The campaign for Vicksburg stalled, so Maj. Gen. John McClernand, at the suggestion of Maj. Gen. Sherman, undertook the elimination of the disruption to navigation caused by the confederate Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post on the Arkansas River. The navy bombarded the fort while the army attacked it on the land side. The Ninety Sixth Ohio participated in the capture of Arkansas Post and this was its first real participation in any military engagement. This started what was to be the most eventful year in the history of the regiment.
Organization of the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Reports or Correspondence Related to the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry 1863
Emancipation Proclamation becomes final
Expedition to Arkansas Post, Ark.,
Return of Casualties in the Union forces engaged at Arkansas Post, Ark., January 11, 1863 [96th Ohio - 10 enlisted men killed - 25 enlisted men wounded] (WR XXIX: 716). [The men killed outright on the 11th included 10 men, by the 28th the death toll reached 21, presumably about half of the wounded died.]
10-11 Assault and capture of Fort Hindman, Arkansas Post, January 10-11.
Report of Col. Joseph W. Vance, Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry. Headquarters Ninety-Sixth Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry, In the Field, before Fort Hindman, Ark., January 12, 1863.
Sir: I have the honor to report that the Ninety-sixth Ohio volunteer infantry went into the action of the 11th instant 244 strong, the regiment having been thus reduced by sickness and detail. Company B (Captain Leonard) and a part of Company G (Captain Kimball) were detailed to serve with the Seventeenth Ohio Battery. We took our position, as per orders, on the left of the brigade and in the rear of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery. While lying in that position the regiment suffered much from the enemy's shells. When ordered to go forward the regiment moved eagerly and unflinchingly into the open field, and at the time of the surrender were in the advance and within about 250 feet of the fort. Although the first battle in which the regiment has been engaged, the men and officers behaved with the coolness and firmness of veterans. The casualties were 10 killed and 25 wounded. J. W. Vance, Colonel commanding. (WR XXIX: 738)
"On the tenth of January, 1863, it landed near Arkansas Post, and on the eleventh engaged in the severe battle at that place, resulting in the capture of the rebel forces and works. Companies A and B were in the thickest of the battle and suffered some loss. In company A, Corporal E. W. Mc Giffin, V. B. Hildreth, and J. H. Clements were killed, and Sergeant George Thorne, J. T. Hutton, Norton A. Meker, and Jesse P. Robertson were wounded. Hutton subsequently died of wounds received there. The loss in the regiment in this battle was ten killed and twenty-six wounded." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 322).
17 Moved to Young's Point January 17, and duty there till March 10.
[Transported on the steamboat J C Swan during which time (January 23-31) the Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry lost 15 men apparently to disease.]
While at Young's Point the Ninety-sixth lost 61 apparently from disease and the following expeditions.
"The regiment returned to Young's Point, Louisiana, January 25, 1863; accompanied the army in its flanking movement to the rear of Vicksburg and took part in the siege of that city until its surrender July 4, 1863. Although under fire almost daily while working in the trenches, or occupying their camp, no casualties appear in the Knox county companies at Vicksburg. The rebel General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery, who came into our lines July 3d, under flag of truce to negotiate for the surrender, were met by Captain Leonard, of Company B, and conducted to the headquarters o f General A. J. Smith" History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 322).
February 14-26 Expedition to Greenville, Miss., and Cypress Bend, Ark., February 14-26.
February 14-26, 1863--Expedition to Greenville, Miss., and Cypress Bend, Ark., with skirmishes (19th) at Cypress Bend and (23d) at Deer Creek and fish lake Bridge, near Greenville.
Report of Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge, U. S. Army, Hedqrs. First Brig., Tenth Div., Thirteenth A. C., Young's Point, La., February 27, 1863.
Lieutenant: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade against rebel forces at Greenville and other places: In obedience to Special Orders, No. 44, dated Headquarters Tenth Division, Thirteenth army Corps, Department of the Tennessee, Young's Point, La., February 13, 1863, this brigade embarked on transports on the morning of the 14th instant, and moved to Greenville, which place we reached at 10 a. m. of the 16th instant. I immediately disembarked my command, and moved out on the Vicksburg road to the plantation of smith and Hood, on Deer Creek, 7 1/2 miles from Greenville. At this point I ;earned that the rebel force, consisting of six pieces of artillery and a force of cavalry and infantry, variously estimated at from 300 to 1,000, had passed this place, going toward Bolivar, 20 miles distant. As the roads were almost impassable, in consequence of rain, which had been falling since we left our transports, the command rested here and returned to the boats next morning.
On the morning of the 18th, I moved the fleet to Cypress Bend, where, but a few days previous, a transport had been fired into, and on the morning of the 19th started a detachment of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, under Major [Bacon] Montgomery and Captain Chambers, and about 50 infantry, mounted on mules. About 4 miles from the river they encountered a small picket force and drove it to their camp, killing 1 and capturing the lieutenant in command. six miles farther on they encountered a battery, which opened upon them from the opposite bank of Boggy Bayou, which at this point runs nearly parallel with the river and connects with Cypress Bayou 8 miles from the point where our transports were. There is another bayou which flows into Boggy Bayou at the place where the battery was planted.
Major Montgomery had retired to the banks of Cypress Bayou, and was engaging a small force of the enemy from the opposite bank of the stream when the advance of the infantry came up. I immediately threw the Twenty-third Wisconsin into line and opened fire upon them, but they were not dislodged until a few rounds of canister had been fired into them. I could not ascertain definitely their loss from this fire. Before the infantry came up, they had lost 2 men killed and 3 horses. We lost the same number of horses. I then moved my command to the point where the artillery had been in the morning. I had some difficulty in crossing at this point, as they had taken the skiff and ferryboat up the other bayou, and I was compelled to send men over after them on temporary rafts. After shelling the enemy from the bank with two pieces of the seventh Ohio Battery, a private of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry attempted to swim it, and reached the opposite bank, but was compelled to return on account of the enemy's fire. Night came on, and I was compelled to halt the command for want of sufficient knowledge of the roads.
On the morning of the 20th, a gun, which they were compelled to abandon, and had concealed in the canebrake, was brought in by the cavalry. The gun is a 12-pounder howitzer, stamped U. S., 1828.
Hearing from three deserters, who came in to us on the morning of the 20th, that the enemy had gone beyond our reach, I returned to the transports, and remained there that night, intending to drop down next morning to Perkins' landing, 4 miles from Cypress Bend, where I had heard i could, by road leading into the Bolivar and Vicksburg road, cut off the retreat of Colonel [S. W.] Ferguson's force, and compel him to give battle or surrender; but the weather was so inclement that I remained at cypress Bend, while Captain Sutherland, of the steam ram monarch, went up to Bolivar to hear of the location of the enemy. he reported that the whole force had left Bolivar the day previous and had returned to the vicinity of Greenville.
The rain continuing to fall, the next day, February 22, I took the opportunity to wood my transports at island No. 82. We took on nearly 1,000 cords of wood, which we found there. i also landed at Perkins' Landing, and sent my cavalry to ascertain where the enemy was, and their retreat toward Greenville was corroborated. I then moved down to Greenville, and remained that night on the transports.
At daylight on the morning of the 23d, I ordered one regiment, the Eighty-third Ohio, Major L'Hommedieu commanding, to move out of the road we had previously marched over, in order to draw the enemy to that point, while I moved the remainder of the command by another route, which was a little farther, but the streams that we would be compelled to cross were narrower.
On the former road was a bridge about 150 feet in length, crossing Fish lake, 6 miles from Greenville; this bridge had been burned the day after my first expedition returned. on the road i marched my command there was one stream, which was very narrow, to be crossed; the bridges over both had been burned. i therefore took the staging of a steamboat with me for the purpose of making a bridge, if necessary; I did not use them, however, as they had left a bridge near the one they had burned, perhaps with the purpose of misleading me, but probably because the stream was fordable. I took the timber from this bridge, and in a half hour had reconstructed the bridge which had been burned.
My force of cavalry had been increased by a small detachment of the Second Illinois Cavalry, under Maj. John J. Mudd, who were on their way to Young's Point. I gave Colonel Wright, of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, who was with me on the expedition, and rendered me efficient service, command of all the cavalry.
We had hardly completed the bridge, when the enemy opened with three guns on the eighty-third Ohio from the opposite side of Fish lake, and I immediately ordered the cavalry forward, hoping that I might be able to cut off their retreat before they discovered my movement; but their pickets, which we encountered here, gave them word, and they had the advance of our cavalry about 2 miles. a short distance beyond the Smith and Hood farm is a bend in Deer Creek, in which is a plantation. They had taken the road, and I therefore ordered the cavalry forward across this field. As they crossed this field the enemy opened the battery on them. They encountered here the cavalry of the enemy, and drove them before them, separating them from their artillery.
I had heard of a bridge in another bend of the creek below this, and directed the cavalry to take it, which they did in gallant style, driving the guard from it.
In the skirmish at this place we lost 1 killed, of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, and 2 prisoners, of the Second Illinois. The loss of the enemy was reported by residents at 30 killed and about the same number wounded. The enemy, having the advantage of a knowledge of the roads, while the cavalry were in this bend moved out across a plantation by a route 3 miles less than the main road, and escaped.
About 50 prisoners that were left with a small guard escaped in the woods, and the number of prisoners, therefore, was reduced to 9. Two wounded men, who were unable to be removed, were paroled by Major Mudd, Second Illinois Cavalry, and left at the house of judge Dickenson; also 1 sick man and nurse. Their paroles I forward with this report.
The infantry halted at this place, which is 15 miles from our transports. They had marched that distance in an incredibly short time, through a swamp about 3 miles wide, and forded a stream which was about 3 1/2 feet deep. I pushed the cavalry forward 4 miles farther, but the enemy had crossed the stream and burned the bridge after them. At one time we had three caissons and 20 men, which had been captured by 7 men, under Adjutant Conover, of the Sixteenth Indiana, of whose gallantry I cannot speak too highly. When he was in advance of the command with this small force, he saw these wagons retreating in advance of the guns, and made a dash upon them, capturing the whole number, and held them until the enemy came up and drove him away with his shell. The prisoners nearly all escaped in the woods.
On the 24th instant, I returned to the transports, bringing with me all the cattle, mules, and horses that I could collect--about 200 mules, 100 head of cattle, and 25 horses, as near as I can approximate to the number captured without a statement from the quartermaster's department.
