Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 16.djvu/309
- Jt.iftfe of ShiM,." 303
enemy's main camp, where we rejoined Colonel Looney with 1m regiment. * * The charge made on the enemy's battery, in which the Eighteenth regiment suffered so severely, was not in accordance with my judgment. * I was alone (in the quarter of Owl Creek), without anything to support my own rear or the left of the general line, and therefore felt it my duty to take any step with extreme cau- tion, and to keep my force in hand to hold Owl Creek against any and every contingency.
"When night came," as he goes on to state, he found himself " considerably in advance of our general front, and so fell back with- out orders," be it noted, from his corps commander, and "slept within a mile of the river, and four hundred yards of the Federal line." (Ibid, page 518.)
It is to be noted that the Eighteenth Louisiana lost two hundred and seven officers and men either killed or wounded in this ill-judged charge. This brigade was not in the quarter of the field with Gene- ral Bragg, and I refer to the reports of Colonel Pond, Colonel Mon- ton, Major Gober (Sixteenth Louisiana), Colonel Marshall]. Smith and Colonel Looney, Thirty eighth Tennessee, chiefly to show that no order reached them to retire, and that, up to the very edge of night, they were being employed on the Confederate left by orders of General Hardee in desultory, resultless, though bloody conflicts. Colonel Fagan, of Gibson's brigade, writing as early as the 91 h of April, states :
" It was late in the afternoon when the enemy was repulsed, and was followed in the direction of the river (after the capture of Pren- tiss). That night we slept in the enemy's tents, worn with fatigue, decimated in numbers, but elated that such a hard-fought day had such a glorious close." (Ibid, page 488.)
Evidently Colonel Fagan had not heard of the " Lost opportu- nity " when he wrote, nor had Colonel H. W. Allen at the date of his report of April loth, neither had Captain Dubroca (of the Thir- teenth Louisiana), who commanded the regiment at the close of the action. Colonel Hodge, of the Nineteenth Louisiana (Gibson's brigade), is thus specific as to the lateness of the hour :
" After the enemy were driven from this stronghold (which Pren- tiss and Wallace had held), we, with several brigades, moved towards the river. It was then nigh sunset. In accordance with your order (Gibson's) we commenced falling back about dusk, and being sepa- rated from the brigade, I conducted the regiment to the camp of the enemy, where I had established a temporary hospital during the day.