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Bell Caldwell Davis Fielder

Major R. P. Caldwell's Report on 12th Tennessee Regiment at Shiloh.


Corinth, Miss., April 13, 1862.

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

At about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 7th Lieutenant-Colonel Bell turned over the command of the Twelfth Tennessee Regiment to me, he being unable to perform his duties from wounds received the previous day. The regiment was very much fatigued from the labors of the previous day and from exposure and want of rest the night before, and the loss of their colonel, who had so gallantly led them the day before, had a great tendency to depress the men. We were ordered by our brigade commander to form in line of battle at an early hour in the morning. We had been formed but a short time when we discovered the enemy flanking us on the left. They opened on us with their batteries a most terrific and deadly fire, causing us to fall back out of the range of their guns. We formed again and were ordered to the support of General Bragg's command. We were led by our brigade commander and formed on the left of General Bragg's command and attacked the enemy. This engagement lasted for some time. The enemy being in strong force, we had to fall back.

In this engagement my horse was shot under me. We again formed and attacked the enemy still farther on their right, and found them in strong force behind temporary breastworks, and finding them hard to move, we were ordered to charge them. The Twelfth and Twenty-second Tennessee Regiments obeyed the order, made the charge, and drove the enemy from their breastworks.

After we had taken the breastworks we discovered that the enemy had flanked us on the left and commenced a cross-fire, causing us to fall back. We again formed and advanced still farther on the enemy's right. Here we again engaged the enemy, but, the men being exhausted and unable to fight, we had to fall back. We again formed near the church, and made several unsuccessful attempts to drive the enemy back. We were then marched off the field of battle to the encampment that we occupied on Friday night.

Colonel, allow me to say that the officers and men in my command behaved themselves gallantly and courageously throughout the whole engagement. It would be too tedious to mention all who deserve notice for their gallant conduct, but it is due our flag-bearer, Corporal Davis, to say that he held to his colors as long as a man would fight with him; also Private [A. T.] Fielder, who took charge of Companies B and G, which were left without a commissioned officer. He led these two companies all day in the thickest part of the battle. The casualties of both days will be given in a supplementary report.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.

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


Major, Commanding Twelfth Tennessee Regiment.

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

SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 1, Volume 10, Part 1, pages 424-425

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