War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0295 Chapter LI. EXPEDITION TO TUPELO, MISS.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 29. Report of Colonel Edward H. Wolfe, FIFTY-second Indiana Infantry, commanding THIRD Brigade, including attack on train near La Fayette, Tenn., June 23.


Memphis, Tenn., July 29, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: In compliance with ordered from headquarters THIRD DIVISION, SIXTEENTH Army Corps, July 28, 1864, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command during the late expedition to Tupelo, Miss.:

In obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 63, paragraph VI, headquarters Right Wing, SIXTEENTH Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn., June 23, 1864, my command, after having been paid off, proceeded by train to Moscow, on the 23d. When near La Fayette a party of guerrillas fired into the train, killing and wounding several. Some of the men who jumped or fell off the cars were captured and afterward murdered. Their bodies were recovered by a party of the Second Iowa Cavalry and recognized by Lieutenant McDonald, One hundred and seventy-eighty New York Volunteers. At Moscow the brigade remained until the 27th, when it took up th line of march for La Grange, which was reached the same day.

On July 5, at 4 p. m., left La Grange for Pontotoc; arrived there July 11. While there my command was almost constantly kept under arms on account of the enemy firing at intervals into the pickets. Left Pontotoc for Tupelo on 13th. Upon arriving there on the same day the command went into camp, with the exception of the One hundred and seventeenth Illinois, which was placed in position on a high and commanding ridge on the extreme left of the THIRD DIVISION.

At daybreak on the morning of the 14th, when our pickets were attacked, my command was ordered to take position in order of battle on the ridge above referred to, to connect on my right with the First Brigade, THIRD DIVISION, and on my left with a brigade of colored troops. At 7 a. m., after driving in our skirmishers, the enemy appeared in considerable force in front of the First Brigade, with the unmistakable intention of carrying the batteries. A well- directed fire from the right oblique by part of my command (FIFTY- second Indiana and One hundred and seventy-eighth New York Volunteers), and a terrible cross-fire of shell, case, and canister by Battery G, Second Illinois Artillery, must have contributed considerably in throwing the enemy into confusion and compelling him to bear a hasty retreat. For about three hours the enemy kept shelling my lines, but was vigorously replied to by Battery G., Second Illinois Artillery, with effect of silencing one of his batteries (smooth-bores) and compelling another one (rifle guns) to move out of our range, which rendered their fire comparatively harmless. For the balance of the day the enemy left us undisturbed until 10 p. m., when, driving in the pickets, a considerable force came charging in on my left, evidently with the design of driving us from our eminence, the key to the whole battle-field. The brigade of colored troops and the Second Brigade, THIRD DIVISION (on the of colored troops), having left their position in the evening my command was first to meet the enemy, whose fore for fifteen or twenty minutes was very determined, but meeting with still more determination he soon gave way. In this night attack the One hundred and seventeenth Illinois bore the most