War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0114 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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Numbers 7. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Charles G. Eaton, Seventy- second Ohio Infantry.


Memphis, Tenn., June 18, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 39, headquarters First Brigade, First DIVISION, SIXTEENTH Army Corps, dated Memphis, Tenn., May 31, 1864, this regiment, as part of the infantry force commanded by Colonel W. L. McMillen, reported at the Memphis and Charleston depot at 6 a. m. June 1, 1864. From the depot we were transported by rail to a point about three miles east of Collierville, a from whence we proceeded by slow and easy marched to our camp on the side hill, about four miles north of the Hatchie bottom, where we arrived the evening of June 9. The march of the command, of which the Seventy- second Ohio formed a part, from Collierville to this camp, was slow on account of rainy weather, muddy roads, and being encumbered with a train of some 250 wagons. At 6 a. m. June 10 we moved from this camp, marching at a good pace for about nine miles, when I was notified by Captain Buckland of Colonel McMillen's staff, that the cavalry command was engaged with the enemy in front, and that it would be necessary for me to hurry up my regiment. Accordingly I moved my regiment at a very rapid pace some three miles to the battle- field, where we arrived between 2 and 3 p. m. The day being extremely hot an sultry, quite a number of my men fell out before we arrived there, being overcome with heat and fatigue. Upon arriving at the battle- field, by order of Colonel W. L. McMillen, commanding Infantry DIVISION, the Seventy- second Regiment was stationed on the left of the line to support Mueller's battery, which was immediately on its right, and cover the road to the rear. The battery was stationed on a hill in front of a log house, the right of the Seventy- second resting near the battery, and the regiment extending to the left nearly to the foot of the hill. In front of the Seventy- second, about 250 yards, was another hill, m on the top of which were stationed a few rebels, concealed by bushes and rail fence. The space between the Seventy- second and the rebel line was an open field, giving us a good opportunity to see any advance on the part of the enemy. I had five companies deploy as skirmishes to the front and to the right. They kept up a little skirmishing with enemy for about an hour and a half, when Colonel Wilkin, commanding brigade, ordered me to withdraw my regiment from the position on the left of the line, and to form it in line, so that the left would rest about one hundred yards to the right of Mueller's battery. Colonel Wilkin informed me that the object of this movement was to protect the cavalry while they should retreat across the bridge to the rear. Accordingly I withdrew my regiment, with the exception of the five companies which had previously been deployed as skirmishers, but had not arrived at the position where I was ordered to establish my regiment before the five companies deployed as skirmishers were heavily engaged with the skirmishers of the enemy. I suggested to Colonel Wilkin the propriety of moving my regiment back to its former position, for the reason that if the enemy should drive back my five skirmish companies it would enable him to possess the road to our rear, thereby cutting us off from retreat in case of disaster, and also enable him to destroy the large train of ammunition and commissary stores. Colonel Wilkin, seeing how much damage the enemy could do by forcing back the left o our line, consented to my returning to my first position. As soon as my regiment arrived at the first position a heavy line of the enemy's skirmishers, which extended quite a distance beyond the left of