Lieut. Col. William P. Davis, Twenty-third Indiana Infantry
IN REAR OF VICKSBURG, MISS.
June 4, 1863.

 

SIR I have the honor to submit the' following report of the part taken by the Twenty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteers in the battles of Raymond, Champion's Hill, Jackson, and Vicksburg, up to the present date:

BATTLE OF RAYMOND

At 11 o'clock a.m. of May 12, the Twenty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteers was ordered to take position upon the right of the main road, on the right of the brigade. Having taken this position, we moved forward in line of battle, across open fields, to the edge of some timber, distant about half a mile. The regiment was here halted for a few moments, and was then ordered to move by the right flank into the timber, my left resting on the edge of the field. This position being taken, it was then moved forward in line of battle, Company G being thrown out as skirmishers in front and upon the right flank, with instructions to keep constantly in sight of the regiment. I reached a creek, which was almost impassable, the banks being nearly perpendicular, and covered with dense undergrowth. With much difficulty the regiment crossed it and moved forward a short distance. I halted about 50 yards from the base of a hill in my front, when, not seeing the balance of the line upon my left, I immediately sent to ascertain its position.

At this time I received your order for the skirmishers to be thrown farther to the right. While this was being executed, we were attacked upon our right and front by the enemy in column, consisting of four lines. Owing to the denseness of the thicket, our skirmishers were advanced but a short distance before the enemy was upon them, advancing rapidly down the hill in our front. They opened fire from each line in succession, and at the same time that portion on our right fired a volley and charged. Upon our first discovery of them, we opened fire and continued until they were within bayonet reach. Not having time to fix our bayonets, we attempted to beat them back with our muskets, but, being overpowered by numbers, we were obliged to fall back, which we did in good order, to the creek. Here the same difficulty occurred as before in crossing. Upon regaining the opposite bank, and finding it difficult to form my line, I moved out of the woods and formed on the Twentieth Illinois regiment, which was occupying a position in the edge of the field, and upon which we had previously formed our line. We remained in this position, sustaining a heavy fire, for about one and a half hours, when the enemy began to fall back.

At this time a portion of the Third Brigade took position on our right and charged, we joining them in it, the enemy hastily leaving the field. Soon after, and while the enemy were retreating on the right-hand road, a section of Rogers' battery was ordered forward to fire upon them. The regiment was then ordered to a position in a skirt of timber on the left of and to support the artillery, and resting upon the left-hand road. The brigade being shortly afterward formed into column by regiments, my command took its proper position and marched into Raymond, where it camped for the night.

BATTLE OF JACKSON

At about 9 a.m. May 14, we reached the scene of action, which was about 3 miles from Jackson, upon the Vicksburg Jackson road. Soon after our arrival, the brigade was formed into column by regiments, the Twenty-third Indiana being on the right, in rear of and acting as a support to the Seventh Division. The enemy having been routed by the Seventh Division, we were ordered in pursuit upon the Canton road, but had only proceeded a short distance when the order was countermanded, and we bivouacked at 8 p.m. near the Deaf and Dumb Asylum.

BATTLE OF CHAMPION'S HILL

About 12 m. May 16, I received your order to move to the right of the main road, and take a position about a quarter of a mile distant in open ground, the remaining regiments of the brigade forming column in my rear. As soon as they obtained their positions, we moved forward a short distance and were halted. I then threw out as skirmishers my right company. As soon as they were in position, I received your order to move forward by change of direction to the right, one fourth wheel, then forward. Passing through a hollow, we were halted on the side of an opposite hill, in order to fix bayonets. I soon received orders to advance my regiment and take position on the right of the Forty-fifth Illinois Regiment, which was supporting Captain Rogers' battery, which was posted upon the brow of the hill. This position being greatly exposed, we moved forward over the hill into timber, descending into a ravine and to the brow of a hill opposite, about 400 yards distant. Here we found the enemy in force, and evidently preparing to advance. We immediately opened fire upon him, and kept it up for nearly two hours, when he commenced falling back. We were immediately ordered forward over this hill, across a ravine, and to the top of another rise in our front. Here we remained, keeping up a constant fire for about an hour, when the enemy retreated from the field in confusion, and soon afterward, by your order, I moved a short distance to the left and took my position in the brigade, which was formed in double lines. After resting here a short time, the brigade was ordered forward upon the main road, arriving at a point near Baker's Creek. About 3 miles from Edwards Station we bivouacked for the night.

[portions related to Siege of Vicksburg not included]


WILLIAM P. DAVIS,
Lieutenant-Colonel.


Lieut. S. M. BUDLONG,
Assistant Adjutant-General.


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