War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0753 Chapter XLII. CHALMERS' RAID.

Search Civil War Official Records

tion of the firing I hurried to the camp, and found that Lieutenant-Colonel Martin had made such disposition as would protect as far as possible the camp and depot.

Simultaneously with my arrival the reserve picket on the left of the line was attacked by a heavy force and retreated in the direction of the camp, endeavoring to hold the enemy in check. In this effort a number were ridden down and captured. Upon reaching the front, from which the attack was being made, I immediately deployed Companies I, G, and E as skirmishers and advanced them 200 yards south of and parallel with the railroad. Companies B and C were left in rifle-pits protecting the rear of the camp as approached upon the State Line road east and west. These dispositions had just been completed when a flag of truce was discovered approaching from the enemy, and at the same time a train arrived going east, bearing Major-General Sherman and staff, escorted by about 240 of the Thirteenth Infantry, U. S. Army. The flag of truce was from General Chalmers, borne by his assistant adjutant-general, and his communication a demand for the unconditional surrender of the post. Having received the flag in person, a compliance with the demand was at once refused. The Thirteenth U. S. Infantry was at once disembarked, and formed in line of battle immediately on the left of the three companies of the Sixty-sixth Indiana.

Upon the return of the flag the enemy opened with artillery upon the earth-work and depot. Having no artillery, and by reason of the scarcity of our numbers, we were compelled to act entirely on the defensive. Our fire was reserved until the enemy moved within the range of small-arms, when it opened actively from both sides.

Company D, having been sent upon the railroad in the morning to assist in the repairs, arrived and was placed north of and perpendicular to railroad, to guard against a flank movement on my right and rear, then being attempted. This company soon became hotly engaged, and Company E was withdrawn from the front to re-enforce it.

Thirty or 40 passengers on the train were armed with some surplus guns in my possession, and, at his own request, placed in command of Lieutenant James, Third U. S. Cavalry, and a member of General Sherman's staff, and these were also sent to re-enforce Companies E and D, then hard pressed on the right by the Second Missouri, under Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch. Upon the arrival of Lieutenant James, the two companies, with a portion of Lieutenant James' command, charged the enemy with great boldness, and drove them 500 yards into a wood, when, encountering three additional rebel regiments, they were compelled to retire to their original position. In this attack Lieutenant James was severely wounded and Lieutenant Millis, Company D, was taken prisoner, with 12 of his men, and had 2 wounded. Company E lost 7 killed and wounded and 5 missing. About an hour after commencement of the attack, the Thirteenth Infantry on the left of the line, fell back on the earth-work and occupied that and the surrounding ditches.

This movement involved the necessity of withdrawing the companies of the Sixty-sixth from the front. Company I was ordered into the earth-work, and Company G into the ditch on the west of the work. After the charge referred to, made upon our right, the enemy attempted no farther encroachments upon that flank, and Company E was withdrawn and placed in the depot building. The positions