I found the citizens more willing to give up their Negroes than their stock, especially horses and mules, and in nearly every instance they had attempted to hide them from us.
I found the country that I have been through abounding in corn, and where cotton had been burned it was where they were afraid of its falling into our hands. I saw in the vicinity of Greenville nearly 2,000 bales of cotton.
My command, consisting of the Sixteenth Indiana, Col. T. J. Lucas; Twenty-third Wisconsin, Col. J. J. Guppey; Ninety-sixth Ohio, Col. J. W. Vance; Sixty-seventh Indiana, lieutenant-Colonel Buehler commanding; Eighty-third Ohio, Major [S. S.] L'Hommedieu, jr.; and Sixtieth Indiana, Captain Pleisch commanding; four pieces of the Seventieth Ohio Battery, lieut. James Rice, and the detachment of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, about 60 men of Captain Chambers' company, under Major Montgomery, making about 1,600 effective men.
It gives me pleasure to speak in the highest terms of the officers and men of my command. The infantry were always ready, and there was very little straggling. The cavalry that was with me on the expedition I can recommend as the most efficient body of men in the arm of the service that I have ever met with.
To Captain Sutherland, of the steam ram Monarch, I am indebted for many acts of courtesy in his official capacity. His ram was with my transports from the time we reached Greenville until our return, and I was by that means able to leave the boasts with no guard, and take all the well men with me in whatever expedition I needed them.
I find that there are no road improvements in the country, and it is impossible for infantry to be effective against cavalry in such a country. Their information is always better than our own; the citizens all sympathize with them. The only force which can capture any of those rebel forces that fire into our transports is cavalry or mounted infantry, and light mountain howitzers. I believe that there is hardly 20 miles between this point and where I have been that they do not have their spies or pickets, and as the people assert that it is not their intention to fight, they can only be captured by a chase.
To Colonel Wright, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, who was with me during the whole of the expedition, my thanks are due for efficient service. I am, with much respect, &c., S. G. Burbridge, Brigadier-General. Lieut. J. Hough, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen. Tenth Div., Thirteenth Army Corps.
(WR XXXVI: 349-52)
March 30-June 17 Attached to 1st Brigade, 10th Division, 13th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee. First Brigade, Brig. Gen Stephen G. Burbridge.
16th Indiana: Col. Thomas J. Lucas. Maj. James H. Redfield. 60th Indiana, Col. Richard Owen. 67th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Theodore E. Buehler. 83d Ohio, col. Frederick W. Moore. 96th Ohio, Col. Joseph W. Vance. 23d Wisconsin: Col. Joshua J. Guppey. Lieut. Col. William F. Vilas. (WR XXXVI: 150)
March 10 Moved to Milliken's Bend, La., March 10, and duty there till April 25.
While at Milliken's Bend, the Ninety sixth lost 29 men.
April 25 Movement on Bruinsburg and turning Grand Gulf April 25-30. May 1 Battle of Magnolia Hills, Port Gibson, Miss., May 1. May 16
Order of Battle for Vicksburg Campaign
Brig. Gen. Andrew J. Smith
Company C, 4th Indiana Cavalry, Capt. Andrew P. Gallagher
Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge
16th Indiana, Col. Thomas J. Lucas, Maj. James H. Redfield
60th Indiana, Col. Richard Owen
67th Indiana, Lt. Col. Theodore E. Buehler
83d Ohio, Col. Frederick W. Moore
96th Ohio, Col. Jsoeph W. Vance
23d Wisconsin, Col. Joshua J. Guppey, Lt. Col. William F. Vilas
Col. William J. Landrum
77th Illinois, Col. David P. Grier
97th Illinois, Col. Friend S. Rutherford, Lt. Col. Lewis D. Martin
130th Illinois, Col. Nathaniel Niles
19th Kentucky, Lt. Col. John Cowan, Maj. M. V. Evans (k), Capt. Josiah J. Mann
48th Ohio, Lt. Col. Job R. Parker (w), Col. Peter Sullivan, Capt. J.W. Lindsey
Chicago Merchantile Battery, Illinois Light Artillery, Capt. Patrick H. White
17th Battery, Ohio Light Artillery, Capt. Ambrose A. Blount, Capt. Charles S. Rice
Battle of Champion Hill May 16.
Report of Brig. Gen. Stephen O. Burbridge, U. S. Army,
Commanding First Brigade, Tenth Division, including operations April 13-May 24.MAY 16, 1863.
Battle of Champion's Hill, or Baker's Creek, Miss.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]
HDQRS. FIRST BRIG., TENTH DIV., THIRTEENTH A. C.,
Camp, Rear of Vicksburg, Miss., May 24, 1863.
Capt. J. HOUGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Division.
In compliance with an order from division headquarters, I herewith submit the following report of the proceedings of my brigade since leaving Milliken's Bend, La.:
On April 13, I received orders to have my brigade prepare two days' cooked rations and be ready to march at a moment's notice.
On the morning of the 14th, received orders to march, and by 4 p.m. was ready for the road, and marched to Oak Grove plantation, where we encamped until next morning.
On the 15th, resumed our line of march, and proceeded as far as Holmes' plantation, about 15 miles from last camp. Here we remained until Friday evening, April 24, when we moved to Smith's plantation, distant about 7 miles, arriving there about 11 p.m., and remained there until about 2 p.m. on Sunday, the 26th, when we embarked on board transports in Roundaway Bayou, the course of which we followed until we finally entered the Mississippi River opposite Carthage; thence proceeded down the river to Perkins' plantation, arriving there about 9 p.m., during a very severe storm.
On Tuesday, April 28, I received orders to embark four of my regiments and the Seventeenth Ohio Battery on transports and barges, to proceed to a point as near Grand Gulf as practicable, to act under Brigadier-General Osterhaus, commanding Ninth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, and as a reserve to his division. I accordingly took with me the Sixteenth and Sixty-seventh Indiana, Eighty-third Ohio, and Twenty-third Wisconsin Regiments, and embarked upon barges and transports, leaving transportation of every description, even my own and field officers' horses, and proceeded to Hard Times Landing, opposite and above Grand Gulf, and remained during the unsuccessful attempt of the gunboats to reduce Grand Gulf on Wednesday, April 29.
Being personally on the gunboat General Price, which had in tow a transport containing two of my regiments, we stood out in the stream in constant readiness to avail ourselves of any advantage which might be gained by the gunboats.
The attempt to reduce the principal batteries proving a failure, we disembarked and marched across the Bend, to a point below Grand Gulf, where we encamped for the night.
On the 30th, we re-embarked (the gunboats and transports having run the blockade during the night) and proceeded to Bruinsburg, where we drew six days (two-thirds) rations, and about 11 p.m. took up our line of march for Port Gibson, Miss. Marched steadily all night, and about sunrise heard heavy and rapid cannonading in front, and shortly afterward learned that our advance was warmly engaged with the enemy.
Pressing vigorously on, we reached the scene of the engagement about 7 o'clock, when I immediately formed in line of battle in rear of General Hovey's division, our division constituting the reserve.
The part taken by my brigade in the battle of that day, while it did not lead to much loss, was very exhausting from the necessity of rapidly shifting ground with a part or the whole of the brigade, as the weak points of our lines successively presented themselves.
I continued thus supporting the line until ordered with my brigade farther to the left, to relieve the Second Brigade, under Colonel Landram, who had fought desperately through the day, when we advanced farther to the front than any other troops, driving the enemy from the hill. Night putting an end to that day's fight, our men sank exhausted upon the ground. They had marched all night and fought all day under a burning sun, and without having had a mouthful to eat since the previous evening.
Next morning, May 2, by order of General McClernand, I took the advance with my brigade, and proceeded cautiously into Port Gibson, where I had the pleasure of raising the Stars and Stripes to their wonted place of honor. The rear guard of the enemy were retreating out of town, having fired the bridge over South Fork of Little Bayou Pierre. I had the Seventeenth Ohio Battery to open upon them, but they succeeded in making good their retreat, as we had no means of pursuit.
We remained at Port Gibson until the morning of the 3d instant, when I was ordered to take my brigade to the hills back of the town, as there were symptoms of the enemy coming in on our rear. Remaining in that position until I was satisfied there was no enemy near, I took up my line of march toward Willow Springs. Late in the afternoon we crossed Big Bayou Pierre and went into camp at this place until the morning of the 7th instant, when we marched to a point half a mile beyond Cayuga, where we remained until the morning of the 12th instant, when we countermarched to Cayuga; thence bearing left in a westerly direction for about 10 miles, where we encamped for the night in line of battle near Fourteen-Mile Creek, 6 miles from Edwards Station.
Next morning (13th) we marched back to the Jackson road, a distance of about 6 miles.
Here we remained until the 15th, when, following General Blair's division, we marched to Raymond, about 15 miles, getting into camp at 9 p.m.
At daylight on the 16th, we marched out on the Vicksburg road toward Edwards Station, my brigade being in the advance. About 6 miles out from Raymond we came upon the enemy's pickets, when our line of battle was quickly formed, with heavy skirmishing parties in front. The batteries were thrown into position and shelled the enemy's forces very successfully. We skirmished along gradually, driving the enemy before us, while our main force followed along the road until we reached a water-course, across which the bridge had been broken down by the retreating enemy. Finding the enemy was in retreat but a short distance ahead, and apprehending they might avail themselves of some prominent hills, from which they could sweep the plain we were in, I pushed my brigade rapidly ahead until the skirmishers began to find it a hot contest, and as we rose to the crest of the hill had abundant reason to congratulate myself upon my speed, as the enemy had rallied and planted their battery on the second hill, not having had time to form on the first. They poured in a most terrific fire of shot, shell, grape, and canister, but my men were well protected by the crest of the hill, and my sharpshooters kept the enemy so much annoyed they had to abandon some of their guns. After repeated application to General Smith for re-enforcements, both of infantry and artillery, I finally succeeded in obtaining the Nineteenth Kentucky and Seventy-seventh Illinois, of Colonel Landram's brigade, who were ready and impatiently awaiting orders to move forward. I also obtained four guns of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery, which had been preceded by part of the Chicago Mercantile Battery, both of which did admirable execution.
Receiving orders from General Smith through one of his staff to halt, I did so, holding the position I had gained. It was my conviction at the time, confirmed by all I have learned since, that, properly supported by General Blair's division, we could have captured the whole rebel force opposed to us, and reached Edwards Station before sunset.
