Number 36. Report of Colonel Elijah Gates, first Missouri Cavalry (Confederate). HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION,
Demopolis, ALA., August 1, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor, in obedience to the instructions of the lieutenant-general commanding, to submit the following report of the action of the SECOND Brigade at the battle of Baker's Creek on May 16 last: About 11 o'clock on the morning of May 12, the forces of the enemy attacked my pickets-composed of three companies of infantry and a section of artillery, commanded by Major [W. C.]Parker-some 4 miles south of Edwards Depot. The enemy opened upon with skirmishers and artillery. I had possession of the creek where the road crosses leading to Port Gibson. I held them in check at this point for an hour or more, when we had to fall back slowly to the reserve (in order to keep them from flanking us), which was some 2 miles south of Edwards Depot. There I put my infantry and artillery in position, and telegraphed to General Bowen my idea of the enemy's movements. General Bowen for the wagon trains of both brigades, and I would save the stores that night. He did so, and by daylight next morning we had everything out of the depot-about seventy-five wagon loads. At the time General Bowen started the wagons to me he telegraphed me t hold my position; that General Green would be ordered to my support at once. Accordingly, at daylight General Green arrived, followed by Colonel [F. M] Cockrell; s brigade, also Generals Loring's and Stevenson's DIVISION. They formed line of battle 2 miles south of Edwards Depot. About 12 o'clock, general Loring ordered me to take a battalion of sharpshooters, then commanded by Captain [W. S.]Catterson, move to the front and press the Federal pickets, and ascertain whether or not the enemy were there in force. I did, so, and drove in the enemy's pickets, but soon had to fall back myself, for I was satisfied, from the force they brought up, that their whole force was there. I reported the same Generals Green and Bowen. About 12 o'clock on the 15th, we were ordered to move out no the road leading from the depot to Clinton. We followed the Clinton road until after crossing Baker's Creek. We then took a neighborhood road through some plantations, and about 11 p. m. bivouacked for the night and drew out skirmishers. About sunrise the 16th, a skirmish commenced with General Grant's and General Pemberton's troops. I was ordered by General Green to call my men in line and move by the right companies to the rear, which we did, first and last, to the distance of about a mile. We halted, about faced, and moved to the front some 600 yards and halted in the timber. I occupied the right of Green's brigade. General Green sent me word that General Loring was preparing for a charge, and did not want his brigade to be being in the charge. We remained in this position, I suppose, about an hour. By this time the enemy had attacked General Stevenson, on our left. We were then moved by the left flank at a double-quick nearly three-fourths of a mile; were then put in line of battle and moved to the front 200 or 300 yards before we commenced firing. There Colonel Cockrell met with his saber in hand, and exclaimed he