War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0020 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

down and converted into the most intricate abatis and extending almost all along my immediate front. Besides these natural and artificial impediments, the enemy's rifle pits and forts were so skillfully arranged that their fires defended every approach, exposing an assaulting party to a front and flank fire at murderous ranges.

By 6 p. m. (May 21)an order from headquarters of the army corps advised me officially of a general, to be made on the next morning (May 22) at 10 o'clock by the whole line. In obedience to this order, I immediately met my brigade commanders, to come to a thorough understanding as to the anticipated attack. After subjecting all the ground to a very minute survey, in order to ascertain and agree upon the best point of attack (this very puzzling choice, according to the order, having been left to every DIVISION commander), I selected the very steep acclivity directly in front of Captain Lanphere's battery as the point of my attack for sundry reasons, viz: There was a well-covered approach to it, where the storming columns could form, and the obstructions appeared less than at any other point on my front; furthermore the point selected was in supporting distance of General Carr, who had relieved General SMITH, on my right. Another prominent and principal feature seemed to be that the slope was here divided by spurs, running out and dividing the terrain into three sections, and thus affording some shelter to the troops while they made the escalade.

I ordered columns of DIVISIONS at half distance to be formed for the attack, in order to have the necessary pressure to and connections on the point of attack, without the danger of the lines being broken, which deployed lines in this terrain could not have avoided. The intervals and fronts of the columns were to be well covered by sharpshooters. The columns were formed as follows:

First. RIGHT Column. -The Twenty-SECOND Kentucky Infantry and the Forty-SECOND Ohio Infantry.

SECOND. Center Column. -The One hundred and fourteenth Ohio Infantry and Forty-NINTH and Sixty-NINTH Indiana Infantry.

THIRD. Left Column. -The Seventh Kentucky Infantry and One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Infantry

The SIXTEENTH Ohio Infantry was deployed as skirmishers.

The hundred and twentieth Ohio Infantry was retained as the extreme left, with orders to deploy, at the hour of attack, a very strong

line of skirmishers on that wing, and open a heavy fire, and make all such demonstrations which could divert the enemy's attention from the point of our main attack. The artillery kept up a heavy fire on the enemy's works since early daybreak, preparatory to the assault.

Precisely at 10 a. m. the column moved forward, breaking over all obstructions at the foot and in the slope of the hills, and against a terrific fire from all the rifle-pits and forts. The Seventh Kentucky, leading the left column, advanced to the top of the hill, and marched over the marked brow of it through murderous fire from the great redoubt on the left. They suffered heavily. All the columns reached the top of the hill, and came within so short a distance from the works that all orders and commands given on the enemy's side could be distinctly understood by our men. The officers and men acted most courageously, but, finding that new obstacles not seen before would impede their farther advance, the column halted to rest, availing themselves of the irregularities of the ground for shelter. The sharpshooters and leading DIVISION of the columns maintained a very well-directed fire against the enemy, causing their gunners to leave their guns, and preventing their infantry from showing themselves, except for moments.