Numbers 63. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Hills, Tenth Kansas Infantry, of operations April 9.
HDQRS. BATTALION TENTH KANSAS VET. VOL. INFTY.,
Fort Blakely, Ala., April 11, 1865.
SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part in which the troops under my command participated in the assault on the enemy's works in rear of Blakely, Ala., April 9, 1865:
At 10 a.m. on that day I received orders from Brigadier-General Gilbert, commanding brigade, to hold my regiment in readiness, to move at a moment's notice, which order was immediately transmitted to company commanders. At 1 p.m. I received orders to move immediately to the outer line of works and relieve the picket then occupying those works. A detail of fifty men under Lieutenant Bryan were then already on the reserve skirmish line, and twenty-five men of the command were absent from camp with a work party. At 2 p.m. I occupied the outer picket-line, relieving the old picket and at 3 p.m. Lieutenant Bryan reported to me with the picket reserve of fifty men and at 3.30 p.m. was strengthened by twenty-eight men under command of Second Lieutenant W. S. Sims, Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, which completed the skirmish line in front of the entire brigade, consisting of 148 men, in the following order: Right wing, detachment Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, and Company B, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain W. C. Jones, Tenth Kansas, with Lieutenant W. S. Sims, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant John Bryan, Tenth Kansas, subordinate; left, Companies C and D, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain George D. Brooke with Lieutenant George W. May subordinate; center, Company A, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain R. W. Wood, with Lieutenant Porter M. Phillips subordinate. At 4 p.m. General Gilbert notified me that the advance on the rebel works would be made at 5 p.m. commencing on the left and continued through the line, each man immediately following the man on his left my left following immediately the right of the Third Brigade skirmishers; that I should advance my line with the right retired and drive the enemy's pickets from their pits, draw the fire of his main line, and ascertain his strength as well as his weak point; and in the event that he should open my line with spirit and expose them to too hot a fire I should take advantage of what cover the fallen timber and irregular ground offered, and lie down await the arrival of the main line. At 5.30 p.m. the movement commenced as directed. The men, leaping over our entrenchments advanced on a run to the enemy's first line of rifle-pits, which were abandoned without much resistance as was also his second line. While descending the slope to the ravine which lay in my front the enemy opened with a galling fire of artillery and musketry, using shell, spherical case canister, and grape, which induced me to look for shelter in the ravine, in accordance with previous orders, but which, on reaching, I found to be enfiladed, with previous orders, but which, on reaching, I found to be enfiladed, and afforded no shelter whatever. For this reason no halt was ordered, our safety depending on breaking through the main works on my left, if possible; if not at any point, take him on the flank and double him up.
On gaining the high ground past the ravine the firing became more rapid, and had it been well directed would have been very destructive. No man in the line returned the fire but each one devoted his whole energy to reach the works as soon as possible climbed over fallen trees with