Civil War Diary of Charles R. Allen
May 16, 1863.
We met the Confederate forces under Pemberton near Edwards Station [name changed back to Edwards shortly after war] and completely defeated them fighting the Battle of Champion Hill. Geníl Stevensonís brigade was on the right of the battle line. When Geníl J.A. Logan came up and gave Gen. S. the orders to charge the battery on the hill. I was the only mounted man besides himself in the brigade. I donít know where the staff was or where Charlie Currie was. I had been off duty for several days on account of getting my eye hurt but had got up to the front.
The Geníl rode up and said to me ďKeep close, I may need youĒ. ďAll rightĒ I says. The Inf. Col. asked me to help keep his men to the line. Our boys of the brigade went up the hill with a rush and cheer. They dropped around me pretty fast but I did not get hurt. The ground around the battery was covered with dead men and horses. When we reached the top of the hill our men lay down to get their breath and to get out of the way of canister and grape and shell from a Rebel battery in our front.
The Geníl gave me an order to take to the Col. of the 81st Ill. to charge across an open field in front of him and take a battery that was playing on him. I rode down along the hill as fast as my horse could run. Came to a deep and wide ditch that my horse failed to jump over and consequently I went over his head but struck on my feet. The Geníl saw me go down. He thought I was shot. He came riding up and enquired if I was hurt. I told him no but my horse was. He said take one out of the battery we had just taken.
What a time I had taking that horse out and transferring my equipments to the artillery horse. I think I got the only horse in the battery that was not wounded or killed. He was covered with blood and most scared to death by the noise and smell of blood. The Sergít in charge of the battery tried to help me some but the shells dropped around so close he gave it up and laid down with the Inf. the horse on the string behind of us was wounded and was surging and jumping to get loose. There were six horses on each gun. 3 of them on this gun were dead, 2 wounded. A shell dropped within about 10 feet of me and exploded. Donít know whether it killed anyone or not but is scared the Sergít so he would not help me. Well I finally got my horse saddled and mounted him and now the fun commenced. He was afraid of everything especially dead bodies.
Sometimes he would hit the high places on the ground bus most generally he was in the air. About this time Hoveyís Division [Brig. Gen. Alvin P. Hoveyís 12th Division, XIII Corps] came up on our left drove the Confeds off the ridge so that we commenced to move down off the ridge. C. Currie came up and Geníl Stevenson put him and I in the advance to draw the first fire.
The Battle of Champion Hill was over. Just ahead of us about 2 miles we could see the Confederate Army on the retreat. There was a R.R. station with 2 or 3 long trains on the tracks on fire. One train was ammunition. The shells were bursting and ammunition flying every which way. The fleeing Confeds seemed to give that train a wide berth. We took about 5000 prisoners, 36 pieces of artillery. That is the report. We do not know of course the exact figures. Rebels burnt the bridges across Black River so we will have to wait for pontoons when we get to the river. Our forces are now throwing bridges across Black River. Geníl Shermanís army corp. drove the Rebels across the river yesterday.
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