War of the Rebellion: Serial 050 Page 0282 KY.,SW.VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N.ALA.,AND N.GA. Chapter XLII.

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which were soon retaken. The loss of men, horses, and harness prevented Lieutenant Willits from sustaining his position; he consequently moved to the rear, but soon re-entered the field with four guns. At dark he was ordered by General Starkweather to retire, which he did, and again took the field on the 20th and retired with the brigade at evening.

Loss on the 20th, 8 men wounded and 4 missing. The axle-trees of his two James rifles were broken, one was abandoned, the other brought off the field. Privates Bailey and Perdoil brought off the field a rebel 6-pounder gun, smooth-bore, which the lieutenant yet has.

His battery now consists of two 12-pounder light guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, one 6-pounder smooth-bore [rebel], unserviceable, and one 6-pounder James gun [dismounted]; four gun carriages, three caissons, one forge, and one battery wagon.

The First Michigan Battery entered the field complete, under command of First Lieutenant George W. Van Pelt. The battery took several positions before opening fire on the enemy. On forming in its fourth position the battery fired sixty-four rounds of canister and percussion shell. The enemy rushed upon the battery in overwhelming numbers, compelling the infantry support to fall back. The men remained with the battery until the enemy's bayonets were at their breasts.

Five guns fell into the enemy's hands; one was got safely off the field. One gun was subsequently recaptured. Lieutenant Van Pelt and 5 men were killed, 6 seriously wounded, and 13 made prisoners.

Lieutenant Wilbur speaks highly of the gallant bearing of Lieutenant Van Pelt on the field of battle. Before being killed he cheered on his men to victory, and his death has left a blank in the army of the Union.

Not having myself been present in person with the batteries of the division, I can give no opinion myself regarding the action on their part. I am convinced, however, from what I have since learned, that everything was done by them which bravery and a devotion to the cause could accomplish.

The army, in the death of Lieutenant H. M. Burnham, has experienced a sad loss; although a young man he had the bearing of a true soldier, and had he been spared, would have earned a fame which many would have envied.

It is to be hoped that Lieutenant Ludlow, now a prisoner in the hands of the enemy, will at an early date be restored to the battery, with which he has fought ever since its organization and of which he was a bright ornament.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain Fifth Artillery.


Chief of Artillery, Fourteenth Army Corps.