This assault, though unsuccessful, demonstrated that the command possessed the most reliable characteristics of soldiers, implicit obedience to orders, undaunted courage, and great endurance. Not a gun was fired during the entire assault, although the most earnest appeals were made to the commanding general to do so, and when at length the command was ordered to retire, them men did so under the control and direction of their officers. I regret to record the death of many brave officers and men; among the number, Colonel J. J. Dollins, Major Ward, and Adjutant Hammack, of the Eighty-first Illinois Volunteers. They are as brave and gallant soldiers as any the country has been called upon to mourn.
Many instances of valor occurred during the assault. Among others I mention the numerous color-bearers of the Seventh Missouri Volunteers. Six successive times were the bearers of the Irish flag shot down-of the number, a Private Kelley, of the Eighty-first Illinois, being one. Seeing the flag go down, he instantly raised it to its place, to be himself instantly shot down.
Two commissioned officers of the Seventh Missouri deserve special mention in connection with the flag. Lieutenant Robert Porter, who was the sixth flag-bearer, holding and waving the flag aloft, soon fell with a severe wound. Immediately Lieutenant Joshua W. Bourne seized the flag, held it in its position, and finally bore it from the field.
The other regiments of the command constituting the left column were all the time exposed to a severe fire, involving a heavy loss, but remained firmly in their position until ordered off the field.
The SEVENTEENTH Illinois Volunteers and their officers are entitled to special mention for the prompt manner in which they occupied the ground assigned them, and the efficient services rendered in protecting their comrades in the advances and especially for the hot fire poured into the enemy as the column retired.
I regret to say my losses in this assault aggregate, killed and wounded, 272 officers and men.
From the assault of the 22nd of May until the final termination of the siege, the THIRD Brigade did its full share of all the work in the approaches to and mining of the enemy's works, and on its entire front. From the time of the assault, so well did each regiment do its duty the entire length of the picket line, that no rebel dare show himself outside the works or carelessly expose his person within, unless he subjected himself to a fire that caused his instant disappearance. I do but simple justice to the THIRD Brigade when I, with just pride, claim for them the highest qualities that mark the true soldier, evinced by their long and arduous marches, upon short rations, without tents or shelter, in the face of the enemy, with repeated battles, continuous victories, and finally the culmination of the great campaign in the possession of the enemy's vaunted impregnable stronghold. During the entire campaign I have been much indebted to the officers of my staff-Captain Whitehead, adjutant-general, and Lieutenants Callsen and Reynolds, of the SEVENTEENTH Illinois Volunteers. To each of these officers the thanks of the country are due for fearless personal exposure on our many battle-fields, and untiring zeal in the discharge of their many duties. To Colonel H. Lieb, NINTH Louisiana Volunteers (African descent), I am specially indebted as volunteer aide. I placed him at the commencement of the campaign in charge of my skirmishers, and well and ably on every occasion did he discharge his trust. No officer, in my judgment, excelled him in untiring zeal and unflinching courage. I recommend him to the special notice of the general commanding.