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Bankhead Bell Caldwell Campbell

LTC T. H. Bell's Report on 12th Tennessee Regiment at Shiloh. April 13, 1862


Corinth, Miss., April 13, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of the Twelfth Tennessee Regiment in the battle of Shiloh on April 6 and 7:

About 6 o'clock on the morning of the 6th we were ordered into line of battle about 2 miles from the scene of action. The regiment was formed on the extreme right of the First Brigade, supporting the right wing of Brigadier-General Stewart's brigade. In this position we were moved rapidly to the scene of action. When within three-quarters of a mile of the enemy their artillery opened a heavy fire upon us, but we continued to move on steadily, losing a few men. We continued to advance until we reached the enemy's cavalry encampment, which we found evacuated.

After passing through we found the enemy in large force, taking shelter behind logs, trees, and tents. We engaged them here for some time.

During this engagement I had two horses shot under me and received a slight wound from the fall of my horse. My adjutant and several other officers of my command were wounded in this engagement.

Finding the enemy strongly posted and hard to move, I gave the order to charge, which the men cheerfully obeyed, and forced the enemy to give way for about 200 yards, when they again formed and took shelter in thick woods and falling timbers.

While engaging the enemy at this point Colonel [Alexander W.] Campbell's (Thirty-third Tennessee) regiment, mistaking us for the enemy, fired into us, causing great confusion among my men, and causing them to fall back about 50 yards. I formed the men and again advanced until we reached the left wing of General Hindmans brigade. Here we got separated from our brigade, but still supporting the right wing of Brigadier-General Stewarts brigade.

At this point General Hindman gave the order to charge the battery, which was promptly obeyed and the battery captured. General Hindman led this charge in person.

When we drove the enemy from this battery they fell back about 300 yards aind afterward made several unsuccessful attacks to recapture it. Captain Bankhead's battery was stationed on the ground that was occupied by the enemy's battery and we were supporting it, at which place I received a slight wound in the breast. Here we fell under the immediate command of Brigadier-General Stewart, who also assisted in the capture of the battery.

It being about 1 p. m., and finding my men exhausted, I ordered them to fall back to the branch for water and to fill their canteens. After the men had supplied themselves with water we were ordered to the support of some battery, the name I do not know. The enemy not approaching, we were ordered to the support of General Bragg, which we did promptly.

About this time the enemy retired under the protection of their gunboats. We were then led in the direction of the gunboats by General Cheatham, where we met Colonel Russell and a portion of the brigade. We remained under the fire of the gunboats for some time, when we were ordered back to the camps, where we remained for the night.

At about 6 oclock on the morning of the 7th we were ordered into line of battle by Colonel Russell. We formed on the road near the camps that we occupied the night before.

At this time I turned over the command to Maj. R. P. Caldwell, being unable to perform any duty from the injuries that I received the day before.

Colonel, permit me to notice the efficient service rendered my command by Major Caldwell. He was always present in the heat of battle urging the men on to victory.

Much credit is due my officers and men generally. They fought bravely, and cheerfully obeyed all orders given them.

The loss in killed, wounded, and missing I will give you in a supplementary report.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Twelfth Tennessee Regiment.

Col. R. M. Russell, Comdg. First Brigade, First Division.

SOURCE: Offical Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10 Part 1, pages 422-424.

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