Report of Maj. Lewis D. Joy, Eighteenth U. S. Colored Troops,
of operations December 15-16, 1864.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH U. S. COLORED INFANTRY,
Bridgeport, Ala., January 17, 1865.
SIR: I hereby have the honor to make report of the part taken by the detachment of the Eighteenth U.S. Colored Infantry, under my command, at the battles before Nashville, December 15 and 16, 1864.
On the 15th we were ordered by Colonel Morgan, commanding colored brigade, to the support of a section of the Twentieth Indiana Battery, which position we occupied during the day, having one man wounded while changing position from the brick house on the extreme lest of the line. That night 100 men, in charge of First Lieut. George J. Drew, Company B of our regiment, were engaged in throwing; up earth-works at Camp Foster for the protection of the battery. On the morning of the 16th crossed to the west of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad with the battery, and marched out on the pike west of that road until ordered to form connection with the Seventeenth U.S. Colored Infantry. Afterward reported to Colonel Shafter, Seventeenth U.S. Colored Infantry, and then to Lieutenant-Colonel Grosvenor, Eighteenth Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, by order of Colonel Morgan. When the final charge was ordered on Overton Hill, at 4 p.m., we were ordered to take position on the left of Colonel Thompson's brigade in the first line, but having to pass through a thick mass of brush while the brigade was marching in open ground we failed to make the connection, and as the brigade continued obliquing to the left in our front, we did not regain our position during the charge. After the repulse of the first charge we reformed and took position on the right of the Seventeenth U.S. Colored Infantry, throwing up breast-works of rails for our protection, and there remained until the enemy were driven from the field.
I inclose list of killed, wounded, and missing during the two days' battle.*
Five men of my command who went through the fight in safety have since died from the effects of the severe exposure to which we were subjected, and two of my best officers were not expected to live, but I believe are now recovering.
Very respectfully, yours,
L. D. JOY,
Major Eighteenth U.S. Colored Infantry, Comdg. Detachment.
Lieut. J. E. CLELAND,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, First Colored Brigade,
Major-general Steedman's Division, Army of the Cumberland.
* Embodied in table, p. 103.
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. 539-40