Report of Brigadier General Thomas J. Churchill, C. S. Army, commanding Third Division.

 

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, ARMY OF KENTUCKY
Cynthiana, KY, September 8, 1862

Confederate Brigadier General Thomas ChurchillMaj. Gen. E. KIRBY SMITH


I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 30th ultimo, according to instructions, I moved my division, composed of the First and Second Brigades, commanded by Colonels McCray and McNair respectively up the road in the direction of Richmond. When I arrived in the neighborhood of Kingston I heard the artillery open on our right, showing that General Cleburne had met the enemy. It was now about 8 a.m. It was at this time that you arrived on the field and ordered me to hold one of my brigades in reserve while with the other I was to make a flank movement on the enemy's right. In accordance with these instructions I left Colonel McNair with his brigade as a reserve force, and proceeded with Colonel McCray's brigade (composed of Arkansas and Texas troops) to execute the movement on the enemy's flank, and by proceeding cautiously through a corn field and a ravine had almost perfected the move when the enemy, pressed by our threes on our right, commenced to give way, but after falling back some distance they formed in a skirt of timber, when my forces fired and charged upon them. Then for the first time discovering my position they commenced a precipitate retreat, but not before we had killed a great many and taken a large number of prisoners. I was again ordered to move up on the left with the same brigade, while General Cleburne was to move on the right. After proceeding some 2 miles in the direction of Richmond I found the entire force of the enemy, numbering 8,000 or 10,000, in a strong position on the left of the road, concealed by a corn field and a skirt of timber. I then sent word to General Cleburne to move up, that I was ready to engage the enemy. I then placed one section of Capt. [John T.] Humphreys' battery [Arkansas], under command of Lieutenant --------, on my right, within 200 yards of the enemy, to more effectually rake his lines. Before General Cleburne's division came up the fight had commenced in earnest. The fire of the enemy's artillery and musketry was most terrific, while we replied only with artillery. I then ordered my command to lie down, protected by a fence and ditch, and for full five minutes we did not fire a gun in response to their terrible fire. The enemy were at this time advancing in heavy force, and when they had arrived within less than 50 yards of my lines the order was given to rise, fire, and charge, which order was promptly and gallantly obeyed. The enemy could not withstand the desperate courage of my men, but still for a while they contested every inch of ground as they were driven from it, until finally, finding it impossible to check this gallant charge, they gave way in every direction. The victory was complete. The field was covered with the dead and wounded of the enemy, and some (though comparatively few) of the gallant sons of Arkansas and Texas fell martyrs to the cause of liberty. Here we captured a large number of prisoners, guns, and equipments of all kinds. In this charge one splendid rifle cannon was taken. This was perhaps the most severely-contested fight of the day.
Finding this brigade now worn down by incessant fighting, I ordered up Colonel McNair to follow in pursuit of the fleeing enemy. After pursuing them some 2 miles we found them again drawn up in line near the outskirts of Richmond, having collected their whole force for a last and final struggle. Here I took position on the right of the enemy's line. Soon my skirmishers engaged those of the enemy, which was soon followed by a general engagement of my forces. I was driving back the enemy's right wing when I heard firing on my right, showing that General Cleburne had engaged the enemy on their left. The engagement then became general along the entire line. For a time the contest was sharp and the rattle of musketry almost deafening, but again and for the third and last time the enemy fled in great confusion through the streets of Richmond as night closed upon our victorious arms.
I captured in this engagement a large amount of ordnance and ordnance stores, together with 400 or 500 prisoners.
I cannot speak too highly of the gallantry and coolness displayed by Colonels McNair and McCray throughout the entire day, and I have to thank them for the promptness and skill with which they executed all orders.
Of the two batteries in my division the one commanded by Capt. [James P.] Douglas [Texas] was ordered the evening previous to report to General Cleburne for orders. The other, commanded by Captain Humphreys, was with my division the whole day, and it gives me great pleasure to say that his pieces were handled with surprising skill and ability and did great execution in the ranks of the enemy.
My loss during the entire day in killed, wounded, and missing was 225. Before closing I must particularly mention for their daring, bravery, and gallant bearing on the battle-field the following members of my staff: Capt. B. S. Johnson, adjutant-general; Capt. B. F. Blackburn, inspector-general; Capt. John Rennick, volunteer aide; Captain [Eicon] Jones, Signal Corps, and Lieut. J. M. Rose, ordnance officer. These officers were ever seen bearing orders through the thickest of the fight and at times in the front of battle, cheering on my men to victory.
My division surgeon, Dr. C. H. Smith, in addition to his professional services upon the field to the wounded, rendered me many valuable services.
The officers and men of my entire division always met the enemy with unflinching gallantry and were the proud victors of every battle-field; and for the privations, hardships, and almost unequaled marches, all of which they have borne without a murmur, they deserve the thanks of their country.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
   


T. J. Churchill,
Brigadier-General, Comdg, Third Div., Army of Kentucky

 

 

Text Source - The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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