From prisoners taken next day, we learned that after the loss of General [L.] Tilghman, who was killed by a shot from our batteries, they had attempted to run off their artillery; but failing to do so, abandoned it, since which time we have obtained the guns, twelve pieces. Also the whole rebel force retreated in great disorder, it being impossible for the officers to again form their men into line.
The night after the battle the men lay upon their arms, hourly expecting an attack. The night passed quietly, however, and at daylight we moved on in line of battle, but soon had abundant evidence that the rebels had skedaddled most hurriedly, leaving arms, ammunition, &c., strewn by the roadside. Forming again in column, we moved on through Edwards Station without further interruption.
As we approached Big Black River, heavy firing became very audible, and I received orders from General Smith to move rapidly forward and take position on the left of General Osterhaus' division. This done, we were ordered forward in line of battle. Arriving at the edge of the forest through which we had advanced, I found we could not advance across the open field without changing front, as the enemy would have an enfilading fire upon my line. I rapidly changed front, so that my left would cover the enemy's works on the left of the cotton-gin. I then ordered a charge across the field, which was gallantly executed. When my skirmishers arrived within 200 yards of the enemy, a white handkerchief was displayed on their intrenchments, upon which Lieutenant Conover, my acting assistant adjutant-general, and Captain Keigwin, acting aide, who were in advance of the skirmishers, rode forward and received the surrender of the forces and colors of the Sixtieth Tennessee Regiment (rebel), under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [N.] Gregg, and reported them to me. About the same time our forces took possession of the whole line of the enemy's works, they retreating across the Big Black River and setting fire to the bridge.
As it now became necessary to build a bridge before we could cross, we remained encamped in the enemy's works until the next day, Monday, May 18, when we moved forward at about 11 a.m., my brigade again taking the advance. We proceeded very cautiously, apprehending an attack every moment, never dreaming the enemy could have abandoned, without another effort, the exceedingly advantageous position and fortification afforded by the natural conformation of the ground.
We soon learned from negroes there was no enemy between us and Mount Alban, a small place about half-way between Black River and Vicksburg, which information we found correct. About half a mile beyond Mount Alban we found a bridge so burned and broken as to be impassable. Examination showed it would cause considerable delay to repair it so that artillery could pass over in safety. We therefore made a considerable detour to the left, taking a route through the country which in the course of a couple of miles struck the Baldwin's Ferry road, which was the route we were seeking. Proceeding slowly and cautiously, we encamped that night about 2½ miles from the enemy's works in rear of Vicksburg.
Tuesday morning, May 19, we again moved toward the fortifications, until, when within 1½ miles, their skirmishers began to appear. I immediately formed my four regiments in line of battle on the right of the Vicksburg road, the Sixteenth Indiana and Eighty-third Ohio in front, supported by the Sixty-seventh Indiana and Twenty-third Wisconsin, and, covered by the crest of the hill, the Seventeenth Ohio Battery. I threw out a heavy force of skirmishers under command of Major Red-field, Sixteenth Indiana, who gradually drove back the enemy's skirmishers until finally I advanced my brigade to a ravine running at right angles with the railroad, and in the rear of the hill on which is the cot-ton-gin. As the enemy were driven farther in, we advanced until within about 400 yards of the forts.
On the 20th, received orders to be in readiness to charge the enemy's works at 2 p.m. At the given signal the brigade, with tremendous cheering, rushed over the crest of the hill in front of them, and, taking a moment's breathing time, commenced the ascent of the next hill. Finding it unadvisable to advance in line of battle, on account of the greater exposure, I ordered the regiment forward by companies as skirmishers, in which way we succeeded in finally driving the greater part of the enemy's sharpshooters within the intrenchments, my men lying immediately under the works, and effectually silencing the enemy's artillery. We maintained that position, keeping up a constant fire at every head that showed itself, until 10 o'clock at night, when we were relieved by General Benton's brigade. It was fully 2 a.m. on the 21st before I succeeded in withdrawing all my men. During all that day (21st) my men rested, occupying themselves in putting their arms in thorough order.
On the morning of the 22d, I received orders to prepare for an assault on the enemy's works at 10 a.m., to support General Benton's brigade. At the hour designated I had my four regiments arranged in order, the Sixty-seventh Indiana occupying the road passing down the hill to the right of the burnt chimneys; the Twenty-third Wisconsin immediately in its rear; the Sixteenth Indiana on the hillside of the ravine to the right, and in front of said road, supported by the Eighty-third Ohio. I advanced the regiments, with a yell and a rush, over the hill into the last ravine, and immediately commenced advancing up the hill, upon which is the fort we were attacking, three regiments of my command, the Sixteenth Indiana, Eighty-third Ohio, and Sixty-seventh Indiana on the right of General Benton's brigade, my left resting on the road, and the right extending along the crest of the hill and in front of the fort, and not more than 20 steps from it.
By 10.30 a.m. we had silenced their batteries to a great extent, and the regiments had their colors flying against the walls of the fort. There being some symptoms of an attempt to turn our flanks, I sent four companies of the Twenty-third Wisconsin to support the Sixty-seventh Indiana on the right, and the remaining six companies to the left, in support of the Sixteenth Indiana.
While this was being done I received orders from General Smith to send two regiments of my command to support General Benton's left; but as this would reduce my force one-half, and leave my front terribly exposed, I immediately sent to General Smith representing these facts. His answer was, "It is an order from General Carr, and must be obeyed? I again sent an aide to urge the state of the case, and received permission from General Smith to retain my position, but shortly received an inquiry from General Carr why the regiments were not forthcoming. I then went myself to see General McClernand, and represented to him that it would be the destruction not only of my regiments, but of the whole front. General McClernand, while assenting to my statements, referred me to General Carr, who commanded the advance. Notwithstanding my representations, General Carr renewed his order concerning the regiments, and telling him I obeyed his order under protest, 1 returned to my command, and with a heavy and foreboding heart gave the requisite orders for the Twenty-third Wisconsin and Sixty-seventh Indiana to withdraw from the ground which had been gained with so much labor and maintained with so much valor, thus leaving my two remaining regiments, Sixteenth Indiana and Eighty-third Ohio, unsupported.
As I had anticipated and feared, the rebels, finding the fire slackened and the line weakened in their front, opened a most destructive fire. On consultation with General Benton, I determined to take the responsibility of replacing my regiments without delay, but the work was now most difficult, as the rebels had the advantage and seemed determined to keep it. Just as I had ordered my regiments back, a message came from General Carr, telling me to use my discretion about withdrawing my regiments. Such a message ten minutes before, or such consent when I pleaded for it, would have saved a hundred lives.
After repeated applications, I succeeded in getting permission to carry a piece of artillery to my front line. Accordingly, a gun from the Mercantile Battery was taken by a squad of the Twenty-third Wisconsin close up to the point held by the Sixteenth Indiana, and supported by the latter regiment not more than 25 or 30 feet from the fort, against which it did admirable work. By this time the guns of my command had become so foul by constant firing that I was compelled to use caliber .54 in place of .58, the caliber of the arms. A brigade was sent us from General Quinby's division, but, owing to their incautious manner of approaching, drew from the enemy a most galling fire of musketry and artillery, followed by an attempt of the enemy to charge, probably with the view of capturing the gun we were using so effectively. The brigade re-enforcing us broke and retired in great disorder. My brigade, now greatly reduced in strength, manfully held its ground, and the Sixteenth Indiana prepared with fixed bayonets to receive the threatened charge, which, however, did not come. It was now night, and hostilities for the most part ceased. We drew off our men, after having maintained the ground for nearly ten hours' continuous fighting.
I am of the opinion that, had we been re-enforced at 12 m., or the demonstration kept up along the line to our right, thus preventing the enemy from massing directly in our front, we could have gained a lodgment in the enemy's works.
Since that time to the present date (May 24), nothing has transpired, the men quietly resting on the days succeeding the fight.
The Seventeenth Ohio Battery, attached to my brigade, in the actions of the 20th and 22d was almost entirely detached from my infantry, and hence they have not been hitherto mentioned as frequently, perhaps, as was their due, and I take this opportunity to bear willing testimony to the brilliancy of their work. Being frequently at the batteries with them, I repeatedly observed the unwavering assiduity with which the officers watched for a chance to injure the enemy and the promptitude and enthusiasm with which the men responded to every call made upon them.
1 cannot close without commending with highest praise the gallantry of my staff officers--Lieutenant Conover, acting assistant adjutant-general; Captain Keigwin and Lieutenant [Thomas J.] Elliott, aides-de-camp, and Lieutenant [George W.] Richardson, acting inspector-general--who, through this long series of actions, have rendered efficient aid and service in the fatiguing duties of the field, or the more exciting but more dangerous scenes of the battle.
Lieutenant [Joshua W.] Tolford, acting ordnance officer, with untiring energy kept not only my brigade but the whole division fully supplied with ammunition, and has since received merited promotion. Lieutenant [George W.] Friedley filled the double capacity of acting quartermaster and acting commissary of subsistence with entire satisfaction, even in those places where it was difficult, almost impossible, to obtain supplies.
Where every officer and man acted with such bravery, it is difficult to particularize, and I can only mention some instances of individual gallantry which came under my personal observation. Colonel Lucas, Sixteenth Indiana, showed distinguished courage in all the fights, more particularly on the 22d, when, notwithstanding he was wounded three times, he continued to cheer on his men with unabated vigor. For cool, resolute courage, Major Redfield, of the Sixteenth Indiana, has stood Conspicuous throughout the campaign. Colonel Guppey, Twenty-third Wisconsin, worked with the skill of a thorough soldier and the bravery of a man who does not know fear. Lieutenant-Colonel Buehler, Sixty-seventh Indiana, remained with his men in the hottest of the fierce carnage of the 22d, and, in fact, the officers of all the regiments heroically did their duty. I am largely indebted to Major Montgomery and Captain De Gress, Sixth Missouri Cavalry, the latter of whom was wounded while carrying messages for me during the assault of the 22d; also Lieutenant Kensler, Sixteenth Indiana, wounded while acting aide-de-camp on the same day.
I have had the honor heretofore to forward a report of the killed and wounded of my brigade, a copy of which is appended as part of this report ; also a report of the prisoners captured during this campaign.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
S. G. BURBRIDGE,
Brig. Gen., Comdg. First Brig., Tenth Div., Thirteenth A, C.
Brig. Gen. STEPHEN G. BURBRIDGE.
Col. Thomas J. Lucas.
