Skirmishing had also been for some time kept up with the detached companies on the right. Two other pieces of Captain Johnston's battery had arrived on the field, and had been ordered to relieve the two which had been placed in position in the morning. Two of the four pieces had by this time been disabled. Lieutenant [Philip] Peters and several men had been killed and others had been wounded, and a considerable number of the horses were disabled. Captain Johnston had exhibited distinguished gallantry, and his command had bravely stood by their guns; but by 10 o'clock the enemy's fire of artillery and sharpshooters had become so deadly that in seemed impossible for them to remain longer on the field without being sacrificed, and I ordered them to retire from the field. The enemy had massed heavy forces in front of our center and of the left wing of the Twentieth Regiment, and they had for some time been receiving a deadly fire. The enemy had even attempted more than once to charge this position in heavy force, but as