Report of Lieut. Col. Gustavus A. Eberhart, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry,
of operations December 15-16, 1864.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTY-SECOND IOWA INFANTRY,
In the Field, December 21, 1864.
LIEUTENANT: Of the part taken by the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry in the battle of the 15th and 16th instant, I have the honor to report as follows:
At 6 a.m. on the 15th, in obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, I formed the regiment on the right of the brigade, with my left resting on the Fifty-eighth Illinois Infantry. The regiment advanced in line of battle for more than a mile, slowly wheeling to the left, conforming to the movement of the line on our right. From 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. we lay under artillery fire from a battery 1,000 yards in our front. When the works were carried by the forces in front we moved forward about one mile and a half, when we were ordered to go into camp for the night. The regiment was not brought into close action, and suffered no loss.
On the morning of the 16th we were again on the right of the brigade, our right resting on the left of the First Division. The advance was ordered about 7 a.m., the line wheeling to the right to confront the enemy's works. When within about 1,200 yards we came in full view of the enemy, drawing upon us a brisk fire from their battery, under which the men moved forward with commendable coolness. The First Division contracting in order to form two lines we were thrown by the flank to the right about half a mile. At this point we lay under fire of the enemy's artillery for about five hours. At 3.30 p.m. the right of the First Division carried the left of the enemy's works; we then moved forward at a double-quick over an open field, under a severe fire from artillery and musketry, and in a few minutes gained the intrenchments, capturing about 50 prisoners and 5 pieces of artillery. Some of the artillerists were killed as they were leaving the guns. Private William May, of Company H, dashed forward and captured the battery guidon. The regiment moved forward in pursuit, gathering a few prisoners, until we reached the base of the mountain, when we received orders to halt. At dark, the battle being over, we were ordered into camp near the mountain.
Too much cannot be said in praise of the conduct of the officers and men under the heavy fire during the charge; every one moved forward with a determination to carry the works.
Where all behaved so creditably it is a delicate matter to make particular mention of persons, but I presume no exceptions will be taken when I speak of Lieut. W. L. Carpenter, acting regimental adjutant, who was, as usual, conspicuous for his brave and gallant conduct in the action, and was among the first over the rebel works. Also, Capt. Theodore De Tar, commanding Company D, who, after pursuing the enemy to the mountain, was wounded in the right ankle, making an amputation necessary. This will cause the loss to the regiment of an officer who has always been esteemed for his excellent qualities as an officer and a gentleman. First Sergt. Daniel W. Albaugh, Company C, who was killed almost instantly by a minie-ball, was one of our best non-commissioned officers, and was much loved by his company as an officer and comrade. They mourn his loss deeply. My thanks are due Maj. Jonathan Hutchison for his assistance during the action.
I cannot refrain from mentioning Color-Sergt. A. J. Ellis, of Company G, who carried the standard. Although once thrown to the ground by a glancing shot he refused to give the standard to any one else, but made his way forward and was one of the first over the works. Corporal Bell, of Company G, who bore the regimental colors, was noticed for his bravery in action.
I send herewith a list of casualties* in the regiment, which is light, only because the artillery was aimed too high, and the infantry intimidated by our rapid firing as we advanced.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
G. A. EBERHART,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Lieut. W. G. DONNAN,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
* Embodied in table, p. 101.
SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 45, Part 1 (Serial No. 93), p. 486-7