I held this position for about two hours and until dark, and having no support, and seeing no reason why a position should be held at such sacrifice which, if lost, could be recovered at any time by a line of skirmishers, unless the enemy should choose to fight us outside of his works, which could hardly be expected, however much desired, and there being no general officer upon the ground, I ordered the position abandoned and my command to march back to the hill on the right of the railroad bridge, and there form and rest for the night. In falling back, Colonel Tourtellotte, Fourth Minnesota, took from the ground a piece of artillery that was in position within a few yards of the enemy's works when my command went upon the ground and left there by the brigade then in position.
The casualties in my command during this engagement, as the official lists will show, are greater than in all the balance of the campaign, and it seems to me all for no good. Success was no better than defeat, unless an assault was to be ordered, and I have not learned that such a thing was thought of, and, if thought of, would have been preposterous unless made by both brigades and in a most vigorous manner, and I can but feel that there was official misrepresentation or misconduct that led to this matter which requires investigation.
I am impelled to say this much in my report of this engagement by eloquent voices coming from the tombs of many of the most brave of my command, fallen in that fruitless struggle under the enemy's works.
The following are the lossement:
Command. Offi Enlisted Offi Enlisted Enlisted
cers men. cers men. men
. . MISSING.
48th Indiana --- 8 --- 24 1
59th Indiana 1 10 4 95 1
4th Minnesota 1 11 7 35
18th Wisconsin --- 5 2 9
Total 2 34 13 163 2
On the morning of the 23rd, I moved my command forward about 400 yards, and formed, with one regiment on my left in rear of the right of General Burbridge's brigade, and two regiments in prolongation of his right, which position was occupied but a few hours, when my command moved back to the ground it left on the morning of the 22nd, where it now remains.
Accompanying this report are full lists of the casualties of my command in the several and respective engagements of this campaign.
The conduct of all the officers and men of my command during the entire campaign has been more than satisfactory-it has been most gallant and praiseworthy. There has been no shirking and no desire to shirk on the part of either officers or men, and I have not found or even heard of a man out of his position in battle or on the march. I know not how soldiers could do more.
Captain L. B. Martin, assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenants [John S.] Akin and [James H.] Donaldson, aides-de-camp, have conducted themselves in the most gallant and faithful manner and deserve special mention.