War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0681 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF PORT GIBSON, MISS.

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near the bayou, where embankments furnished good defence against small-arms, and the three companies of the Twentieth Regiment on the right were directed to form there with him, which they promptly did, having retired in good order from their respective former positions, about 200 yards in front of this place. The enemy advanced in great force against this latter position, but Colonel Woods and his command bravely met their attack, and held them at bay until ordered to retreat, as hereafter stated. The Thirty-first Alabama Regiment had well sustained their position on the left of Colonel Shelley, and resisted every effort of the enemy to advance in their front.

About 12 o'clock, Colonel [D. R.] Hundley, having ventured too far in front of his line in search of a batter position nearer to the enemy, was severely wounded, and the command devolved on Lieutenant-Colonel [T. M.] Arrington, a copy of whose report is herewith submitted. *

In order that no means should be spared to resist the advance of the enemy, I sent Adjutant SMITH to the rear, to bring up the two pieces of artillery belonging to Captain Johnston's battery, which had been ordered to retire, as before stated. Lieutenant Peters had bravely fallen while at his post in the desperate fight in the morning, and Captain Johnston, who had with undaunted courage and true heroism skillfully managed his artillery, had been borne from the field completely exhausted. Adjutant SMITH found Sergeant [Francis G.] Obenchain in command of the two remaining pieces, delivered to him the order, and caused them to be planted on a h ILL some 600 yards in our rear, and directed that they should be ready for any emergency. Sergeant Obenchain, who had in the forenoon exhibited uniform coolness and unflinching nerve, promptly brought forward what was left of his command and took position as directed.

Learning from Colonel Shelley and Lieutenant-Colonel Petturs that the enemy were about occupying a high hill to the right of our center, m from which our men had been driven by an overwhelming force, they were ordered to retire with their commands and take a new and strong position behind the crest of the ridge on which our line of battle had been formed early in the morning so soon as their position became untenable, on account of an enfilade fire of small-arms or artillery. Before this last order was executed, I met Brigadier-General Green on the field, explained to him our position, and the orders under which the battle was then raging. He declined to make any change, and stated that he expected to receive an order from General Bowen in a short time, and would send it to me. He soon afterward (it being about 5 o'clock) did send an order to retreat by the left flank, which was immediately executed as rapidly as possible.

By this time great numbers of the enemy had advanced into the woods in our front and occupied the high hill before referred to, so that the open ridge over which the Thirtieth and Twentieth Regiments were compelled to pass in falling back was very much exposed to a concentrated fire. While retreating across this ridge, the brave and chivalrous Major [A. S.] Pickering, of the Twentieth Regiment Alabama Volunteers, fell, it is believed mortally wounded, while nobly discharging his duty in sustaining his command. Sergeant Earle, color-bearer, here also fell while fearlessly carrying the colors from the field.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pettus, in a most daring attempt to bring off Captain Pratt and a portion of h is company from their front position, which they yielded with great reluctance, was with that brave captain and his equally brave men, cut off and captured by the enemy.


*Not found.