Numbers 57. Report of
, Fortieth Illinois Infantry. NEAR JACKSON, MISS., July 19, 1863.
SIR: In accordance with your directions, I herewith transmit detailed account of this regiment from the 4th of July instant to the 12th instant, when Lieutenant Colonel W. Smith, Forty-sixth Ohio Volunteers, was detailed to take command of the regiment.
On the 4th, the regiment, together with the whole brigade, marched from Oak ridge. Arrived at Big Black on the morning of the 6th, where two companies(A and H) were thrown forward as skirmishers. Found the rebels in considerable force on the opposite side of the river. Those companies were relieved, later in the day, by Companies I and K. The four companies kept up a busy fire all the time but had not one either killed or wounded. During the day the regiment, by details, was engaged, under direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Babcock, in building rafts to cross the brigade, and the regiment crossed the river in the evening of the 6th. About dark of the same day, the regiment, together with the Fifteenth Michigan and Forty-sixth Ohio, marched to Birdsong plantation, the two latter regiments in advance. However, this regiment, being in the rear, in crossing a deep ditch or gully got separated, and the two leading companies(B and G)were the only companies that kept with the advance of the column. Finding that they were lost, the remaining eight companies bivouacked for the night and rejoined the command on the morning of the 7th. On the afternoon of the same day the regiment, with the DIVISION, took up the line of march and arrived, without incident worthy of note, about noon in sight of Jackson.
On the 9th, marched in line of battle, and encamped at night near the lunatic asylum, Companies G and H being in advance as skirmishers.
On the evening of the 11th, the regiment relieved the Sixth Iowa, and were posted in a line of nearly a mile as skirmishers, where it remained until the evening of the 12th, during which time the casualties were as follows:*
The regiment was relieved on the evening of the 12th by the Forty-sixth Ohio.
On the 13th, we again went upon picket, relieving the Ninety-seventh Indiana, and were relieved on the 14th by the Ninety-NINTH Indiana.
During the afternoon of the 15th, the regiment was engaged destroying about 1 mile of the Mississippi Central Railroad, burning the ties and heating and bending the rails.
On the 16th, the regiment was ordered to support the Ninety-seventh Indiana in an advance upon the rebel works. Advanced about 200 yards, under a murderous fire of shot, shell, and grape from three or four rebel batteries, firing from as many different directions, to a fence, where the most of the Ninety-seventh Indiana were lying. The men were all ordered to lie down, while the rebels continued throwing shells, &c., instantly killing Private Isaac W. Jones, Company K. The casualties during the day, beside this 1 man killed, were:+
Colonel S. G. HICKS,
*Nominal list reports 6 men wounded.
+Nominal list, omitted, shows 6 wounded.