Col. Thomas M. Scott,
Twelfth Louisiana Infantry.
GENERAL: I have the honor to
report that on the 16th instant, about 1 p.m., I was detached from your
command, by order of Lieutenant-General Pemberton, to go to the right of
General Green's brigade (then engaged) and attack a Federal force then
attempting to turn General Green's right flank. Upon arriving on the
ground, I found General Green's brigade (or at leant the right of it)
retiring from the field in great confusion. I immediately formed my line
at right angles to the line occupied by General Green's forces, and
ordered my men forward. We were soon greeted with a heavy fire, which we
returned with spirit. I ordered my men to fire, advancing, which they
did with great steadiness and precision. I advanced to within 40 or 50
yards of a line of two regiments, when they retreated and formed on
another line of three regiments posted in a strong position on the crest
of the hill. They all soon opened a heavy fire on me, when, finding that
the contest was too unequal, I determined to try cold steel. I caused
the firing to cease, bayonets to be fixed, and ordered my men to make a
steady advance in line without yelling, that they might hear my
commands; and never was an order more implicitly obeyed. We charged the
entire brigade and caused them to flee in great confusion. I held the
ground until ordered by you to join the brigade.
I did not consider it prudent to pursue the enemy, as a heavy line was advancing on my left flank--the same force that General Green had engaged. The sharpshooters had commenced firing on me from the left flank, when I changed front to rear on my first company, intending to fight the enemy if pursued. They did not move on me at all, so I joined your brigade without any further engagement, bringing my wounded to a field hospital which afterwards fell into the hands of the enemy.
You allowed me to rest my men some fifteen or twenty minutes, after which I moved at the head of the brigade in the direction of Edwards Depot. We had not proceeded more than three-fourths of a mile when I heard firing in the rear. You ordered me to form a line at right angles to the road, in an excellent position, and the remainder of the brigade retired to the rear of my line. They were hotly pressed by a force of the enemy's cavalry, preceded by dismounted skirmishers. I had my men concealed behind the crest of the hill, and allowed them to come within range, when I fired by rank upon them with great effect, causing them to retire precipitately.
I was now ordered by you to proceed to the main road leading to Edwards Depot, and take a good position, and hold it until you arrived with the brigade. I selected, but did not occupy, the position, as Major-General Stevenson ordered me to push on and cross Baker's Creek, some half a mile west of me. Upon arriving with my command at the creek I found General Stevenson, who told me that it was impossible to reach Edwards Depot, as it was in possession of the enemy, and that my command would have to pass under a heavy fire from the enemy's batteries, then shelling us, but over-shooting, and ordered me to join my brigade. I had proceeded but a few yards when he called to me to push through, as he had just heard that the enemy had not possession of Edwards Depot. I immediately started for that point, crossed Baker's Creek, and went half a mile in good range and under heavy fire of at least six pieces of the enemy's artillery; but they over-shot us invariably, not one shot taking effect. After going from three-fourths to 1 mile west of Baker's Creek, I was overtaken by a courier from you ordering me to join the brigade immediately. I retraced my steps under a fire of several pieces of artillery. The enemy also opened a battery in the direction of Edwards Depot, and were moving a heavy column of infantry toward the bridge. The skirmishers commenced firing upon our stragglers immediately in the rear of my regiment. This was after sunset. My regiment was the last command to cross Baker's Creek, and no other could have crossed without heavy fighting under disadvantages, as the enemy held the hills commanding the crossing, with a heavy force within supporting distance between Edwards Depot and Baker's Creek. I found your brigade moving to the south. I joined it some three-fourths of a mile from the creek. With its future movements you are familiar.
I cannot close, general, without paying a just tribute to the gallantry and unflinching courage of my officers and men. Where all did well special attention was only attracted by those holding conspicuous positions. Among these deserving honorable mention are Lieut. Col. Noel L. Nelson, Maj. Thomas C. Standifer, Sergt. Maj. H. Brunner, and Color-Sergt. Eli Cole.
I am, sir, very respectfully,
THOS. M. SCOTT,
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