Numbers 20. Report of Colonel Thomas J. Kinney, One hundred and nineteenth Illinois Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS 119TH Illinois INFANTRY VOLS.,
Memphis, Tenn., July 28, 1864.
SIR: I would respectfully present the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the late battle of Tupelo, Miss., on the 14th instant, to wit:
The line was formed about 6 a. m., the right of our brigade resting on the Pontotoc road, as follows: One hundred and twenty-second Illinois next from right to left, the THIRD Indiana Battery, Eighty-ninth Indiana, FIFTY-eighth Illinois, Twenty-first Missouri, and the One hundred and nineteenth Illinois on the left of the line. At about 7 o'clock the cavalry were driven in. We then advanced a strong line of skirmishers covering my front, which was driven in about 9 o'clock. My men were sheltered by an elevation of ground in front, completely concealing us from the view of the rebels, who steadily advanced until within some FIFTY yards of our line, when I gave the order to rise up, fire, and charge them. The first volley given by my line caused them to halt, turn back at double-quick, while we followed, pouring in a murderous fire as we advanced, and covering the ground with dead and wounded in our front. After advancing our line some 300 or 400 yards into the field we halted for a short time, then moved back to the position originally occupied by us, taking with us many prisoners, and leaving the rebel wounded on the field. After falling back I advanced two companies as skirmishers in our front, and then went out in person to look after the wounded. While engaged in the humane act of administering to the wounded rebels on the field, we were fired upon by the enemy from the woods, some 300 yards distant. This caused us to cease our acts of kindness for a time, but after a time we resumed the efforts, and succeeded in carrying from the field all the wounded, who were duly cared for by our surgeons. This ended the engagement in our front, and we only remained under arms during the rest of the day and following night.
The Twenty-first Missouri Infantry Volunteers was formed on my right and charged with us, they, too, capturing many prisoners. I think I can say with safety that this regiment and my own captured nearly all the prisoners taken in the fight of that day. I am unable to say how many were taken by either of the regiments, as no count was kept of the number. This much I can say, that the rebels were badly punished, and would not like to renew the attack with anything like equal numbers.
It is proper here to call the attention of the ordnance department to the inefficiency of our ammunition, both in quality and quantity. The rebels have a decided advantage over us in that particular, their cartridges containing one-THIRD more powder and of a much better quality than ours. They fire with greater effect a distance of 800 yards than we do at 600 yards. I am fully satisfied that there is a great injustice being done the Government, by the failure of contractors or officers in charge of arsenals, in the manner of preparing our ammunition, and think it should be attended to at once.
The officers and men under my command all did their duty bravely and well, for which I tender my thanks.
THOMAS J. KINNEY,
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Lieutenant SAMUEL D. SAWYER,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. General, 1st Brigadier, 3rd Div., 16th Army Corps.