War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0105 Chapter XXXVI. BATTLE OF CHAMPION'S HILL, MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Lee had not been made. A halt was at once called, and the line, somewhat disordered as [by] the broken and wooded character of the ground traversed, rectified. In this position the SECOND front of the brigade was drawn up on a succession of ridges and knolls heavily timbered, beyond which, at a distance generally of about 50 yard, the ground fell off abruptly. While thus engaged in rectifying the line, the battle broke upon us, and without previous intimation received, the skirmishers having been unable for the reasons hitherto given to keep pace with the movement of the line, and being no longer interposed between in and the enemy, though of this I was not informed until afterward. Favored by the broken and wooded character of the locality, the enemy advanced two very full regiments (the Seventh and Eleventh Illinois) upon that portion of my line forming what I have termed its SECOND front. Each of these regiments would seem to have been formed into a double column, occupying a half regiment front, and their whole line to have extended from the point of the angle to about the right of the Thirty-NINTH Georgia. Approaching unseen to within a distance of less than 50 yards, the enemy poured in a very heavy and destructive volley, which was at once replied to with effect. About the same moment the enemy appeared in front of and opened fire upon the first front on my line (a brisk and effective fire), but not so near and destructive as that on the SECOND front. On this (SECOND)front the portions of the regiments engaged held for a time their position against the greatly superior force of the enemy, incited by the encouragement and example of their respective commanders-Colonel McConnell and Johnson's battery(to which had been added a piece from Waddell's battery), which position was about opposite the left of the Thirty-fourth Georgia, and the two united bore down upon this regiment and the right of the Thirty-NINTH. The position of the Thirty-fourth Georgia on the new direction was unable to withstand the charge of so overpowering a force, and it, together with the right(Thirty-NINTH Georgia), was compelled to give way. Throwing myself at the point at which the break had been made, efforts were made to rally the broken line; but the enemy having obtained possession of the batteries and following up closely their advantage, these efforts proved unsuccessful, and the whole of the SECOND front fell back. By this retrograde movement, the right of the Thirty-fourth Georgia and Thirty-sixth Georgia Regiments, which had in the mean time been engaged with the enemy in their front, were uncovered, and the colonel of the latter regiment)[Jesse A.]Glenn), finding that the enemy had penetrated in his rear as far as his colors, gave the order to fall back. This regiment was rallied and held its position against the enemy had penetrated in his rear as far as his colors, gave the order to fall back. This regiment was rallied and held its position against the enemy, advancing in its front, till, threatened with being flanked on its right, it was again compelled to fall back to a new position. In a similar manner the two right regiments (FIFTY-sixth Georgia, colonel [E. P] Watkins, and FIFTY-seventh Georgia, colonel [William] Barkuloo)were compelled in succession, by the uncovering of their left and the pressure of the enemy on their front, to fall when they were able to make a stand. In this movement Colonel Watkins, who had left his sick-room at Vicksburg to take command of his regiment in the fight, was severely wounded. With these operations ends what MAY be termed the first phase of the battle so far as concerns this brigade.