War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0172 KY., SW. VA., TENN,. MISS., N. ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

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Numbers 283.

Report of Captain Daniel Coleman, Fifteenth Mississippi Battalion Sharpshooters.


In Front of Chattanooga, October 6, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by Hawkins' sharpshooters in the battle of Chickamauga September 19 and 20:

On Saturday, September 19, were ordered from where we had encamped the night before, and began the march for the battle-field about 11 a.m. We marched leisurely, and did not reach the field until 5 p.m. About half an hour was consumed in arranging the lines, when we were ordered forward. The battalion moved forward in line with the brigade. Its position was on the right of the Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi Regiments, and we were ordered to conform our line to that of Brigadier-General Polk's brigade, on our right. We did not move far before we met the enemy's line of battle, sheltered behind a fence. They engaged us hotly for some time, but finally gave way before the impetuosity of our troops. They fell back across the field and formed again in the edge of the woods on the other side. By this time night had come on, and the position of the enemy could only be told by the blaze of their guns. The last position was hotly contested by the enemy, but they again gave way, and this time they seemed to be in much confusion. We continued to advance, and had gone about a mile, when, on account of the darkness, we were ordered to halt and throw out skirmishers in front of the line. Company B, commanded by myself, was ordered to be deployed 400 yards in advance of the line, and to unite with the skirmishers from Colonel Lowrey's regiment (Thirty-second and Forty-fifth Mississippi), so as to double the line. This company was deployed and remained in this position during the whole night. We were within hearing of the enemy, they being not more than 400 or 500 yards from us. They seemed busily occupied in felling trees and chopping. The enemy did not advance, and there was no firing during the night.

Early the next morning this company was relieved by the other company of the battalion, viz, Company A, commanded by Captain T. M. Steger, and my company returned to its position on the right of Colonel Lowrey's regiment. We remained thus all the fore part of Sunday morning, receiving our rations and eating breakfast quietly. About 10.30 o'clock we were again ordered forward, and moved in quick time, and part of the time at double-quick time, until we ascended a ridge and came in contact with the enemy's line concealed behind their log breastworks. There was so little protection here, the trees being very scattering, that our men were ordered to lie down. The engagement soon became furious. The enemy's shot and shell plowed through our ranks with telling effect, and owing to their protected position I do not think we injured them much in return. We remained here about an hour and a half. The brigade on our right had been repulsed and had given way some time before. We soon heard that the left of our brigade had also given way, and the left of the Thirty-second Mississippi, owingn to this fact I suppose, soon began to give back, but, by the gallantry of the colonel, the regiment was soon steadied in its position, notwith-