Report of Brigadier General Alexander M. McCook, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, Army of the Ohio
HDQRS, SECOND DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Field of Shiloh, April 9, 1862
Capt. J. B. FRY,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chief of Staff
SIR: I have the honor herewith to report that on the
morning of the 6th instant, while on the march, at a point 12 miles from the
town of Savannah, Tenn., I received an order to hasten forward with my division,
with three days rations in haversacks and all my supply of ammunition. On
account of the condition of the roads and baggage trains it was impossible for
me to get more than two days' rations and the 40 rounds of cartridges in the
cartridge boxes of the men. I hastened forward, arriving at Savannah at 7 p.m.
on the 6th instant, with my entire division, except the Second Regiment of
Kentucky Cavalry, which was left to guard the baggage. After resting my men two
hours I marched to the river with General Rousseau's brigade, ordering the other
brigades and the artillery to follow immediately. Arriving at the steamboat
landing, I found no preparation made whatever to convey my division to this
battle-field. I ordered my staff aboard boats at the Landing, compelling the
captains to get out of their beds and prepare their boats for my use. I
succeeded in embarking General Rousseau's brigade. As boats arrived I pressed
them into service, and embarked the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois
Volunteers, belonging to Colonel Kirk's brigade, and left with it for the field,
leaving instructions at Savannah for the other potion of my division to follow
as rapidly as means of transportation was afforded.
Arriving at Pittsburg Landing at 5 o'clock a.m. on the 7th instant, finding General Rousseau's brigade disembarking, I marched forward to a point where I believed it would be of the most service. I there met General Buell, who directed me to form my line of battle with my left resting near General Crittenden's right and my right resting toward the north. I immediately formed this line with General Rousseau's brigade upon the ground designated, my right being without support. As soon as the remainder of Colonel Kirk's brigade arrived I placed his brigade in position as a reserve. When these arrangements were completed I ordered the line to cross a ravine and to take advantage of the high ground in front, having previously thrown two companies from each regiment of General Rousseau's brigade forward as skirmishers. The line became immediately engaged with a superior force of the enemy, the main attack being made on the right Knowing that my right had no support, I ordered Colonel Kirk's brigade, with the exception of Colonel Stumbaugh's Seventy-seventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, forward to take a position on the right of General Rousseau's brigade, with instructions to watch the enemy, and if they were attacked, to hold that ground at every hazard. In the mean time a portion of Colonel Gibson's brigade arrived, and I, still believing that the heaviest attack was being made on my right, ordered Colonel Willich's Thirty-second Regiment of Indiana Volunteers to form a line in the rear of the center, to be used as circumstances might require. The enemy's attack on the right and center was continuous and severe, but the steady valor of General Rousseau's brigade repulsed him. He was vigorously pursued for the distance of a mile, when he received large re-enforcements and rallied among the tents of a portion of General McClernand's division, from which it had been driven on the 6th instant. Here, supported by two pieces of artillery, which were lost the day before, the enemy made a desperate stand.
At this juncture Colonel Buckley's Fifth Regiment Kentucky Volunteers charged and captured the two guns in position, with four more of the same battery, partially disabled, which the enemy could not carry off. Here General Rousseau had the pleasure of retaking General McClernand's headquarters, and at this time it is supposed General A. S. Johnston fell, as his body was found on the outer edge of this encampment. The enemy fell back over an open field, and reformed in the skirt of the woods beyond. General Rousseau's brigade then advanced into the open field to engage him. The advance of my division had created a space between it and General Crittenden's, and the enemy began massing troops to take advantage of this gap in our line, made unavoidable by the attempt of the enemy to turn my right flank and his subsequent retreat. I immediately ordered Colonel to advance to the support of General Rousseau's left and to give the enemy the bayonet as soon as possible. His regiment filed through the lines of Colonel Kirk's brigade, which had been withdrawn from the right when the danger menacing that flank had passed, and advanced into a most withering fire of shell, canister, and musketry, which for a moment staggered it; but it was soon rallied, and for an account of the numerous conflicts and desperate charges this regiment made I refer you to Colonel Willich's report, transmitted herewith.
