War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0265 Chapter LI. EXPEDITION TO TUPELO, MISS.

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Numbers 9. Report of Colonel John D. McClure, Forty-seventh Illinois Infantry, commanding Second Brigade.


Memphis, Tenn., July 22, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of operations of this brigade during the late expedition:

The brigade left La Grande, Tenn., on the 5th instant, then being under command of Colonel Alexander Wilkin, Ninth Minnesota Infantry Volunteers, and continued on during the very hot weather.

On the 13th instant, while on the march from Pontotoc to Tupelo, word was brought forward to Colonel Wilkin that the rear had been attacked, and that the enemy were passing by our brigade and occasionally firing upon it and the brigade teams from a cross- road. He immediately deployed the Eleventh Missouri Volunteers and Forty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, and with them held the road until the train had passed. Meantime, the remainder of the brigade had been formed in line of battle, on an open field to the left of the road and facing to the rear. This done under orders from General Mower, and shortly after moved back on the road some distance, and remained until the train had all passed, when we were ordered to proceed on the march. After going about a mile and a half or two miles we heard heavy firing n the front, and soon learned that the First Brigade had been attacked. We pushed ahead, passing the ambulances containing wounded brought up from the rear. The Second Iowa Battery had been in the advance, and were now playing upon the rebels as rapidly as their guns could be loaded, and, as afterward ascertained, did good execution. Orders soon came for one regiment of the Second Brigade to enter the wood on the right of the First Brigade. The ninth Minnesota formed line and entered the wood through a corn-field, but before they had taken their position a force was seen coming around between us and the First Brigade, and so much dressed like our own men our fire was reserved some time, as it was impossible to distinguish them. Satisfied that they were rebels, Colonel Wilkin directed the Ninth to fire, and so completely surprised were the enemy that they fled in the utmost confusion, leaving many killed and wounded on the field. The Forty-seventh Illinois was now brought up, formed on the right of the Ninth Minnesota, and together advanced until the halt was ordered and they returned. The detachment of the Fifth Minnesota and Eighth Wisconsin had been ordered to support the Second Iowa Battery, and did so until word was brought from the First Brigade that they needed assistance, when they were sent ahead, and rejoined us on the march. They were not placed forward, as the enemy had retreated when they were brought up. The Eleventh Missouri Infantry were held back as a reserve until General Mower ordered them into the woods in rear of the Ninth Minnesota and Forty-seventh Illinois, but by the time they had taken their position these regiments were retiring, and the Eleventh was ordered to join them.

Nothing further occurred until the next day, when the battle of Harrisburg was fought. The Second brigade was held as a reserve, and formed in two lines immediately in rear of the Fourth Brigade and in a valley. We were, while there, under a heavy fire from the guns of the enemy, their shell, canister, &c., passing over the advanced forces and exploding around us. The Forty-seventh Illinois and Eleventh