Maj. James H. Redfield.
60th Indiana, Col. Richard Owen.
67th Indiana, Lieut. Col. Theodore E. Buehler.
83d Ohio, Col. Frederick W. Moore.
96th Ohio, Col. Joseph W. Vance.
Col. Joshua J. Guppey.
Lieut. Col. William F. Vilas.
May 18 Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., May 18-July 4. May 19 Assaults on Vicksburg May 19 and 22. July 4 Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3
Vicksburg Surrenders July 4
Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Siege of Jackson July 10-17.
Report of Col. Richard Owen, Sixtieth Indiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Hdqrs. First Brigade, Tenth Division, Thirteenth A.C. July 25, 1863
Sir: In obedience to orders received from General A. J. Smith, commanding the Tenth division, to furnish the chief details connected with the movements of his first Brigade during the expedition to Jackson, Miss., made under the command of major-General Sherman, I have the honor to submit the following:
Up to the night of 7th July, from 23d June, 1863, I had been temporarily attached, with my regiment (the Sixtieth Indiana Volunteers), at Big Black River Bridge, to General Osterhaus' division, and from that point, by his order, supported his advance battery until we reached Baker's Creek.
On the morning of July 8, being placed in command of the First Brigade, I moved it, in accordance with orders from division headquarters, at 4 p.m. toward Clinton, Miss.: and, after a march of 5 miles, we bivouacked in a field adjoining the road, late in the evening of the same day, tents, &c., having been left behind, as ordered.
Thursday, July 9, the brigade took up the line of march at 5 a. m., and camped 2 miles east of Clinton, on the Jackson road.
Next morning (July 10), reveille was sounded at 2 a.m., and the brigade started at 4 a.m. toward Jackson, Miss., following the Ninth Division, and arriving at a cross-road within about a mile of the city (although detained by skirmishing in front) soon after 8 a.m. Here, the Second Brigade being held in reserve, the First was ordered to file to the right, face to the front, and move forward in line of battle, throwing out skirmishers in advance. by order of General smith, the Sixteenth and Sixty-seventh Indian were directed to support the battery (Seventieth Ohio), and the Sixtieth Indiana to form column by division on the extreme right flank (adjoining the Sixtieth Indiana), through an open field, and the others through timber, until, arriving in a line with the battery, we entered corn-fields, and were ordered to remain for a time.
About 10.30 a.m., after some artillery firing from both sides, in which 1 man from the Ninety-sixth Ohio was killed by a solid shot from the rebel fort, general Smith ordered a farther advance (which was made by the brigade, except those supporting the battery and the regiment guarding the flank0, until we passed a lane and fence, and entered a rod or two into a corn-filed, where the general of division ordered a halt. Here somewhat heavy firing occurred betwee our advance line and that of the enemy, who endeavored several times to force back our skirmishers; but as this line was re-enforced, the attack was without avail, although only three regiments occupied this front. In these three we lost on this day 1 killed, 5 wounded, and 1 missing in the Ninety-sixth Ohio, colonel Vance commanding, which was on the right; 2 wounded and 1 missing in the Eighty-third Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Baldwing commanding, whch occupied the center, and 2 wounded in the Twenty-third Wisconsin, Lieutenant-Colonel Vilas commanding, which was in an open road and house-yard on the left, beside 5 cases of sunstroke, 2 of which proved fatal. Soon after noon, having obtained permission from General Smith, I directed these three regiments to protect themselves by the fence, a rod in the rear, and showed the Twenty-third Wisconsin where they could obtain material to form a good barricade or parapet, to which, by direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Vilas (who obtained some tools), they soon added earthworks that formed considerable protection against small arms.
The Sixtieth Indiana meantime, Major Nash commanding, being alone, on an extensive front which commanded our right flank, although they were now on timber, were heavily pressed, and lost 1 killed, 1 mortally wounded, 4 less severely wounded, and 3 missing, when our skirmishers were forced to retire temporarily from a house, attached to which there was a good cistern. General Smith, however, allowing the Sixty-seventh Indiana to be taken from the battery, I ordered them quickly to sustain the Sixtieth Indiana and to throw out four companies from each of the two regiments. Under charge of Lieutenant-Colonel Buehler, the two regiments advanced under this heavy skirmishing force, and speedily recovered the house and cistern of water, so essential to our pickets.
Two prisoners were taken by the Eighty-third Ohio and sent to division headquarters. The Sixteenth Indiana, Captain Moore commanding, in supporting the battery, had 1 wounded, making a total, for July 10, of 3 killed, 14 wounded, and 5 missing. This night we slept on our arms, after relieving the advance pickets, and kept one-half of each regiment awake at a time.
By dawn on July 11, every man was aroused and at his post, and skirmishing was kept up at intervals during the day until about 4 p.m., when Colonel Keigwin's brigade, of the Ninth Division, being ordered to occupy our position, the First Brigade was moved by the right flank, and the six regiments being now thrown into their normal position in brigade, slept in the woods (occupied previously by the Sixtieth and Sixty-seventh Indiana), still retaining their arms and accouterments and one-half awake at a time. Casualties of this day in Sixtieth Indiana, 1 wounded and 1 missing; in Sixty seventh Indiana, 2 wounded; in Twenty third Wisconsin, 4 wounded; making a total for July 11 of 7 wounded and 1 missing.
Sunday, July 12--The First Brigade was ordered to occupy a new line, nearly at right angles with its former position, throwing out skirmishers in front. In this manner the left pivot still remaining closed on the Ninth Division, the right flank was moved through a quarter of a circle, and halted by General Smith on a woody eminence, which formed a good position for the artillery, and the regiments immediately commended entrenching themselves by means of rails, logs, and earth. The casualties of July 12 were 1 wounded in Sixty seventh Indiana. This night, by the general's directions, the camp guard to arouse the regiments in case of necessity being increased, the men were permitted more repose.
Monday, July 13--Our pickets were advanced about 125 yards and furnished with a few tools, so that they also protected themselves partially by temporary earth works. This move was not made without strong opposition on the part of the enemy; but they never succeeded in dislodging the pickets of either brigade. No casualties occurred on this day.
Tuesday, July 14--Nothing especial occurred to vary the regular assaults or sorties of the enemy and repulses on our part until an armistice of four hours was announced, when the man were permitted to take off their accouterments and to rest until about 4 p.m., at which time the firing recommenced The total list of killed and wounded for this day amounted only to 2 wounded, viz, 1 in Sixty-seventh Indiana and 1 in Twenty third Wisconsin.
Wednesday, July 15--As our rear was reported threatened by a heavy cavalry force, we were ordered to be particularly watchful against simultaneous diversion in front, but although the firing was heavy, it was not much more so than usual. Casualty of this day, 1 wounded in sixty seventh Indiana.
Thursday, July 16--Cavalry raid in our rear continued, and watchfulness in front enjoined. The men never left the breastworks more than to go a few feet, and could be in a few seconds at any time in position. They were called out during the night at the ringing of the fire bells in Jackson. No casualties.
Friday, July 17--An evident change in the enemy's position was discovered at dawn this morning, and it was soon ascertained that they had evacuated the town during the period between the ringing of the fire bells, to call in their pickets, as we afterward learned, and the dawn of morning. The men were now permitted to take some rest, and a few at a time to visit town.
Saturday, July 18--The brigade marched back 2 miles toward Clinton, and remained encamped until the night of the 20th, during which period the Ninety sixth Ohio, Colonel Vance commanding, was ordered to aid in destroying the railroad, and returned about midnight on the 20th.
On the 21st, taking up an early line of march, the brigade made the encampment at Mississippi springs, on the 22d at Baker's Creek, and on the 23d of July, passing viz Edwards Station, although delayed by two other divisions, marched 20 miles, and camped at their old quarters, in rear of Vicksburg.
Throughout the entire expedition, officers and men, with rare exceptions, performed their duty promptly, faithfully, and cheerfully. The regimental commanders above named were zealous in encouraging their men, and, although on the march some straggling occurred, in consequence of exhaustion, sickness, and want of water, the route getting very badly watered at this season, with occasional wandering aside from motives less urgent or admissible, yet upon the whole, I rejoice to be able to testify to the resoluteness in action and endurance under fatigue exhibited generally throughout the expedition; nor should I here omit to mention that my two staff officers, Lieut. H. P. Owen, acting assistant general and Lieutenant Richardson brigade inspector carried frequent messages under a galling fire with promptness and efficiency.
I should mention that during the several days of the above period, General Smith being in command of the center column of advance, I received orders through Colonel Landram, then in command of the Tenth Division, who kindly afforded every facility in his power, and furnished the pickets from his own brigade on the nights of the 14th and 16th of July.
The total casualties in the First Brigade during the expedition were 36, viz, 3 killed, 2 deaths from sunstroke, 25 wounded, and 6 missing. Very respectfully, your obedient servant. Richard Owen, Colonel Sixtieth Indiana Volunteers, Commanding First Brigade. Maj. S. S. L'Hommedieu, Jr., Acting Assistant Adjutant General. (WR XXXVI: 593-596)
"On Sunday, the 19th of July, the Seventy-Seventh Illinois and the Ninety-Sixth Ohio Regiments, were ordered to march a few miles south of Jackson for the purpose of tearing up and destroying a section of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad. When we reached the point designated, it was found that other troops had been there and accomplished the work we had been sent to do. We remained there that night, and in the morning proceeded to a place called Byram, about seven miles further south, where we arrived at 9 o'clock A. M. Going to work with a will, we succeeded during the day in destroying about two miles of track, burning the ties and bending the rails. Having accomplished our mission we retired, as we supposed, for a good night's rest after the toils of the day. But scarcely had we turned in, when an orderly came from Gen. Smith with orders to return to Jackson immediately, and be ready to march for Vicksburg at three o'clock the next morning" http://77illinois.homestead.com/files/77il/77ch08.html
August 26 Camp at Vicksburg till August 26. August 26 Organization of Gulf, Thirteenth Army Corps, Fourth Division, First Brigade, Col Thomas J. Lucas Commanding, 96th Ohio, lieut. col. Albert H Brown Commanding (WR XXXVIII: 709) Ordered to New Orleans, La., August 26.
"The day after the surrender the regiment was ordered to Jackson, and took part in the siege of that place up to its evacuation, July 17th, then marched to Bryant's Station and Dry Creek, thence to Vicksburg. It went by river to Carrollton, Louisiana, August 26th, and from that point made several short expeditions and scouts." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 322)
Itinerary of the First brigade, Fourth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, for September, 1863.
