CAMP, NEAR CORINTH, Miss.,
I have the honor to report that, owing to the fact that there were no distinct roads through the woods, and the undergrowth being quite thick, I found it quite impossible to follow the course taken by the brigade on the morning of the 6th sufficiently fast to keep in position; consequently soon found my command entirely disconnected. Left to my own judgment, I determined to advance in the direction of the enemy as indicated by the firing. I soon found myself in front of one of their batteries, which opened fire upon us at a distance of about 600 yards. My guns were placed in position as soon as possible in the face of a fire that was telling both on men and horses with terrible effect. In about fifteen minutes their firing ceased, and I was gratified to know that an ibfantry regiment very soon took possession of it without firing a gun. Subsequently during the day I occupied positions under orders from Generals Beauregard, Ruggles, and others.
About 11 a. m. a battery, which had been firing all the morning and up to this time I had supposed to be one of our own, opened fire upon us. After assuring myself that they were certainly our enemy, I opened upon them with solid shot and spherical case at a range of 500 yards. The cannonading continued about thirty minutes, they changing their position once during the time.
At this juncture General Breckinridge moved forward his column with a view of capturing the battery. The charge was a gallant one. The men, promptly answering the call of their leaders, went forward with a shout. They met with a check, however, from the enemy, who were lying in ambush in numbers not less than 3,000 strong. When I saw the command of General Breckinridge retiring, I gave orders for canister to be brought forward, and prepared to give them a warm reception. This we did as soon as their front was unmasked, and for thirty minutes we held them in check, their ranks broken and wavering in many places, showing plainly that but a little better support from infantry, which was not given us, would have sufficed to have routed them completely. At no time was the distance more than 300 yards, and this was reduced to 50 yards when the last gun was discharged. A part of the time they filed passed in four ranks, with the intention of flanking us. it was then the grape had the most terrible effect upon them. Large gaps were made by every gun at each discharge. Three regimental flags being in full view, I gave orders to point at them, and soon had the satisfaction of seeing two of them fall to the ground, both being raised again. One was again cut down. Being hard pressed, and almost surrounded by their large force, I determined to withdraw my command, or such part of it as I could move. My horses being nearly all killed, I could only bring away two pieces, leaving four upon the field. These, however, we did not abandon till the last moment, making them pay dearly for their purchase. The effect of my determined stand, after all support had left me, though disastrous to my immediate command, was certainly beneficial to our common cause, as it gave commanders of infantry regiments time to rally their forces before getting into a complete rout. This I saw at a glance, and determined, if need be, to sacrifice my battery.
Our losses were 4 killed, 14 wounded, and 2 taken prisoners; also about 60 horses, most of which were killed.
The officers and privates in my command acted with much bravery and deliberation. Where all did so well it would be improper to make distinctions.
Lieutenants [H. R.] McSwine, [A. A.] Hardin, [T. R.] Trotter, and [J. S.] McCall all participated in the two days fight, and gave me efficient aid in the management and firing of the pieces, frequently pointing and ranging them in person.
To Lieutenant [William] Dunlap, temporarily attached to my command, I am indebted for valuable services during the battle. He showed himself equal to the occasion.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
T. J. STANFORD,
Comdg. Second Brig., First Div., Army of the Mississippi.
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, Part 1, Pages 436-437.
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