Being now satisfied that the enemy had changed his point of attack from the right to my extreme left, I ordered Colonel Stumbaugh's Seventy-seventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers to take up a position on my extreme left and repel the assault there being made. He immediately engaged them, and at this moment the contest along the whole line became terrible. Colonel Kirk's brigade was now ordered to engage, and he arrived precisely at the right moment, as the cartridges of General Rousseau's brigade were all expended. General Rousseau's brigade fell back through openings made in Colonel Kirk's ranks, and retired to the woods in the rear to be supplied with ammunition.
Three hours before, being convinced from the stubbornness with which the enemy was contending and the rapid discharges of my regiments that their 40 rounds of cartridges would soon be exhausted, I dispatched Lieutenant Campbell, my ordnance officer, for teams to bring up ammunition. He arrived at the opportune moment with three wagon loads. While General Rousseau's brigade was being supplied with ammunition, I ordered Colonel Gibson's brigade to engage on the left of Colonel Kirk's, where the enemy was still endeavoring to force his way. At this moment every available man was under fire, and the enemy seemed to increase in the vigor and the rapidity of his attack. Now the contest for a few moments became terrific. The enemy, to retake the ground and battery lost, advanced with a force of at least 10,000 men against my two brigades, and when he deployed in line of battle the fires from the contending ranks were two continuous sheets of flame. Here Major Levanway, commanding the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, was killed by a shell, and the regiment wavered for a moment, when Colonel Kirk, colonel of the regiment, but commanding the Fifth Brigade, seized a flag, rushed forward, and steadied the line again. While doing this he was severely wounded in the shoulder.
The enemy now began to turn the left of Colonel Gibson's brigade, when the Forty-ninth Ohio, by this disposition of the enemy, was compelled to change its front twice, which was done under a heavy fire. I am proud to say that this hazardous maneuver was performed with apparently as much steadiness as on parade.
As soon as General Rousseau's brigade received its ammunition it was again ordered into line, and I directed into action two regiments belonging to General Hurlbut's division, which had been lying in reserve on my left since morning. When these dispositions were made I ordered an advance of my whole command, which was made in gallant style. The enemy did not withstand the charge, but fled, leaving all of their wounded, and were pursued by my division beyond General Sherman's headquarters of the day before, where the pursuit was taken up by the cavalry and artillery. During the action I momentarily expected the arrival of Captain Terrill and his battery. I sent an aide-de-camp to conduct him to me, so that I could put him in position. The aide-de-camp, through mistake, took the road which led to General Nelson's right. Captain Terrill was there ordered by General Buell into position. This officer did not fight under my immediate supervision, but from his report, herewith appended, and the verbal acknowledgment to me of General Nelson, he fought his battery gallantly and judiciously, and I commend him and his officers to my superiors. Captain Terrill, on account of his strict attention to duty in the past and conspicuous gallantry in this terrible conflict, is worthy of any promotion that can be bestowed upon him. My other two batteries, Captains Stone's and Goodspeed's, did not arrive in time to participate in the conflict.
To the three brigade commanders---General Rousseau, Colonels Kirk and Gibson--the country is indebted for much of the success in this part of the field. General Rousseau led his brigade into action, and opened the conflict in this division in a most handsome and gallant style. He was ever to be seen watching the contest with a soldierly care and interest, which made him the admiration of the entire command. Colonel Kirk, who during the action was severely wounded in the shoulder, coolly and judiciously led his men under fire. He has been in command of the Fifth Brigade for some months, and much of its efficiency is due to the care and labor he bestowed upon it. I respectfully call your attention to his meritorious services upon this day.
Colonel Gibson, although temporarily in command of the Sixth Brigade, displayed great steadiness and judgment during the action. The maneuvers of his troops in the face of the enemy attest his skill and ability.
Colonel Stumbaugh, with the Seventy-seventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, early in the action being ordered to watch the enemy upon my lefty was at a later period ordered to engage. His regiment, partially isolated from the rest of the division, steadily moved over an open field in its front under a heavy fire. While here the enemy's cavalry charged this regiment twice, but were each time repulsed with heavy loss. Colonel Stumbaugh had the satisfaction of receiving the sword of Colonel Battle, of the Twentieth Tennessee, who surrendered to him as a prisoner. Lieutenant-Colonel Housum and Major Bradford ably seconded the efforts of Colonel Stumbaugh.
