Monday, June 29, 2009

Gen. Sherman’s Official Report

Tuesday, April 8, 1862.

Major Gen. Grant, Commanding Army in the Field

SIR. With the Cavalry, placed at my command and two Brigades of my fatigued troops I went this morning out on the Corinth road. One after another abandoned camps of the enemy lined the roads, with hospital flags for their protection. At all we found more or less wounded and dead. At the forks of the road I found the head of General Wood's division. At that point I ordered cavalry to examine both roads, and found the enemy's cavalry. Colonel Dickey, of the Illinois cavalry, asked for re-enforcements, I ordered General Wood to advance the head of his column cautiously on the left-hand road, whilst I conducted the head of the third brigade of the fifth division up the right-hand road. About half a mile from the forks was a clear field, through which the road passed, and immediately beyond a space of some 200 yards of fallen timber, and beyond an extensive camp. The enemy's cavalry could be seen in this camp, and after a reconnaissance I ordered the two advance companies of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, Colonel Hildebrand, to deploy forward as skirmishers, and the regiment itself forward into line, with an interval of 100 yards. In this order I advanced cautiously until the skirmishers were engaged.

Taking it for granted this disposition would clean the camp, I held Colonel Dickey's Fourth Illinois Cavalry ready for the charge. The enemy's cavalry came down boldly to the charge, breaking through the line of skirmishers, when the regiment of infantry, without cause, broke, threw away [their] muskets, and fled. The ground was admirably adapted to a defense of infantry against cavalry, the ground being miry and covered with fallen timber.

As the regiment of infantry broke, Dickey's cavalry began to discharge their carbines and fell into disorder. I instantly sent orders to the rear for the brigade to form line of battle, which was promptly executed. The broken infantry and cavalry rallied on this line, and as the enemy's cavalry came to it our cavalry in turn charged and drove them from the field. I advanced the [center] brigade upon the same ground, and sent Colonel Dickey's cavalry a mile farther on the road.

On examining the ground which had been occupied by the 77th Ohio we found fifteen dead and about twenty five wounded. I sent for wagons, and had all the wounded sent back to camp and the dead buried; also the whole camp to be destroyed. Here we found much ammunition for field pieces, which was destroyed; also two caissons, and a general hospital, with about 280 Confederate wounded and about 50 of our own.

Not having the means of bringing these off, Colonel Dickey, by my orders, took a surrender, signed by Medical Director Lyle and all the attending surgeons, and a pledge to report themselves to you as prisoners of war; also a pledge that our wounded would be carefully attended and surrendered to us to-morrow as soon as ambulances could go out. I enclose the written document, and a request that you cause to be sent out wagons or ambulances for the wounded of ours to-morrow, also that wagons be sent out to bring in the many tents belonging to us, which are pitched all along the road for 4 miles. I did not destroy them. However I know the enemy cannot move them. The roads are very bad, and the road is strewn with abandoned wagons, ambulances, and limber-boxes. The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns, but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind [limber] boxes.

The enemy has succeeded in carrying off the guns, but has crippled his batteries by abandoning the hind limber boxes of at least twenty guns. I am satisfied the enemy's infantry and artillery passed Lick Creek this morning, traveling all last night, and that he left behind all his cavalry, which has protected his retreat, that the signs of confusion and disorder mark the whole road. The check sustained by us at the fallen timbers delayed our advance, so that night came upon us before the wounded were provided for and dead buried, and our troops being fagged out by three days' hard fighting, exposure, and privation, I ordered them back to camp, where all now are.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

Brig. Gen. W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Division

– Published in The Athens Messenger, Athens, Ohio, Thursday Morning, April 24, 1862

1 comment:

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