War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0125 Chapter XXXVIII. SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON, LA.

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they conducted themselves with great gallantry and bravery, for the truth of which assertion I have but to point to the record inclosed.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

JOSEPH SELDEN,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Twenty-sixth Connecticut Vols.

General J. D. WILLIAMS

Adjutant-General, Hartford, Conn.

Numbers 21. Report of Captain Francis S. Keese, One hundred and twenty-eighth New York Infantry, of the first assault.

BEFORE PORT HUDSON, May 31, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Wednesday, May 27:

During the early part of the day, Companies H, I, and G, under my immediate command were stationed on the Port Hudson road, deployed as skirmishers and sharpshooters. At 1.30 p.m. moved to the position occupied by the Vermont battery, in line of woods facing the rebel earthworks. From there we moved forward, and formed line of battle with the remainder of the regiment, under command of Colonel D. S. Cowles. We moved too the charge about 2.10 p.m. the One hundred and twenty-eighth being the rear regiment of the brigade. The whole regiment, except Companies A and C, were in the fight. These two companies were deployed on the right as sharpshooters. Several fences broke the line of battle at the time of the charge, throwing the troops into considerable confusion and disorder. A deep gully upon the right of the road also operated disadvantageously. Colonel D. S. Cowles boldly led forward his regiment in face of a galling fire, and after Generals Sherman, yourself, and Clark, of the Sixth Michigan Volunteers, were wounded, the command of the brigade devolved upon him. He was mortally wounded while rallying his men, and died upon the field of battle. Throughout the entire engagement he displayed signal coolness and courage and showed himself every inch a soldier. After his death, the command of the regiment devolved upon myself, I being the senior officer upon the field. All the men of this command fought nobly, and boldly advanced to the charge in spite of the great disadvantages under which they labored. The officers performed their duty boldly, and were to be seen in front of their men, cheering them on. Where all the officers performed their duty so well, it would be invidious to distinguish.

The regiment retreated about 4.30 p.m., but afterward many again advanced to the front, and, from behind stumps and logs kept up an incessant fire upon any of the enemy who showed themselves above the parapet. Captain Arthur De Wint, Company F, was wounded in the arm while in charge of the advance guard or storming party. Lieutenant Charles L. Van Slyck, Company E, was killed during the early part of the engagement, while nobly cheering on his men. The bodies of many of our dead were found within a short distance of the rebel earthworks, while none retreated until the command was given to that effect.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRANCIS S. KEESE,

Captain, Commanding 128th New York Volunteers.

Brigadier General NEAL DOW,

Commanding First Brigadier, Second Div., Nineteenth Army Corps.