Col. David B. Hillis, Seventeenth Iowa Infantry, Second Brigade.
Before Vicksburg, Miss., May 24, 1863.


CAPTAIN: In compliance with Special Orders, No. 27, from your headquarters, I herewith submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment, Seventeenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in the battle of Champion's Hill, Miss., on the 16th instant:

I arrived in the vicinity of the hills on which the battle was being fought about 2 p.m., and without having time to rest my men (who had that day marched 12 miles through dust and a burning sun with knapsacks on their backs) was ordered forward at a double-quick. I established my line at a point midway up and on the north side of the bill, my right resting on the left of the Vicksburg road, in the rear of the Ninety-third Illinois (Colonel Putnam), which was severely pressed by the enemy's massed forces. In doing this my men suffered from the fire intended for the Ninety-third. As soon as my line was formed, Colonel Putnam moved his regiment out by the right flank, and left me fronting the enemy direct, some 40 or 50 yards only intervening. This position I held under a well-directed fire, which my gallant fellows returned with interest, for about fifteen minutes, when I ordered an advance, which was executed with a heroism that I am proud of. This caused the enemy to give way, but he soon rallied, and again gave way, and in this way I advanced, driving him slowly, inch by inch, from the ravines and ditches in which he had effected a lodgment, up one declivity and down another, and finally onto the summit of the ridge along which the road runs, and charged him down the slope on the other (south) side, retaking four pieces of artillery, [J. F.] Waddell's Alabama battery. This battery had been taken earlier in the engagement by the Eleventh Regiment Indiana Volunteers, but this splendid regiment had again to yield it, the enemy having massed his forces against it.

After this charge, I commanded a halt and rectified my line, which had been somewhat deranged. All being quiet at this moment on my front, I ran back a short distance to get a horse (mine having been shot early in the engagement), but, being overcome by excessive labor and heat, I fell by the way, and by the time I returned to my regiment, which was in a few minutes, it had made another gallant charge, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Wever, routing the Thirty-first Alabama Regiment.

In this charge a great many prisoners were taken, including the colors, color-bearer, and guard of that regiment, which colors are now in my possession. The enemy again rallied, but by this time the gallant Tenth Missouri was in position on my right, and we gave him two more charges, which put him in perfect rout. This then ended the fight, so far as we were concerned, and, I think, entirely. My regiment then, wearied and worn, with thinned ranks, rested on their arms until ordered into camp. It is worthy of note that in this engagement the regiment charged the enemy successfully five times, under the most galling fire from musketry and shell, and that over ravines and ditches that are very difficult of passage, and which afforded him excellent protection.

In conclusion, I feel that my command did their whole duty, and are worthy of all commendation. To my lieutenant-colonel (Wever) and adjutant (Woolsey) I am greatly indebted for their daring and assistance during the engagement. Both of these officers had their horses shot under them early in the fight.

I cannot forbear mentioning in this connection, specially for great bravery, First Lieut. C. W. Woodrow, Company K; Second Lieut. George W. Deal, Company G; Second Lieutenant Tower, Company B (whose gallantry resulted in the loss of his leg); First Sergeant [Evan E.] Swearngin, Company F, and Private [Albert G.] Trussel, Company G, who captured the colors and color-bearer of the Thirty-first Alabama. In the engagement I had but nine companies, one company (E) having been left back at Jackson on duty.

My loss in killed, wounded, &c., is 57 (25 per cent. of the number engaged), as per list of casualties, which I send with this report.(*) We captured 175 prisoners, mostly Alabama and Missouri troops.

Colonel, Commanding Seventeenth Iowa Volunteers.

A. A. A. G., 2d Brig., 7th Div.

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