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Report of Lieut. Col. Joseph G. Best, Twenty-first Missouri Infantry
HDQRS. TWENTY-FIRST MISSOURI VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
COLONEL Samuel P. Simpson,
COLONEL : In compliance with your request, I have the honor to make the following report of operations of this regiment from the 1st day of January to the present day:
On the 1st day of January the regiment, then a portion of the 1st Brig., 2d Div., detachment Army of the Tennessee, (Major General A.J. Smith commanding) was marching in pursuit of the rebel General Hood's army, on the road leading from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee to Clifton, Tennessee; arrived at Clifton on the 2d of January, it embarked on a steamer en route for Eastport, Mississippi, where it arrived and went into camp on the 7th day of January. On the 1st day of February, two companies, G and H of the 24th Missouri Infantry, volunteers, was consolidated into the regiment. On the 5th of February, one company, Company A, was detached for provost duty at the headquarters detachment of the Army of the Tennessee. Remained in camp at Eastport, performing usual routine of picket and guard duty, until February 9, when it embarked on board a transport, en route for New Orleans, Louisisana, where it arrived February 21; disembarked and went into camp February 22. The designation of the Army of the Tennessee was there changed to 16th Army Corps. The regiment was here detailed to guard the transportation of the 2d Division, 16th Army Corps and remained until March the 22d, when one company, Company B, was left in charge of the transportation, and the regiment proceded per steamer to join the army on the west side of Fish River, Alabama, near its mouth, at which place it arrived and went into camp with the army on the 24th day of March. On the 25th and 26th of March, it moved with the army to tithin three miles of Spanish Fort, where the 2d Division, 16th Army Corps, threw up fortifications facing the rear. Remained there until April 3d, when the division moved to and began operation against Fort Blakely, Alabama. It took part in many skirmishes in the approach and siege of Fort Blakely, and lost several men killed and wounded, and on the 9th of April did their whole duty in the charge on and capture of the fortifications and their rebel defenders.
In the capture of that place two of the color bearers were killed, but the colors were sucessfully planted on the works before that of any of the many others that were fully as anxious as the 21st to have their flag first. The loss of the regiment was about equal to that of the whole brigade, it being on the extreme left of the army, which was not equal to the front of the enemy's works, causing a cross fire of artillery and musketry to be given it from the enemy's right; after the capture of the fort the regiment marched about 472 miles to brigade headquarters, having in charge and reporting over five hundred rebel prisoners, officers and enlisted men, among with two rebel generals.
On the 13th of April it started with the 16th Corps on the march for Montgomery, Alabama, at which place it arrived on the 27th of April, and went into camp about two miles northeast of the city. On the 19th day of May, Company B joined the regiment from New Orleans, where it had been detached to guard the transportation of the division. The regiment remained in camp near Montgomery until June the 1st, when it started on the march with the brigade to Providence Landing, on the Alabama river; arriving at Providence June 4, embarked on steamer enroute for Mobile, Alabama, where it arrived and went into camp near the city.
Since that time it has been doing duty in the district of Mobile, with headquarters in the city. Companies are serving at different places in the district irregularly, the companies and stations having been changed frequently, excepting Company A, which remained on duty at the headquarters 16th Army Corps until July, when it rejoined the regiment at Mobile, Alabama. The regiment at present is serving as follows, with headquarters at Mobile: Companies A, C, D, E, F, and G doing duty in the city of Mobile, Company B at Sparta, Alabama, Company H at St. Stephens, Alabama, Company I at Claiborne, Alabama. The duty performed by the regiment in the city is very hard, requiring the men to go on duty every other day.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOSEPH G. BEST
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Series I, Volume 49 (part 1) page 254; No. 58 and the Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri for 1865.
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