Numbers 59. Report of Brigadier General James I. Gilbert, U. S. Army, commanding Second Brigade, of operations April 3-9.
HDQRS. SECOND Brigadier, SECOND DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS.
Fort Blakely, Ala., April 10, 1865
I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my command in the siege,charge and capture of Fort Blakely, Ala.:
My brigade consisted of the Sixth Minnesota Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel H. P. Grant commanding; Tenth Kansas Veteran Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Hills commanding; Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, Major G. W. Howard commanding; Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel G. A. Eberhart commanding, and One hundred and seventeenth Illinois Infantry, Colonel R. M. Moore commanding. Aggregate effective force, 1,995. On the afternoon of April 3 my command moved into position in front of the rebel works, holding the center of General Garrard's division, which was upon the left of General Steele's command. I immediately threw out a strong skirmish line, which advanced in gallant style under brisk fire 200 yards, driving in the rebel skirmishers, and then threw up a strong line of entrenchments, with a loss of three men wounded. This line was held until the evening of the 6th, when my skirmish line was again advanced 300 yards. Continued skirmishing occurred, with brisk artillery fire from the enemy. On the evening of the 7th the enemy made a sortie upon the advance line, but were handsomely repulsed without loss to us. My whole number of casualties up to the afternoon of April 9 was 7 enlisted men, 2 mortally wounded, since dead, and 5 wounded. At 3 p.m. April 9, in obedience to orders from General Garrard, I moved my command to the reserve entrenched lines preparatory to charging the enemy's works. The Tenth Kansas and Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, occupied the picket-line,as skirmishers; the Twenty-seventh Iowa, One hundred and seventeenth Illinois, and Companies D, H, and K, of the Thirty-second Iowa, in order from right to left, formed the advance line; the Sixth Minnesota and the other seven companies of the Thirty-second Iowa formed the reserve. At 5.30 p.m. a rapid and severe artillery fire commenced, which was soon followed up by a general advance and charge. My main line of battle was 1,100 yards distant from the rebel fortifications; the intervening ground was covered with timber felled in every possible direction, torpedoes planted in front of the works, wire stretched from stump to stump, a double line of abatis, and in rear of all a very strong line of fortifications. At the command to advance the line raised a shout, pressed rapidly forward, reached and carried the enemy's works, and pursued the disconcerted enemy to the river-bank, capturing 9 pieces of artillery and 573 prisoners, and in fact every rebel in our front, although the enemy's gun-boats lay in the Tensas River only a few rods in advance. Leaving a picket of 300 men the command returned with its prisoners to camp. Officers and men throughout the entire command did their duty and did it well. The Tenth Kansas, a little band of heroes, rushed forward as into the jaws of death, with a determination to conquer or die. Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, acted with the same valor. Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them. I am at a loss for words to express my admiration for them and their gallant officers, and when I say that Lieutenant-Colonel Hills is worthy to command such men language is exhausted in his praise. Major Hutchison, of the Thirty-second Iowa, also distinguished himself both in the assault