(WR XXXVIII: 319)
September 19-20 Battle of Chickamauga 24 Expedition from Carrollton to New and Amite Rivers September 24-29. October 3 At Brashear City October 3. October 3 Thirteenth Army Corps, Fourth Division, First Brigade, Col Richard Owen Commanding, 96th Ohio, Lieut. Col. Albert H. Brown Commanding (WR XXXVIII: 335) Western Louisiana Campaign October 3-November 30.
Return of the Fourth Division.
October 10.--Marched [from vicinity of New Iberia] to Vermillion Bayou, 24 miles, where we remained until the 14th, when we moved up to carrion Crow Bayou.
October 15,--Took the advance, and skirmished with the enemy.
October 16.--Established our camp on bayou Bourbeau.
October 21.--Moved against Opelousas; had the advance; enemy offered but little resistance; drove the enemy through the town, and established our camps beyond and to the right of Opelousas, at Barre's Landing, on Bayou Courtableau, where we remained during the rest of the month.
(WR XXXVIII: 367-8)
November 3 Grand Coteau November 3.
Hdqrs. Detachment Thirteenth Army Corps. Vermillion Bridge, November 7, 1863.
Major: I enclose herewith report of Brigadier-General Burbridge in regard to the battle of Grand Coteau on the 3d instant; also of Lieutenant-Colonel Robinson, commanding Second Louisiana Cavalry, and statements of Captain Sims, Sixty seventh Indiana, and lieutenant Gorman, first Louisiana Cavalry, who were wounded and taken prisoners, but who were supposed to be privates, and were delivered over under a flag of truce with other wounded.
On the 27th instant [ultimo] the First Division of this corps, under Brigadier General Lawler, moved from Opelousas back to New Iberia, with a view of being where they could be moved rapidly to Brashear City, should circumstances require it; that left at Opelousas the Third Division, under General McGinnis, and one brigade of the Fourth division, under General Burbridge, at Barre's Landing, 8 miles east of Opelousas and east of the Bayou Teche, near its junction with the Courtableau.
On the morning of the 1st instant, by order of Major General Franklin, the troops of the Third Division were ordered to march and encamp at Carrion Crow Bayou, while General Burbridge with the troops under his command were ordered to march down the Teche and cross it, and move via Grand Coteau, where the road from Vermilion to Opelousas crosses Muddy Bayou, about 3 miles from Carrion Crow Bayou, in the direction of Opelousas, and go into camp there on the north side of the bayou. Colonel Fonda, with about 5oo mounted infantry, was also ordered to encamp near him. The troops all moved, and went into camp as ordered. The Nineteenth Corps on the same day moved back to Carrion Crow Bayou, and on the following day to Vermillionville, leaving the Third and first Brigades of the fourth division of the Thirteenth Corps to hold the position before named. The position of the troops on the morning of the 3d instant was then as follows: Brigadier General Burbridge, with one brigade of the Fourth Division, about 1,200 strong, with one six-gun battery of 10-pounder Parrotts, and Colonel Fonda, with about 500 mounted infantry and a section of Nims' battery, on the north side of Muddy Bayou, and the Third division, General McGinnis commanding, 3,000 strong, with one battery, at Carrion Crow Bayou, 3 miles in the rear of General Burbridge. The two bayous before named run in an easterly direction, nearly parallel with each other, and along the stream there is a belt of timber about 150 yards in width, while between the two is smooth, level prairie. To the right of General Burbridge's position was an extensive and dense tract of woods, while on his front and left the country was high, open prairie.
About 9 o'clock of the morning of the 3d, I received a note from general Burbridge, saying the enemy had shown himself in some force. I immediately ordered out the Third division, and just as I got them into line I received another note from General Burbridge, saying that the enemy had entirely disappeared. Ordering the division to remain under arms, I rode rapidly to the front, and learning from General Burbridge and Colonel Fonda that all was quiet, and that such troops of the enemy as had shown themselves had all fallen back, I started to return to my headquarters near the Third division. When I arrived about midway between the two camps, I heard a rapid cannonade. Sending two members of my staff to the rear to bring up the Third division, I road back to the front, and, crossing the bayou and passing through the timber to the open ground, I soon discovered that we were assailed with terrible energy by an overwhelming force in front and on both flanks. Many of the troops had broken and were scattered over the field, and the utter destruction or capture of the whole force seemed imminent. The attack on the right through the woods was made by infantry, and though our troops fought most gallantly on that wing, were obliged to give way before overwhelming numbers. Here it was that we lost most of our men in killed and wounded.
The Twenty third Wisconsin, colonel Guppey commanding, Ninety sixth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Brown commanding, Sixtieth Indiana, commanded by Captain Goelzer, and Seventeenth Ohio Battery, [Captain] Rice commanding, fought with the greatest desperation, holding the enemy in check for a considerable length of time, but for which our entire train with our artillery would have been captured. As it was, General Burbridge was enabled to bring off every wagon and all Government property, with the exception of one 10-pounder Parrott gun, captured just as it was crossing the bayou, the horses having been shot.
The bringing off of the section of Nims' battery, commanded by Lieutenant Marland, after the regiment sent to its support had surrendered, extorted the admiration of every beholder.
While the fight was proceeding, the Third division came up on the double-quick, but by the time they had reached the middle of the prairie, and 1 1/2 miles from the scene of action, General Burbridge's command had been driven entirely out of the woods, while the rebel cavalry, in great force, charged thorough the narrow belt of timber on the left, and were coming down on his rear. By this time the Third division had come within range, formed in line, and commenced shelling them, which immediately checked their farther advance, while General Burbridge, who had again gotten his guns into position, opened a raking cross fire upon them, when the whole force of the enemy retreated to the cover of the woods. Our whole force was deployed in line of battle, and moved as rapidly as possible through the woods, driving the enemy out of it, who retreated rapidly. I moved the troops up on their line of retreat about 1 1/2 miles, while the cavalry pursued about 3 miles. My men having been brought up at a double quick, were very much exhausted, and it was not possible to pursue farther.
Our losses are 26 killed, 124 wounded, and 566 missing. [but see revised statement on page 359]. The loss of the enemy in killed was about 60; number of wounded not known, as they carried all but 12 off the ground, but wounded officers who were taken prisoners represent the number of wounded as being very large. We took 65 prisoners.
Brigadier General McGinnis, being very ill, was not able to be on the field. The troops of the division behaved admirable, under the command of Brigadier General Cameron, of the First and colonel Slack of the Second Brigade. The action of General Burbridge was gallant and judicious from the time I first saw him until the close of the engagement. The conduct of the Sixty seventh Indiana Infantry was inexplicable, and their surrender can only be attributed to the incompetence or cowardice of the commanding officer. They had not a single man killed. Our mounted force, under Colonels Fonda and Robinson, though very small, behaved very handsomely.
I left at Carrion Crow Bayou, to hold that position, three regiments of the Third Division, viz, the Eleventh Indiana, Twenty ninth Wisconsin, and Twenty fourth Iowa, with one section of artillery. it was fortunate that I did so, for while the fight was proceeding with General Burbridge's command, colonel [George W.] Baylor, of the First Texas Mounted Rifles [Second Regiment Arizona Brigade], swept round on our left, and attacked the camp at Carrion Crow Bayou, but they were driven off, with a loss of 3 killed. We lost none. I refer particularly to the report of General Burbridge for the names of those deserving honorable mention.
On the 4th instant the enemy sent in a flag of truce, proposing to give up such of our wounded as they had, not having the means to take care of them. I sent for and received 47. They refused to give up our wounded officers, among them Colonely Guppey, of the Twenty-third Wisconsin, a most gallant and meritorious officer. Though wounded, I am pleased to learn that his wound is not severe, and that all our prisoners were being well treated.
As to the force of the enemy engaged, opinions are conflicting, but, from the best data I have, I judge them to have been from 6,000 to 7,000, the whole under the command of Brigadier-General Green. Respectfully, yours, C. C. Washburn, Major-General, Commanding. Maj. Wickham Hofman, Assistant Adjutant-General.
(WR XXXVIII 356-359)
Report of Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division, of Engagement at Bayou Bourbeau, and operations (November 12) about Saint Martinsville.
Hdqrs. Fourth division, Thirteenth army corps, Near Vermillion Bayou, La., November 7, 1863.
Major: Pursuant to instructions from Major General Washburn, I respectfully submit the following report of the engagement near Bayou Carrion Crow, on the 3d instant:
My camp was situated about 3 miles from Bayou Carrion Crow, near the head of a small bayou which runs in the direction of Opelousas through a ravine 1 mile wide. Upon each side was an extensive prairie. After skirmishing all day on the 2d with the enemy, and having on several occasions that day seen his lines--fully 2,500 strong--I felt sure he would attempt to harass me on the following day. This conviction was made more sure by 6 of the First Louisiana Cavalry deserting from the reserve pickets Monday night (2d), and going over to the enemy. Early on the morning of the 3d, our outposts were driven in, and a heavy force seen on our front and left. This intelligence was sent to General Washburn promptly; our lines formed, the artillery gotten into place, and a few well-directed rounds from the artillery and some maneuvering soon made him retire. About 10 o'clock a. m. but few of the enemy could be seen. I directed the troops then to retire to camp, but hold themselves ready to fall in at a moment's warning. Sent a dispatch to major General Washburn that the enemy had nearly all retired out of sight, and, after reconnoitering my left in person, returned to my headquarters.
After the enemy had disappeared, at about 10 o'clock, I sent out a forage train, in charge of the Eighty-third Ohio, in the direction of Grand Cotequ, In the present attitude of our situation, with a large body of rebel cavalry hovering around us, I did not deem it safe to risk a train out with a less number than 200, which was about the strength of the Eighty-third Ohio.
At 12.30 p. m. I received a message from Colonel Fonda, One hundred and eighteenth Illinois Mounted Infantry, that the enemy was approaching with heavy columns of cavalry and infantry, supported by artillery. I at once dispatched to that effect to General Washburn, and ordered the infantry and artillery to get ready for action. The rebel infantry approached through a ravine from the direction of Opelousas. Upon the left, across the prairie, a heavy column of cavalry could be seen moving upon me in line of battle. I directed one of my largest regiments, the Sixty seventh Indian, about 260 strong, one section of Nims' battery, and one section of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery, to take a position on my left. I then posted about 150 cavalry on their left, and directed the whole to guard against an attack on my rear and left. My remaining three regiments, the eighty third Ohio being out guarding foraging trains, and four pieces of artillery (Seventeenth Ohio battery), I posted so as to meet the rebel infantry in the ravine. The cavalry, under Colonel Fonda, One hundred and eighteenth Illinois, was entrusted with guarding my right.
