Numbers 15. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Salue G. Van Anda, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry, of operations March 17-April 13.
HDQRS. TWENTY-FIRST REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEERS,
Near Blakely, Ala., April 11, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the position of my regiment during the siege and capture of Spanish Fort and Blakely, Ala.:
On the 26th of March, under orders from Brigadier-General Slack, my regiment was ordered to the advance for our division and four companies thrown forward as skirmishers, the remaining companies in reserve. We moved rapidly forward for about three miles to the creeks, over very broken and difficult ground, when observing indications of the presence of the enemy our line was halted to allow the column to close up. About 10 o'clock I withdrew the four companies of skirmishers and sent out two others in their place, formed my regiment in line of battle, and again moved forward. My skirmish line almost immediately fell in with the enemy's advance and was engaged until dark. Two of my men were slightly wounded. About 8 p.m. I was again ordered forward and advanced in line of battle, preceded by two companies as skirmishers under command of Major Boardman. About 9 o'clock we drew the fire of the enemy in our front, which was vigorously returned by my skirmishers. In this advance, I lost one man killed. Under orders from Major-General Granger I remained in position on the field and was relieved at midnight by the Forty-seventh Indiana. On the 27th we moved to our position on the left of First Brigade in the siege operations against Spanish Fort, having closed upon the enemy and our skirmishers, under command of Captain Voorhees, driven him into his fortifications. On the night of the 28th the enemy made an assault on our lines. Captain J. L. Noble was near the line with a working party, when with great bravery and presence of mind he rallied his men and supported the skirmish line, driving back the enemy in great disorder. We remained in position, taking an active part in the siege operations, until the 30th, when we were withdrawn with our division to escort a supply train for Major-General Steele. I proceeded to Holyoke Mills and remained in camp there until the 2nd of April, when we were ordered forward to Blakely. I moved at 7 p.m.; marched five miles and bivouacked near Bay Minette, and at daylight on the morning of the 3rd took up position in the rear of Blakely immediately on the right of General Garrard's forces.
During the operations against Blakely my regiment entered the rifle-pits on the night of the 7th at dark, but met with no casualties, although our skirmishers and working parties were very much exposed during the night, when the enemy advanced upon our lines and my whole regiment was under a severe fire from his artillery, which for two hours threw shells incessantly along our rifle-pits. My regiment was relieved at dark and almost immediately ordered to the support of Major-General Smith's forces in the contemplated assault on Spanish Fort. I proceeded to Bay Minette, and was then ordered back to my position behind Blakely, which I regained at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 9th instant. My regiment, having been on duty nearly forty-eight hours, took no part in the successful assault on Blakely that day. I am under many obligations to the officers and men of my regiment for their soldierly conduct during the campaign. Surg. D. W. Chase, Actg. Major E. Boardman, Adjt. George Crooke, Sergt. Major J. Dubois,