Sunday, October 21, 2012

Official Reports of the Battle of Shiloh: No. 5 – Col. Abraham M. Hare, 11th Iowa Infantry, Commanding 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of the Tennessee

No. 5.

Report of Col. Abraham M. Hare, Eleventh Iowa Infantry, commanding First Brigade.

Pittsburg, Tenn., April 8, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the First Brigade of the First Division in the engagement with the enemy on the 6th instant.

Early in the morning of the 6th, upon the alarm being given, the brigade, composed of the Eighth and Eighteenth Regiments Illinois Infantry, the Eleventh and Thirteenth Regiments Iowa Infantry, and Dresser's battery, were formed in the open field in front of their respective encampments.  I received orders about 8 o’clock a.m. to move three regiments to the left of the Second Brigade. The Eighth and Eighteenth Illinois and Thirteenth Iowa were accordingly ordered to form in line of battle in that position, and moving in double-quick formed in good order in a skirt of woods bordering on a field, the Eighteenth Illinois on the left and the Thirteenth Iowa on the right. At the same time I was ordered to form a regiment on the right of the Second Brigade, which position, by my orders, the Eleventh Iowa, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hall, immediately took, and, with a battery, formed a reserve for the time being.  After seeing the order executed I joined the three regiments at their position on the left, as above stated. Upon arriving at that point I found this portion of my brigade there formed under the fire of the enemy's cannon and musketry. On the right was a battery of our guns, supported by infantry still on its right. Against this battery the principal fire of the enemy was directed, and large bodies of infantry were moving around the field in its direction. A charge being made by these bodies of the enemy's infantry, directed upon the battery and our infantry on the right, they broke and retired in great disorder. Seeing the enemy approaching in great numbers, and our troops on the right having given way, my regiments also broke and retired in confusion.

Having retired to the distance of about 100 yards I succeeded, with the assistance of the field officers of my regiments, in rallying them and forming them in line in the same order as before. Here we maintained our position in good order, under a constant fire of the enemy, until 12 o’clock m., when, discovering that the enemy were approaching in great numbers, and that our troops on the right and left had retired, I ordered my regiments to retire and take up a new position about 200 yards to rear, which they did in good order and without confusion. We remained in this position, repelling charge after charge of the enemy, until 4.30 o'clock p.m., all the officers and men behaving with the greatest gallantry. At that hour, my regiments having exhausted their ammunition and great numbers of them having been killed and wounded and the forces on my fight and left having retired, I again ordered them to fall back, which was done in good order as before. At this time I received a severe wound in the hand and arm, which compelled me to retire from the field.

Dresser's battery and my own regiment, the Eleventh Iowa, I did not see after they took their position in the morning, but I am satisfied that they behaved with great gallantry, and their reports, herewith submitted, fully attest the bravery with which they acted.

To Lieut. Col. William Hall, who commanded the Eleventh Iowa, great praise is due for the bravery and skill shown by him on the field of action. Major Abercrombie, of the Eleventh Iowa, who was wounded severely during the early part of the engagement, displayed that coolness and bravery which characterize a good soldier.

To Col. M. M. Crocker, of the Thirteenth Iowa Volunteers, I wish to call especial attention. The coolness and bravery displayed by him on the field of battle during the entire action of the 6th, the skill with which he maneuvered his men, and the example of daring and disregard to danger by which he inspired them to do their duty and stand by their colors, show him to be possessed of the highest qualities of a commander, and entitle him to speedy promotion. His adjutant, Lieutenant Wilson, who accompanied him on the field during the day and shared all its dangers, I wish to mention as the bravest of the brave.

Capt. William H. Harvey, of Company K, Eighth Illinois, was instantly killed while commanding his regiment, and died the death of a brave man. Capt. Robert H. Sturgess, of Company H, took command of the regiment and led them gallantly through the day. Maj. Samuel Eaton was badly wounded while commanding his regiment – the Eighteenth Illinois. Capt. D. H. Brush, next in command, was soon after also severely wounded. Captain Dillon, of Company C, arrived on the field at this moment and took command, but was almost instantly killed. From that time the regiment was led on by Captain Anderson, who did his duty nobly.

My thanks are due to my volunteer aide, Lieutenant Caldwell, of General Oglesby's staff, who assisted me during the day; and I express my very great obligations to my adjutant, C. Cadle, Jr., who accompanied me on the field and rendered me most efficient service, and during the whole action, by his promptness, energy, and activity, exhibited all the best qualities of a soldier.

Respectfully, &c.,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Maj. M. BRAYMAN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume X (Serial No. 10), Part I, pages 123-5

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