The enemy in overwhelming numbers were pressing me, and I feared that I could not hold my position until reinforcements could be brought up. I directed my teams to be moved to the rear. after engaging the enemy a short time in front, I discovered them attempting to flank me on the right. His line in front being about three times as long as mine, and his cavalry bearing down upon my left, I found it necessary to extend my lines to the right, in order that I might not be completely surrounded. I now directed the Sixty seventh Indiana (Lieutenant Colonels Buhler) and the forces placed, to guard my left, while I advanced my right. Colonel Buehler, from a misapprehension of my orders, or some other cause, failed to commence his movements until I had dispatched a third time to him. He was by this time almost surrounded by ten times his number of cavalry, and he with almost his whole regiment were taken prisoners. The artillery played upon the enemy until it was almost surrounded, but succeeded in withdrawing, excepting one piece of the Seventeenth Ohio Battery and its caisson, which had its horses killed.
My left now being totally gone, and the enemy's cavalry pressing heavily upon me, I gradually fell back through the ravine, so as to cover my train. The Eighty third Ohio, which had been ordered back from the foraging expedition as soon as the action began, came up just as we were abandoning the ravine. Seeing that reinforcements were coming up, so as to secure my left, I formed the Eighty third Ohio upon the plain upon which my shattered forces no rallied. My artillery was placed upon the left and the cavalry on the right. Here we checked the enemy until our support had come fully up, when the enemy retired. As soon as we could distribute ammunition to the men, we advanced upon the enemy in the woods. General Cameron, upon my left, seeing that the enemy was disposed to offer but little more resistance, a cavalry charge was ordered thought he ravine, and nearly 100 prisoners were captured. after pursuing the enemy a short distance beyond the ravine, we returned, picked up our wounded and dead, and fell back to Carrion Crow Bayou.
The forces engaged on our side in this affair were the Sixtieth Indiana, Sixty seventh Indiana, Eighty third and Ninety sixth Ohio, and Twenty third Regiment Wisconsin infantry, numbering 1,040 effective men; the One hundred and Eighteenth Illinois Mounted Infantry, First Louisiana Cavalry, and detachment Fourteenth New York Cavalry, numbering 460 men; the Seventeenth Ohio battery, and one section Nims' battery, numbering 125 men; total, 1,625.The enemy engaged me with about 3,500 infantry in front and not less than 2,500 cavalry and a battery of artillery on my left. In killed and wounded he suffered much more than i did, 42 of his dead being left upon the field and buried by our forces, besides quite a number that he carried away. I am led to the conclusion that I have placed an exceedingly moderate estimate upon his forces, as well as the punishment we inflicted, by the statements, herewith respectfully submitted, of Captain Sims, sixty seventh Indiana, and lieutenant Gorman, first Louisiana Cavalry, who were captured and returned with our wounded. Our losses were: killed, 26; wounded, 124; missing, 566. We lost also 36 horses, one 10 pounder Parrott gun, and 1 caisson. Most of our camp equipage and all our supply trains and ammunition were saved.
The engagement began at 12.30 p.m. and continued until nearly 3 p.m. Every inch of the ground was contested through the entire ravine, and both officers and men displayed the utmost coolness and bravery. colonel Guppey and Captain Bull, Twenty third Regiment Wisconsin; Colonel Owen, commanding brigade, and lieutenant Richardson, his acting assistant adjutant general; Lieutenant colonel Brown, ninety sixth Ohio; Captain Rice, Seventeenth Ohio Battery; Colonel Fonda, One hundred and Eighteenth Illinois; Lieutenant Colonel Brown, Ninety sixth Ohio; Captain Rice, Seventeenth Ohio Battery; colonel Fonda, One hundred and Eighteenth Illinois; Lieutenant colonel Robinson, First Louisiana Cavalry, and Lieutenant Marland, commanding section of Nims' battery, deserve an honorable mention in that day's contest. Colonel Guppey, for rallying his men once after he was shot down; Lieutenant Richardson, acting assistant adjutant general for taking the advance until his horse was shot under him; Captain Rice, for standing by his battery until the last moment, and Lieutenant Colonel Robinson, for heading a brilliant cavalry charge, all deserve the very highest approbation. The section of Nims' battery, lieutenant Marland commanding, did more than its whole duty. I am indebted to Captain [Richard] Vance, Major [Victor] Vifquain, Surgeon [Frederick] McGrew, Captain [William B.] Lebo, and Lieutenants [Thomas J.] Elliott, [John M.] Shields, [Silas} Baldwin, and [John S.] Van Vliet, of my staff, for assisting in the execution of my orders. S. G. Burbridge, Brigadier General. Major William H. Morgan, Assistant Adjutant General, Thirteenth Army Corps. (WR XXXVIII: 359-361)
Report of Col. Joshua J. Guppey, Twenty third Wisconsin Infantry, first Brigade, of engagement at Bayou Bourbeau. New Orleans, La., January 9, 1894.
Sir: I was taken prisoner in the engagement which took place between first Brigade, Fourth division, of the Thirteenth army corps, and the rebel forces near Bayou Bourbeau on the 3d of November last, and have been unable to make a report concerning it prior to this date. I now submit that report, and address it to you, for the reason that the officers un command of that brigade on that day are not now on duty with it.
The brigade was encamped on a prairie, having in its rear a narrow belt of timber, through which the Bayou Bourbeau ran. Our camp faced the west, and about 4 miles in rear of it was the Carrion Crow Bayou, on which the main body of the United States forces were stationed. The land between the belt of timber on the Bourbeau and the Carrion Crow was prairie.
The approaches to our position were as follows: First. by the road leading from Opelousas, which, its southerly course, the right end of our camp. This road ran near the edge of the timber, and on the west side of it, and almost cornering with the front of our camp on the right there was a field stretching to the west and enclosed with the ordinary ditch and wood fence. Through this field cavalry could not be moved with much rapidity.
Second. By the open prairie in our front. The enemy, approaching us from the direction of Opelousas, could go to the west of the field I have named, and come in on our front.
The Sixtieth Indiana, the ninety sixth Ohio, the Eighty third Ohio, the Sixty seventh Indiana, and the Twenty third Wisconsin constituted the infantry force of the brigade, and they were encamped from right to left in the order named. The Seventeenth Ohio Battery formed a part of the brigade, and was in camp with it. Each of the infantry regiments numbered about 200 men.
We had an infantry picket in our front and a cavalry force watching the road from Opelousas and the country adjoining it. What the numbers of the latter may have been I cannot state.
We knew that the enemy was in our front, for he had followed us from Opelousas and Barre's landing, when our forces had returned from those places on the 1st of November, and had commenced skirmishing with our pickets early the next morning. we knew that his cavalry force was about 4,000, for he had displayed it on the prairie in front of the Carrion Crow Bayou on the 15th of October, in an attack on the Nineteenth Army Corps, on which day Brigadier General Burbridge marched General Cameron's and our brigade from Vermillionville to Carrion crow as the advance of the Thirteenth Army Crops. But it was not supposed that the enemy had any infantry near our camp.
We were thus situated, with regard to the main body of our force, and thus advised of the strength of the rebel cavalry hovering around our brigade, when the morning of the 3d of November opened with alarms and skirmishing along the picket lines. The regiments were soon in line of battle, and the battery was ready for work. The enemy, however, retired from our picket lines, and, after the brigade had been under arms some hours, the men were permitted to stack arms and return to their quarters, but were directed to keep on their equipments and be ready to fall in at a moment's notice. after the alarm had subsided, the Eighty third Ohio Volunteers, with the wagons of the brigade, were sent out on a foraging expedition.
Two paymasters were in camp paying off the troops, and my regiment was engaged in voting for State officers, yet, when the order was again given to "fall in," the line of battle was formed in a few moments. This was about noon.
The four regiments of infantry in the camp and the battery were disposed as follows: The Sixtieth Indiana and four pieces of artillery were moved to the north, on the Opelousas road, and took position between the field and Bayou Bourbeau. The Sixty seventh Indian, with two pieces of the battery, were sent out on the prairie in front of the camp and to the west of the field. The Twenty third Wisconsin was ordered to remain in front of the camp, and its colonel was directed to cover the camp, or move in support of the other troops, as occasion might require.
Firing soon commenced in the direction taken by the sixtieth Indiana, and, after changing front forward on first company, I moved my regiment in line of battle from the left to the right end of the camp, so as to be nearer to the troops engaged. The firing from the direction of the sixtieth Indiana, both of musketry and artillery, became very heavy and well sustained, and, in a short time, I saw that our force was falling back. I then learned that the Sixtieth Indiana and the artillery with it had encountered a brigade of infantry, accompanied by artillery and cavalry.
Up to this time no one supposed that the enemy had any infantry within striking distance of us, and I may state here that I was informed while I was a prisoner that the rebel infantry had been marched from Opelousas that morning, and put into action without an instant's rest. The attacking force of the enemy was so heavy that the sixtieth Indiana and the pieces of the battery with it were compelled to give way. The Sixtieth Indiana broke ranks, I am told, and its men ran into the ranks of the Ninety sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who were in their rear, and broke them.
I was about this time that General Burbridge, waving his hat as he dashed up, ordered me to take position in a ravine between the right of the camp and the bayou. I put my regiment in the designated position as quickly as possible, and ordered my men to lie down, so that the Sixtieth and ninety sixth could pass over them. Many of the Ninety sixth were here rallied by their gallant commander, Lieutenant colonel brown and placed in my line. I ordered the men not to fire a gun till I gave the command.
At the moment I entered the ravine, the eighty third Ohio returned to camp with the baggage wagons and artillery firing commenced on the prairie where the Sixty seventh Indiana was. I knew that if General Green's cavalry division was sweeping in across the prairie, as I doubted not it was, our condition was desperate enough. With one look at the Sixty seventh, another at the Eight third, then in front of our camp, and another toward General Burbridge, who was trying to form the flying men in rear of my regiment, I turned by attention again to the advancing infantry of the enemy, and gave the order to fire as son as it was within good rifle range. Never was an order more coolly obeyed or better followed up. In ten minutes the regiment in my front was so doubled up that its men were 10 or 12 deep, and all mixed up, but still gallantly advancing. Two other regiments were also in the enemy's line, one to the right and the other to the left of that in my front, and each stretching beyond my flanks, and giving me a heavier fire than I could return. I then sent to General Burbridge for the eighty third Ohio, but he did not send it to our position. at this time I was wounded just below the left knee.
