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LTC C. D. Venable's Report On 5th Tennessee Infantry At Shiloh, Tennessee.

___, April __, 1862.

In addition to the foregoing report I, the commanding officer of the regiment, beg leave to append the following remarks concerning the action of my regiment during the battle:

Brig. Gen. A. P. Stewart's brigade, of which we were a part, was intended to be held in reserve, to be used on the right or left wing of the army, as circumstances should require.

On the morning of April 6 we were called into line of battle before sunrise, and moved in direction of the enemy's right. Having moved forward a half mile or more we made a deposit of our baggage, and then, moving in the same direction some 200 or 300 yards, my colors were shot down by a cannon-ball; then moving by the right flank about 400 yards; then by the left flank again into line of battle. Moved in that direction about 400 yards, under a heavy fire of grape shot, and halted in front of the enemys encampment. In about fifteen minutes I moved forward again through the encampment and halted just to its rear and in a very short time was ordered to support the left of General Bragg. Being conducted to the position where I was needed, I formed line of battle at the foot of a hill, in a small ravine, and in front of another encampment; fired one round and moved to the summit of the hill and halted, under a heavy fire of grape shot; remained but a few minutes and retired to the foot of the hill, but soon moved forward again through the encampment, under a heavy cross-fire from two batteries on the right and infantry on the left and front.

Moving forward in that direction I observed Col. Preston Smith's regiment drawn up at the far side of a small field and firing on the enemy. I then pressed on to his support, but the enemy being in the woods and having such advantages, Colonel Smith ordered a retreat. I then fell back to the timber, formed again, and moved back to the rear of the camps, and formed on the left of Colonel Russell's brigade, where two companies of my extreme left engaged and repulsed some sharpshooters of the enemy that had advanced up a ravine. Immediately after we were separated from Colonel Russell, and being connected with no brigade, I charged on an encampment of the enemy, in which I was successful, and, from what observations I could make, there appeared to be about 1,200 or 1,500 of the enemy in the camps. I pursued them through their camps, killing and wounding a great many and taking several prisoners.

After moving forward about half a mile, and my ammunition being nearly exhausted, I flanked to the left for about 300 yards to a ravine to replenish. Having remained here about fifteen or twenty minutes, I moved on to the left, to avoid a field into which the enemy were pouring a heavy fire from artillery; then by the right flank into line of battle. After marching in that direction for 200 yards I was ordered by Major-General Polk, in person, to charge an encampment directly in front, by which I closed the only avenue of escape to the enemy in the camp and captured General Prentiss and brigade.

I then flanked to the left about 300 yards and halted to rest; but in a very few minutes the shelling from the gunboats was so as to be unbearable, killing and wounding several of my men. I thereupon retired to a ravine and remained until dusk, and then moved back and encamped for the night.

I received orders from General Bragg at an early hour on the morning of the 7th to repair again to the battle-field and report to Brigadier-General Chalmers, on the extreme right of the army, which I did, and was drawn up in line of battle with the remainder of his command and moved forward across an encampment of the enemy and engaged him just beyond the camps, where I sustained my ground until 2 p. m., when I was ordered by General Hardee to fall back and form with General Withers command on the road leading to Monterey, and formed line of battle near the church, used as a hospital, and remained an hour or so, when we were ordered by General Withers to march in direction of Monterey.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Fifth Regt. Tennessee Vols.

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, Part 1, Pages 433-434.

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