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Report of Col. David Moore, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry,
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, SECOND DIVISION,
Lieut. JAMES B. COMSTOCK,
LIEUTENANT : I have the honor herewith to report the following as the part taken by the First Brigade in the battle of the 15th and 16th instant, before Nashville, Tenn.:
On the morning of the 15th instant, agreeable to orders, the brigade marched out in front of our works and formed line of battle in the center of the division, the Third Brigade on my right, and the Second Brigade on my left. About 10 a.m. we advanced in line with the division, having thrown a strong line of skirmishers to the front. We advanced steadily, our skirmishers soon coming in contact with those of the enemy, and driving them steadily backward until our line reached a large house, about a mile from the place of starting. Artillery was moved forward and put in position on the right of my brigade. The One hundreth and nineteenth Illinois Infantry was posted on the right of and supporting the artillery. This regiment, with the Eighty-ninth Indiana and One hundred and twenty-second Illinois, formed the front line, while the Twenty-first Missouri was placed a short distance in the rear as a reserve. A heavy artillery fire was opened from the Ninth Indiana Battery and the Second Illinois, Battery G, upon the enemy in our front, the men being ordered to lie down in the ravine. Late in the afternoon we again advanced in line witht the division, our shirmishers going up close to the enemy, and the artillery continued to play with effect upon the enemy until about 5 p.m., when the enemy fled, the skirmishers of the One hundered and twenty-second Illinois capturing one battle-flag. The enemy having fled from their position, we were ordered to go into camp for the night.
In the morning of the 16th we advanced with the division, our skirmishers soon coming in contact with those of the enemy. We moved forward by order, and took position on the left of the division near some works which the enemy had abandoned. The Ninth Indiana Battery being near the center of my brigade, was moved forward to a house on the crest of a hill, from which position the opened a terrific cannonade upon the enemy's lines, which was continued for several hours. The officers and men of that battery displayed the greatest coolness and courage during the conflict, although often subjected to the most terrific fire of shot and shell from the enemy's batteries. I would here call your especial attention to Lieut. Samuel G. Calfee, who was in command of the Ninth Battery, as a most worthy, brave,and efficient officer. About 4 p.m. a charge was ordered, and to bring my brigade into proper position it was necessary to descrie a half wheel to the right. This was quickly done - the One hundred and nineteenth Illinois on the right, the Eighty-ninth Indiana in the center, and the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois on the left, and the Twenty-first Missouri in reserve. When the command was given to charge, the men, with a cheer which rent the heavens, precipitated themselves upon the enemy's batteries and intrenchments, receiving a heavy fire of shot and shell from the front and at the same tine a heavy cross-fire front the enemy's works on my left. As the brigade neared the line of works the firing for a few moments was very heavy, but the enemy soon broke and fled in wild confusion, leaving behind him his batteries and many of his men in our hands. Colonel Kinney of the One hundred and nineteenth Illinois, following the retreating enemy, captured prisoners at every step, and finally overtook and captured one 10-pounder Parrott gun, one Rodman, two Napoleons, and two 12-pound howitzers. The Eighty-ninth Indiana and One hundred and twenty-second charged to the left after crossing the breast-works, following the stream of fugitives, overtaking and capturing many prisoners, also two Napoleon guns, with horses and equipment complete. Two guns (Napoleons) of the battery which was firing upon our lines from the front were captured by the brigade in the first part of the charge. The brigade captured near the foot of the hill one major-general (E. Johnson). He was captured by Private John Wagner, Company H, and Private H. Daugherty, Company C, One hundred and nineteenth Illinois, and William Cully, Company H, Eight-ninth Indiana. He was taken to the rear by the two men last named and delivered to Captain Whitaker, of the One hundred and seventeenth Illinois. These men also captured at the same time General Johnson's private papers and headquarters records, as well as the headquarters wagons and ambulances. The brigade captured in this charge, 1 Parrott gun, 1 Rodman, 6 Napoleons, and 2 howitzers, 13 wagons, 3 ambulences, 15 caissons amd limbers, and near 400 prisoners, among whom were the major-general above named and Colonel Voofhies, of the Forty-eighth Tennessee, also a large number of other officers.
Col. Thomas J. Kinney, commanding One hundred and nineteenth Illinois, is a brave and gallant officer, and well deserves the confidence of all. His officers and men acquitted themselves with great credit. Lieut. Col. Hervey Craven, commanding Eighty-ninth Indiana, is cool, courageous, and prompt, and, in common with all his officers and men, displayed the greatest gallantry during the engagement. Lieut. Col. James F. Drish, commanding the One hundred and twoenty-second Illinois, with commendable energy and unflinching courage, led his gallant regiment on to the charge in a style unsurpassed, creditable alike to him and them. Lieut. Col. Edwin Moore, comanding Twenty-first Missouri, did not participate in the charge, his regiment being held in reserve. To speak of individual instances of personal bravery would require too much time, or do injustice by naming some and leaving others unnoticed; suffice it to say, all did their duty fearlessly, nobly, and well.
I cannot say precisely how many prisoners were captured by my brigage, for the reason that they were sent back in squads as fast as captured and delivered to the first officer who could be found in charge of Prisoners. But of the capture of the artillery, wagons, &e., and also Major-General Johnson, I have positive proof. The number of prisoners will not fall far short of 400.
I would call your especial attention to the officers of my personal staff. Lieut. Samuel D. Sawyer, acting assistant adjutant-general, who charged with the command and had his horse killed under him but was immediately remounted, and rendered me most important service in directing the movements of the troops. I would recommend him as a brave and gallant officer and one worthy of promotion.Lieut. John J. Chubb also charged forward with the command with great coolness and courage. He is a gallant and efficient officer, deserving of promotion. Lieutenant Converse was so unwell as to be unable to participate in the charge. The horses of nearly all my staff officers were killed during the engagement, the horse of Lieutenant Converse having been killed the first day.
The engagement resulted in the total rout of the enemy, and a complete and glorious victory for Union and liberty.
To the officers and men of my command I tender my profound thanks; I am proud of them and their achievements. To the commanding general I tender my acknowledgments; I am proud to be commanded by him.
I am, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obediant servant,
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Series I, Volume 45 (part 1) page 475-477; NO. 160
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