Failing to get reinforcements, I maintained the fight as best I could for awhile; but I soon saw the long line of rebel cavalry (about 3,000 in number) charging across the prairie toward and around the camp, unchecked by the Sixty seventh Indiana; in fact, the latter had then surrendered, as I afterward learned. Seeing that this cavalry would be in rear of me if I held my position longer, I commenced falling back toward the point held by General Burbridge while he was covering the advance of the rebel infantry. None of my men would have been taken prisoners if the cavalry had not by this time begun to get in our rear. while we were thus falling back, my wounded limb became powerless, and I turned over the command of my regiment to Lieutenant Colonel Hill, and attempted with the assistance of Lieutenant Stanley to get of the field but the enemy's cavalry was too near me, and the lieutenant and myself were taken prisoners by it. After ward it took about 80 of my men, among them many of the wounded. As soon as the enemy found that the baggage train was out of their reach, and that General Burbridge was prepared to renew the battle on the prairie, in rear of the Bayou Bourbeau, they left the field, hurried along by the shells from our artillery, and taking with them the prisoners they had captured.
Owing to the absence of men on picket duty, i took into battle only about 160 men. of these, 10 were killed and 30 wounded, being a loss in killed and wounded of 1 to 4 of the men engaged. i have the satisfaction of knowing, however, that the enemy suffered much more in killed and wounded than we did. The regiment in my immediate front lost, its colonel informed me, 54 in killed and wounded, and the others nearly the same. his cavalry also lost considerably. The officers and men of my regiment fought most gallantly; but this report is so extended already, that I must refrain from naming particular cases of good conduct.
I close with saying that our disposition at first was against a cavalry attack, and I think we could have driven the cavalry if it had been unaided by infantry. As it was, three of our regiments were used against the rebel infantry--unfortunately, only one at a time--and this left only two regiments to act against the cavalry.
The enemy numbered over 5,000. Three of his mounted regiments acted as infantry, in support of his infantry proper. He felt sure that he would capture our wagons and baggage and our artillery; but Captain Rice's battery and two sections of Nims' battery, which acted with us, were capitally handled, and the rebels captured but one gun. all the wagons, well loaded with baggage, were brought off safe. Respectfully, your obedient servant, J. J. Guppey, Colonel, Comdg. Twenty third Regt. Wisconsin Vol. Infantry.
(WR XXXVIII 363-366)
Confederate Casualties in the Engagement at Bayou Bourbeau
Report of Brig. Gen. Thomas Green, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry division, of engagement at Bayou Bourbeau. Headquarters Division of Cavalry, Opelousas, November 4, 1863.
Major: After having retired from Opelousas, October 20, with the division of cavalry under my command, before the advancing enemy, in three columns, to wit, Major's brigade up the Chicot road, and Bagby's and the artillery up the Boeuf and Big Cane roads, to a point where forage could be procured for our horses, only a few days' rest intervened when my scouts reported that the enemy had fallen back from the vicinity of Opelousas and Barre's Landing. at which places they had encamped in considerable force. Upon this information being conveyed to the major general commanding, I was ordered to pursue and harass the enemy with my division of cavalry and three regiments of infantry, then on outpost duty, to wit, Colonel [O.M.] Roberts' Eleventh Texas, Colonel [W. H.] King's eighteenth Texas, Colonel [J. W.] Speight's Fifteenth Texas 9the latter commanded by Lieutenant colonel [James E.] Harrison), and three sections of artillery.
In pursuance of orders, I took up the line of march in the direction of Opelousas on the 1st instant, and overtook the rear guard of the enemy on Bayou Bourbeau, 7 miles below that place, consisting of two brigades of infantry, commanded by General Burbridge, of the Thirteenth army corps, and three regiments of cavalry and two batteries. After having sufficiently reconnoitered the position of the enemy, i determined to attack him, and made my dispositions accordingly. Colonel Roberts, in command of the three regiments of infantry before mentioned, was assigned to the command of our left wing, and was directed to sweep down the Bellevue road and occupy the timber below the enemy on the bayou, and assail his right flank. Colonel [j. P.] Major, with his brigade of cavalry, constituted our right wing, while colonel [A. P.] Bagby, with his brigade of cavalry, occupied our center. Two of his regiments ( the Fourth and Fifth) were dismounted, and acted as infantry for the occasion, supporting our artillery, which consisted of a rifle section of Daniel's battery and a section of the Valverde, commanded, respectively, by Lieutenants [Samuel M.] Hamilton and [P. G.] Hume, both sections being placed for the occasion under the command of Lieutenant Morse. These dispositions having been made, and the brigade commanders occupying the ground assigned to them, I ordered an immediate advance.
About 11 a.m. of the 3d instant, Colonel Roberts drove in the enemy's skirmishers on his right flank, and commenced the attack. Our infantry was engaged for half an hour before our cavalry and dismounted troopers, with the artillery, were closely engaged on our right and center. Our infantry was most stubbornly resisted by the enemy, but they gallantly and steadily moved forward, without for a moment faltering, under a most terrific fire of artillery and musketry. Our artillery was brought up within 400 yards of a line of the enemy's infantry, in front of their encampment, and fired a few shots into them, but about this time the cavalry, under Colonel Major, on our extreme right, dashed into the left flank of the enemy, while Colonel Bagby, with Herbert's regiment and Waller's battalion, mounted, and Hardeman's and McNeill's regiments, dismounted, charged them in front, the cavalry making, on a partially concealed foe, the most brilliant charge on record. Our gallant infantry, under their brave officers, had given the enemy such a chastisement on his right flank, pushing him back to his encampment, that the whole Federal force gave way as soon as the engagement became general and close.
The victory was complete, the fruits of which are about 250 of the enemy killed and wounded, 100 of whom are estimated to have been killed and over 600 prisoners, 32 of whom were officers. Prisoners were taken from the following regiments: Sixtieth and Sixty seventh Indiana, Twenty third Wisconsin, eighty third and Ninety sixth Ohio, first Louisiana Cavalry, and two batteries. Besides a large quantity of improved small arms and accouterments, three pieces of artillery fell into our hands. We only had horses, however to bring off one fine Parrott gun and caisson, most of the horses of the enemy's guns being killed. Two hours after our victory, General Weitzel, of the Nineteenth (U. S.) Army corps, came up with a division of infantry of three brigades from Carrion Crow Bayou, 3 miles distant, and two regiments of cavalry. Deeming it imprudent to fight this large additional force, after a warm skirmish, I withdrew slowly and without loss, the enemy not attempting to follow me.
I cannot say too much for the gallantry of the officers and men under my command in this action. It was above all praise. I have never before witnessed good conduct in battle so universal.
I am greatly indebted to my own staff for their efficiency. captain Hart, who always distinguishes himself in battle, was placed under the command of Colonel Roberts, to assist him on our left, and for his conduct I refer you particularly to the report of Colonel Roberts. Captain [C. B.] Sheppard, of my old military family, was (as ever before in battle) gallant and useful. I cannot say too much in praise of Acting Assistant Adjutant General [E. R.] Wells. My engineer, Captain Ellis, and lieutenant [J,] Avery, and Volunteer aide-de-Cap 9for the occasion) George [T.] Madison, were also very useful and efficient. I herewith submit a statement of casualties. a full list of names as soon as procured will be forwarded.
To Chief Surgeon George Cupples great praise is due in using the limited means at his command in alleviating the sufferings of our noble soldiers and his great and untiring activity in the discharge of all his duties.
Owing to the breaking down of the horses in section of Semmes' battery, it did not arrive in time to participate in the action. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Thomas Green, Brigadier General, commanding Cavalry Division. Maj. E. Surget, Assistant Adjutant General, District of Western Louisiana. (WR XXXVIII: 393-5)
"It [the 96th OVI] moved to Brasher City October 3d, and took part in the Teche campaign.
The battle of Grand Coteau, a desperate fight against overwhelming numbers, occurred on the third of November. The regiment lost nine killed, thirty-three wounded, and sixty-eight taken prisoners.
This was one of the most desperate battles in which the Knox county boys were engaged, and companies A and B shared their proportion of the loss.
The losses in company A were as follows:
George E. Browning, wounded-afterwards died.
Norton A. Meeker, "
Edwin T. Tathwell, "
M. L. Terrill, ":
Andrew J. Zimmerman, "
James W. Devoe, prisoner. "
J. R. P. Martin, "
William C. Martin, "
William A. McGrew, "
Bailey Sprague, "
The losses in company B were
Jacob Young, killed.
William H. Scarborough, wounded, and George W. Lore, Joseph T. Jacobs, Norris Penrose, John P. Reynolds, George W. Fish, and Zachariah Workmen, prisoners.
Nearly if not quite all these prisoners were subsequently exchanged and rejoined their commands.
This battle has been variously designated as "Bayou Bouf" and "Bayou Bourdeux," but Grand Coteau is the name generally adopted. It occurred six miles south .of Opelousas, Louisiana. The following vivid picture of this battle is from the pen of Dr. J. T. Woods, the surgeon of the Ninety-sixth
At two o'clock on the morning of the third (November) Colonel Brown, of the Ninety-sixth, received a request from General Burbridge to call immediately at his headquarters. The general at that late hour was busily engaged in writing. This interview was private and confidential, in which he notified the colonel that there was not the least doubt but that early in the day the command would be attacked by overwhelming numbers. He explained fully all the details, and notified him as to what he should expect of his regiment. Very early in the morning a council was held, in which all the commanding officers of regiments were present. The general explained to them the expected attack, and directed them to adopt every precaution in their separate commands to secure their entire strength and efficiency in the coming struggle.
Colonel Brown proceeded immediately to give certain orders to his officers. Then followed quickly the sounds of busy preparation. Every where was heard the click-, click, of the rising hammer, and then the sharp explosion of the caps, by which it was known that the tube was open; and the clear ring of the rammer as it was dropped into the barrel satisfied the soldier that he could rely upon his musket to do faithful execution in the moment of need. Cartridge boxes were carefully packed with forty rounds, and canteens filled with water.
