War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0299 Chapter LI. EXPEDITION TO TUPELO, MISS.

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Numbers 33. Report of Lieutenant John W. Lowell, Battery G, Second Illinois Light Artillery.


La Grange, Tenn., July 21, 1864.

SIR: I would respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by my battery in the battle of Tupelo, on the 14th instant:

I was ordered to place my battery in a commanding position in the front of the THIRD Brigade, which I accomplished just before the commencement of the action, but seeing immediately that the first attack of the enemy would be made farther to our right I changed my battery front so as to command the ground in front of the First Brigade. As soon as the enemy showed his line preparatory to making the charge on the battery to our right, I opened a destructive cross-fire upon his lines with shell, and in the charge which immediately followed I produced the most terrible destruction in their ranks, pouring in a deadly cross-fire of shell, case, and canister until their shattered fragments entirely disappeared from sight. From the advantageous position of my battery, I believe my guns did this brigade of the enemy more damage than all the other fire combined. My shells were bursting every instant in their ranks, and beyond a doubt it was one of my shells that caused the death of General Faulkner and his splendid charger. I had just ceased firing when, by order of General Smith, one section was placed in position farther to the left, and by a few well-directed shots broke the line the enemy was forming directly in the front of our brigade. By permission of Colonel Wolfe, commanding, brigade, I then moved up the other section to the same position and attacked the two batteries of the enemy which had opened upon my battery. I soon silenced the battery of smooth-bores, but the rifled guns, which were at a great distance from my position and entirely out of view, kept up their fire but did no damage. While thus employed the enemy brought a regiment of cavalry up under cover of the woods a little to the left of our front, dismounted them, and advanced into the woods to within about 600 yards of my battery, apparently with the intention of attacking the battery. I immediately sent word to the colonel commanding the brigade, and trained my guns upon them. As the woods were thick I could only guess at the effects by the explosion of my shells and the crashing among the timber; but an officer of the One hundred and seventeenth Illinois, who commanded the skirmishers in front of my battery, tells me that before we had fired ten shots the rebels broke and ran in the wildest confusion to the farther line of timber. He also says my shells killed a horse and his rider, and an orderly of Colonel Moore's I think, showed me letters which he took from the person of this rebel officer, which showed him to be Colonel Crossland, of the Seventh Kentucky, and who was commanding a brigade. As my guns were by this time much heated and my men much exhausted, and there appearing to be no necessity for continuing firing, I ceased for half an hour, at the expiration of which time General Smith, observing the enemy to be forming a line still farther to the left, ordered me to bring up one gun and open on them. The first shell burst right in their midst, opening their line for thirty yards. When six shots had been fired not one of the enemy was to be seen. As they did not again show themselves during the day we did no further firing.