with the evident intention of capturing the trains. The first attack in force fell principally upon the First DIVISION, which immediately preceded the Second Brigade, to which my regiment was attached. Upon arriving at the point of attack I was ordered by Colonel Alexander Wilkin, who was then commanding the brigade, to take a position about FIFTY rods to the right of the roads to support a battery that was then shelling the enemy. A small force of the enemy, thirty or forty in number, soon appeared in my front, not more than eight or ten rods distant. We at first took them to be our skirmishers falling back, and they evidently took us to be a portion of their own force. Consequently, our fire was reserved until they were seen to aim toward the battery, when my men were ordered to fire. It is believed that few, if any, of this party escaped. I was immediately ordered to advance, and in passing hurriedly over the ground one officer of my regiment counted 17 dead and wounded. I advanced a half or three-quarters of a mile, when orders came to return to the road and again take up the line of march.
On the 14th instant the enemy again attacked us in our position in large force near Tupelo. After a sanguinary conflict of three hours, the enemy was repulsed with great slaughter, leaving his dead and wounded in our possession. During the engagement my regiment was held in reserve, forming a part of the fourth line, but so hot was the enemy's fire at this point, that, although my men were lying flat on the ground, I had 1 man killed and 5 wounded. In this engagement Colonel Alexander Wilkin was killed. At 10 a. m., as the enemy retired, an advance was ordered. My regiment was placed on the extreme right of the line. We advanced a half or three-quarters of a mile, but as the enemy only threw a few shells, and then left the field altogether, the troops were ordered back to their old position, where they bivouacked for the night.
On the 15th instant the enemy attacked the First DIVISION. After driving in the cavalry that had been sent out to cover our movements, the THIRD DIVISION and train having already moved out, my regiment was ordered into position on the left of the line, and Company K, Lieutenant Capon commanding, thrown out as skirmishers. After a sharp engagement by a portion of the troops, the entire line was ordered to advance. We advanced about one mile in line of battle, a part of the way through a dense thicket, the enemy taking good care to keep out of range of our musketry. This advanced position was held for an hour or two, our batteries during the time shelling the enemy, when orders were received to fall back and take up the line of march, following the THIRD Brigade and train.
The conduct of the officers and men of my command was commendable during all of these engagements, especially on the 14th, when we were held so long in reserve under the enemy's fire. The leaden hail fell thick and fast in and about my ranks for over two hours, yet not a man moved from his place without orders. Where all behaved so well it would be unjust to particularize.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. MARSH,
Lieutenant-Colonel Ninth Minnesota Volunteers.
Colonel J. D. McCLURE,
Commanding Second Brigadier, First Div., SIXTEENTH Army Corps.
* Nominal list (omitted) shows 1 officers and 1 enlisted man killed and 5 enlisted men wounded.