It was scarcely 10 A. M when the sharp picket-firing in the distance confirmed our expectations, and at twelve our retreating cavalry-gave notice of the enemy's approach. The thrilling long-roll called every man to arms. In calm, calculating haste each man donned his battle trappings, and with clock-work precision fell into line.
Marching directly on the road that turned to the left close tothe right of our camp, the rebel infantry advanced in force, while clouds of cavalry emerged from the woods, and deployed on the flanks of their infantry, scattering like wild Comanches and enveloping our camp.
Not an instant is lost in preparation. Our line of battle faces the woods on the right, close to and at right angles with our camp. The Sixty-seventh Indiana, in open prairie on our left, supports two guns of the Seventeenth Ohio battery. The Ninety-sixth Ohio and Sixtieth Indiana, with the remaining guns, form the centre. The Twenty-third Wisconsin, a little delayed in reaching its position, forms the right of our line. This disposition is scarcely completed, and we are face to face with more than eight thousand men, and the battle of Grand Coteau commences.
A part of the Sixtieth Indiana deploys as skirmishers, and promptly advance into the infested woods. Gallantry is unavailing against the frightful odds, and the whole. regiment advances to its support. They are few in number, and against them are hurled massed lines of battle. The quick crack of the skirmish rifle is followed by the crash of musketry, Undismayed by terrible loss they fall steadily back, leaving not an inch of ground uncontested.
A vindictive fight rages along the entire front. "Forward, Ninety-sixth," sends them to meet the solid lines of gray, and full in each other's faces the deadly volleys are exchanged. It is a host against which a handful of stout-hearted men are battling, and which it is impossible for them to withstand. Defiantly both Ninety-sixth and Sixtieth fall back.
A cloud of cavalry is swooping down on the Sixty-seventh and the two pieces of artillery on the prairie to our left. The regiment quickly fortes a hollow square to receive the cavalry. In doing so a gap is left in our line, and it is entirely detached from support. A command to reform and move to the right to fill the gap is instantly sent by General Burbridge. In attempting to execute this manoeuver under fire it becomes confused, and from confusion it is quickly panic-stricken. The fierce cavalry sweep like a whirlwind among the men with gleaming sabers; the swift riders enfold them, and almost without resistance march them away captive before our eyes.
The men of the Twenty-third Wisconsin, on our extreme right, are enveloped in smoke, but here, as everywhere, maintain their well-deserved fame. It is only by sheer weight of numbers that they are forced slowly back. Their intrepid colonel stands staunchly and firmly in the thickest of the fight, and, wounded, falls into the hands of the enemy.
Twice has the Ninety-sixth been repulsed, and, rallying, returned to the hopeless charge. The three regiments still maintain an irregular line; the rebels are plainly enveloping our flanks. The Twenty-third Wisconsin is almost muzzle to muzzle with the enemy, who, on its right, overlaps it and pours in a deadly enfilading fire. Nothing can save it or even prolong the contest, but to fall quickly back and form an angle to face the foe in front and on the right. The Sixtieth Indiana maintains a position on the right of the Ninety-sixth, but its left is driven far back, and a fatal gap is thus made between the regiments. The Ninety-sixth makes an attempt to close the gap, but it is a fruitless effort; the Sixtieth breaks, and a portion rushes through our right.
While this furious struggle is raging, our rear presents a most singular sight. At the summons of the long-roll, the stores of the brigade had been promptly loaded, and started poll-moll for the rear. In mad haste some dashed into the deep ravine, to find their wagons instantly mired. Others with more coolness took their places, rapidly flew over the bridge and with lavish use of whip and spur, escaped. Haste was never more demanded, as both the camp they left and the woods through which they must pass, are already full of roving rebel cavalrymen, who unexpectedly, and for some strange reason made little effort to prevent the escape of their legitimate prize and booty. A Federal officer rode through the woods unmolested, although they were thick around him. He noticed a stolid German artilleryman, stoically marching to the rear, carrying his swab-stick on his shoulder. A cavalryman rode behind him, brandishing a revolver and shouted: Halt! you Yankee vagabond!" The indignant gunner instantly turned on his heel with an oath, and furiously swinging his swab-stick, smashed the head of the would-be captor into a jelly, and 'shouldering arms' marched on as unconcerned as before.
The artillery has been, by dint of both valor and good fortune, removed from the field-the piece last passing through the woods being temporarily captured by a half dozen or more resolute rebel cavalrymen shooting down the artillery horses.
There is nowhere a trace of terror. Men fall in promiscuously, maintaining the semblance of a line, and move back delivering their fire defiantly to the last. We know we are doomed, but only press more closely together, Lieutenant-colonel Brown inspires, both by word and deed, the men, who keep their eyes on him, moving only as he directs and contesting every inch of ground. The gallant Burbridge rides up and down the tattered fragments of his brigade, directing and encouraging the men. No aid comes, and stumbling to certain death over comrades dead and dying, even the most dauntless spirit must falter. The movement is more than sublime, as each, without a murmur asks his own soul, in agony, can we stay? must we go?
Impulses are like avalanches, and as if to spur souls that have never faltered, the heroic Burbridge seizes the battle-flag of a regiment, and waving it above him in this yawning battle-hell, in the face of defeat and death, in full defiant tones begins himself to sing that grand old battle-hymn
'Rally round the flag boys
Rally once -again;
and amidst the crash, roar, and 'thud' of the minnie-bullet, a hundred voices mingle in the chorus
'Rally once again
Shouting the battle-cry of freedom'
Now comes the appalling shout of the rebel horde, followed by a bullet-storm, and an advancing line of gray thickly fringed with glittering steel.
The Ninety-sixth gather closer around their commander and at his word deliver their fire. By the returning volley they are shivered to pieces as if by a thunder-bolt. They are completely routed, but as if by instinct they gather in squads, and fall back, firing wherever a foe presents. Everywhere they turn, right, left, or rear, rebel cavalrymen are using pistol and saber.
Sergeant Forbes of company B., being wounded, had, early in the engagement requested Color-sergeant Isaac Ivins, as he could no longer use his gun, to exchange with him, and, with one mangled hand, he bore the banner safely through the battle, while the sergeant as bravely used his gun.
Falling back toward the edge of the wood near the camp, Colonel Brown notices a boy in the act of raising his gun to fire, when a bullet whistles through his breast. Running to him andraising his head, his lips move, and putting his ear close to them, he hears the whispered word 'mother'-and Charley Stanfield is dead. Close before him rides three rebel cavalrymen, one of whom has shot the boy. The colonel instantly picks up the gun the boy had dropped with the hammer already raised, fires and the middle one of the three Texan rangers rolls from his saddle.
The bearer of the colors has planted the staff in the ground that he may use a musket, when he is whirled away, and, in the melee the flag is pushed over. The colors on the ground shocks the soldierly pride of Sanderson, orderly of Colonel Brown, and calling the colonel's attention to it asks if he shall get it, receiving for a reply : ' It is a terrible place to go to, but bring the colors if you can'. Gallantly he rushes among the reeling, swaying combatants, and bears it safely to the rear.
Not an organized command remains, and Colonel Brown mounts his horse ; soldiers in squads around him deliver a desultory fire into the troop of cavalry that are close down upon them. The colonel says: "Boys, to stay is death; fall back as best you can to the other side of the woods; we will rally there;" and empties his revolver into the advancing rebel cavalry. The return fire luckily inflicts a slight wound on his horse, and in mad frenzy the animal dashes away to our left and rear, and with one desperate leap clears the ravine. The rebel horsemen are sufficient in number to capture every man, but are strangely inefficient. In squads we battle our way through them to the rear of the wood. The voice of Colonel Brown, whose horse had saved him by running away from the saber-points of the enemy, is heard, and at his word the brave men halt in the teeth of the exultant foe. No sign of the hoped for aid is visible, yet with wonderful eagerness they fall into line. It seems like stubborn rashness, for masses of rebel infantry are surging along our front, and a cloud of cavalry deploying from right to left across our rear. They are no mounted mob, but proud knights of the sabre, whose lines are swiftly enfolding us. They ride rapidly on, when, as if by magic, there rises from the thick grass a line of men, till this moment unseen, who with level muskets pour into their ranks a volley that sends them reeling back with many an empty saddle. To our delight and surprise it is the Forty-sixth Indiana, whose colonel, hearing the roar of battle, instantly formed his command, and waiting for no orders, with the instincts of a true soldier, had marched at double-quick, and halting for a moment to take breath, found this opportunity to save us from utter annihilation. We join these brave comrades and charge upon the line of gray and steel, with a cheer. A short sharp struggle with the bayonet, and they flee through our camp so swiftly that they find no time to disturb anything.
For two long miles we pursue them, then return to our camp, both humiliated by defeat and exultant by victory. The camp has been twice swept by the storm of battle. All are there, save many of our comrades-the bravest and best, who wounded or dead lie all around us in ghastly pools of blood. The wounded are sent to the rear for medical attention, and the dead-a fearful number-are gathered for burial. Those of the Ninety-sixth we place in a row in our camp, and, with hearts bowed down in sorrow, the living gaze upon their loved comrades,
"With the red rents in their bosoms,
And their young eyes closed on life."
In the glimmering twilight we take our last look at the little yellow mounds as we march away for Carrion Crow Bayou." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 323-4).
23-25 Battle of Chattanooga December 18 Moved to Algiers December 13, thence embark for Texas December 18.
Return of first Brigade, Fourth Division.
December 7.--This command was ordered to break camp by Major General Franklin, and march to Berwick City, La.
December 10.--The command arrived at Berwick City.
December 11.--Was ordered by General Banks to report to Algiers, La.
December 12.--Arrived at Algiers.
December 16.--The Sixtieth and Sixty seventh Indiana Regiments of this command embarked on the steamer Demale, and arrived on the 20th instant.
December 18.--The Nineteenth Kentucky and the ninety sixth Ohio embarked on the steamer George Peabody, and arrived here [Decros'] the 21st instant. (WR XXXVIII: 431).
Colonel Landram commanding, vice Brig. Gen. S. G. Burbridge, relieved by special orders, No. 83, Headquarters nineteenth Army corps and United States Forces, December 5, and granted leave of absence by special orders, No. 307, Department of the Gulf, December 9. [Forth Division Col. William J. Landram. First Brigade, Lieut. Col. John Cowan. 96th Ohio, Col. Joseph W. Vance. (WR XXXVIII: 898)
The Steamer George Peabody
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