Col. Holden Putnam, Ninety-third Illinois Infantry,
commanding Third Brigade
CAPTAIN: Pursuant to Special Orders, No. 85, Headquarters Seventh Division, dated May 24, 1863, please find inclosed copy of report of Colonel Boomer,(+) forwarded at Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black, May 4.
May 9, this brigade was ordered to march, and moved on with the division through Rocky Springs ; also, on the 10th, through Utica, and on the 11th moved but 2 miles on the road toward Raymond.
On the 12th, hearing firing in front, we pushed forward
rapidly, and upon coming to the ground was ordered to remain in reserve,
and deployed into line at 5 p.m. on the west side of the road, in good
position, supporting two batteries there in position. At 7 p.m. was
again ordered forward to Raymond: and went into position on the
southwest side of the town.
On the 14th, was again ordered to move, and at 11 a.m. was ordered into position on the left of the line of this division, formed in two lines, the Fifth Iowa on the right in the first line, and the Ninety-third Illinois on the left, supported by the Tenth Iowa, and the Twenty-sixth Missouri supporting the Fifth Iowa. The aggregate effective force of the brigade was then 1,700 men, in round numbers. Deployed one company of the Ninety-third Illinois Infantry on the left and front as skirmishers, and moved forward as ordered, receiving a scattering volley from the enemy, who were immediately routed by our skirmishers and fled in confusion. Having advanced about one-half a mile, we were ordered to halt. Our skirmishers here brought in a few prisoners and passed them to the rear. Resting about fifteen minutes, we were again ordered forward, and pushed on steadily into the city by 3 p.m., with out delivering our fire, the line being gradually wheeled to the right as we moved, crossing the railroad track, and the entire brigade line, flanking the enemy's earthworks, was halted, with the right resting upon the railroad depot. Was ordered to bivouac on the north side of the railroad.
The loss in this engagement was 3 killed and 4 wounded in the Ninety-third Illinois, and 4 wounded in the Fifth Iowa.
The command, being entirely out of provisions, was ordered to forage in the town, and procure three days' subsistence that night.
On the 15th, was again ordered to march. Turning backward, the brigade was marched 4 miles west of Clinton, on the Vicksburg road. Thence, on the 16th, we pushed steadily onward until 12 m. Was ordered into position by the division commander on the south side of the road at Champion's Hill and in the rear of General Hovey's division, then fiercely engaged with the enemy. We moved steadily forward in two lines about 700 yards, when orders were received to halt, and move by the right flank across the main road to the balance of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which was being done when the orders were again countermanded, and Colonel Lagow, of Major-General Grant's staff'. brought orders from General Grant for us to move instantly to the support of General Hovey's division, then being forced back by a superior force of the enemy. This brigade was instantly faced about, and moved by the left flank, double-quick, up the hill, through a scorching fire, the Ninety-third Illinois being in advance, followed by the Tenth Iowa, Twenty-sixth Missouri, and Fifth Iowa. Pushing forward until the whole line was on the summit of the ridge, the brigade was ordered to move by the right flank and commence firing, which was done steadily, the Ninety-third Illinois and Tenth Iowa moving down into the hollow, and, having the men of General Hovey's division constantly passing through their ranks, became exposed to the murderous fire from the left flank, which was turned by the enemy. They fell back slowly to the brow of the hill, near the position first taken, and held it, pouring in their fire until their cartridges were exhausted and they were relieved by the Seventeenth Iowa.
The enemy by this time being checked, were breaking and commenced their retreat. The Twenty-sixth Missouri, upon being faced to the front, commenced firing. They, being in plain view of the enemy, were also exposed to the flanking fire, and were ordered to change front to the rear on first company, which was done steadily, and gave the regiment a position somewhat sheltered by a gully in the side of the hill, from which they kept up a constant fire upon the enemy, materially aiding the two regiments of our left in checking them. Their position again becoming exposed to a flank fire, they were ordered to fall back under the crest of the hill, a few yards distant, again changing front, which position they held until their cartridges were exhausted and they were ordered to the rear for ammunition, and formed on the right of the Ninety-third Illinois and Tenth Iowa. The Fifth Iowa, upon facing to the front, charged down the hill and up to the crest of the next one beyond, from which position they poured in a constant fire at short range on the faltering battalions of the enemy, when Lieutenant-Colonel Sampson, commanding the regiment, observing that our left was being turned by the enemy, ordered his regiment to fall back to the crest of the next ridge, which position he maintained until the close of the action; then withdrew and took up position on the left of the brigade, replenishing cartridges. Our loss in this action was very severe.
O Officers. A Aggregate M Enlisted Men.
The officers and men of this command all behaved with
extraordinary coolness and courage under circumstances the most trying.
I cannot, therefore, consistently mention the names of one before
another, but was greatly indebted to all the regimental commanders for
their assistance in this terrible ordeal. We took 150 prisoners from the
enemy and turned them over to the provost-marshal. At 6 p.m., the enemy
being routed, we again moved forward 3 miles and halted for the night.
Capt. ROBERT C. CROWELL,
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