Numbers 4. Report of Colonel Alexander Wilkin, Ninth Minnesota Infantry, commanding First Brigade.
SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the colonel commanding, the part taken by the First Brigade, Infantry DIVISION, commanded by myself in the recent engagement at Brice's Cross- Roads, near Guntown, Miss., on the 10th instant:
My brigade on that day marched in the rear of the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel Hoge, the THIRD (colored) Brigade, commanded by Colonel Bouton, being in the rear of the First. About 11 o'clock on the morning of the 10th firing was heard in front, and I was shortly after informed that our cavalry had engaged that of the enemy and been driven back from Brice's Cross- Roads about six miles in advance. Soon after the Second Brigade was ordered to advance at double-quick, and I received orders to march my command as rapidly as I could do without leaving the supply train. Soon after, gearing that the Second Brigade was being severely pressed, I sent for permission to advance Brigade was being severely pressed, I sent for permission to advance more rapidly, leaving the train to be protected by the THIRD Brigade. Permission having been obtained I moved on the double- quick for about one mile, and reached Brice's house about 1. 30 o'clock, when the brigade was halted. Colonel McMillen then led the Ninety- fifth Ohio, Lieutenant- Colonel Brumback commanding, down the road leading past Brice's house, toward Baldwyn, and posted it on the left of the road and on the left of the [One hundred and thirteenth!] Illinois, about one- quarter of a mile beyond Brice's house. I then returned with him to the brigade and was directed to repair, with the Seventy- second Ohio and the section of Captain Mueller's Sixth Indiana Battery, to the knoll, on which stood a log- house, about 800 yards in rear of Brice's house and on the right as you go to Ripley. After the guns had been placed in position and Captain-'s company of the Seventy- second Ohio had been thrown forward toward the woods in front, the balance of the regiment having formed in line on its left for support, understanding that the enemy were endeavoring to get around our left in order to reach the train on the Ripley road, I directed Captain Mueller to throw a few shells into the timber, which was done with great precision and effect, and which evidently checked their progress. Soon after I was joined y about seventy-five dismounted cavalry, under command of an officer whose name I have not been able to learn, who formed line and kept up a spirited fire upon the enemy advancing rom the direction of the cross- roads. Shortly after this a small body of the enemy, evidently skirmishers, were seen crossing the open field in our rear and toward the Ripley road. Lieutenant- Colonel Eaton, commanding the Seventy- second Ohio, in connection with the dismounted cavalry, opened fire upon them and drove them back in confusion to the woods.
About this time I was directed by a staff officer of the colonel commanding to advance with the Seventy- second Ohio across the open fields in our front and to the right of the road, and take a position in the edge of the woods. After proceeding a short distance, orders were given to return to the first position, which was done. Upon my return I found Captain Mueller had left with his guns, as I presume with orders given during my absence, his support having been removed. About this time Captain [Ewing] of the [FIFTY- fifth U. S. Colored] Regiment, African descent, reported to me with his company, and although wounded in the leg and the only officer with the company, expressed his readi-