Colonel Bass, of the Thirtieth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, was wounded twice; which is the best evidence of his bearing and bravery. After Colonel Bass' last wound Lieutenant-Colonel Dodge, ably assisted by Major Hurd, took the command of the regiment. All three of these officers deserve the thanks of their State and country.
Lieutenant-Colonel Dunn, commanding the Twenty-ninth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, was marked by all for his coolness and bravery. Captain Bristol, of the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, who took command of the regiment after the death of Major Levanway, greatly distinguished himself during the day. Capt. S. T. Davis, of the Seventy-seventh Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, acting assistant adjutant-general of the Fifth Brigade; Captain Beehler and Lieutenant Dexter, of the Thirty-fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers (all upon Colonel Kirk's staff), were of great assistance to him during the engagement. I mention the names of the officers in the Fifth Brigade because the debility incident to Colonel Kirk's wound precludes the possibility of getting a report from him.
For the instances of individual bravery and gallantry in the Fourth and Sixth Brigades, where all were gallant, I refer you to the reports of General Rousseau and Colonel Gibson, transmitted herewith.
The bravery and steadiness of the officers and men under my command are worthy all praise, considering the circumstances surrounding them. The day before the battle they marched 22 miles; a portion of them stood all night in the streets of Savannah in a driving storm, without sleep; all the, way from Savannah the river banks were lined with fugitives in Federal uniform. At Pittsburg Landing the head of my column had to force its way through thousands of panic-stricken and wounded men before it could engage the enemy. I take pleasure in calling your attention to the conduct of Colonel Oliver and a portion of the Fifteenth Regiment of Michigan Volunteers. When my division was marching into the field Colonel Oliver, before unknown to me, requested the privilege of serving with my command. His regiment was attached to General Rousseau's brigade, and during the day was under the hottest fire, where he, his officers and men, behaved with conspicuous gallantry.
To the members of my staff, Capt. Daniel McCook, assistant adjutant-general; Lieuts. S. W. Davis, W. T. Hoblitzell, and W. F. Straub, aides-decamp; Lieut. J. A. Campbell, ordnance officer; Capt. Orris Blake, provost-marshal; Lieutenant Blake, assistant provost-marshal; Capt. J. D. Williams, assistant commissary of subsistence; Lieutenants Galbraith and Johnson, Signal Corps, and Acting Aide-de-Camp J.P. Collier, of Ohio, I return my grateful thanks. I commend them to my superiors for their gallantry in action and for the intelligent manner in which they conveyed and communicated my orders on the field of battle. Capt. J. F. Boyd, my ever-efficient division quartermaster, was absent in Savannah, superintending the embarkation of the troops.
I did not see Dr. Meylert, medical director, upon the field, but am informed he was assigned to a post of duty elsewhere.
Lieut. Col. E. A. Parrott, First Ohio Volunteers, my acting inspector-general, did not attend me as a staff officer, but joined and fought with his regiment, and for mention of his services I refer you to General Rousseau's report.
I am sorry that I was deprived upon this day of the services of Brig. Gen. R. W. Johnson, commanding the Sixth Brigade. Severe illness caused his absence from his command at Columbia, Tenn. The efficiency of the Sixth Brigade is very much due to his talents and abilities, and it is to be regretted that he did not have an opportunity upon this day to add new laurels to his military name.
My casualties during the conflict were 93 killed, 803 wounded, and 9 missing. The small number of the latter indicates the manner in which the division was held in hand. I herewith inclose a tabular statement of the killed and wounded and missing in each brigade.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. McD. McCOOK,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Second Division.
|Command.||Officers Killed||Enlisted Men Killed||Officers Wounded||Enlisted Men Wounded||Enlisted Men Missing||Aggregate|
|15th U.S. (battalion)||....||4||4||54||1||63|
|16th U. S. (battalion)||2||4||1||49||....||56|
|19th U. S. (battalion)||....||5||2||30||....||37|
|5th U.S. Artillery, Battery H||....||1||....||13||....||14|
Text Source - The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies
Image Source - The Library of Congress
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