Report of Brig. Gen. Seth M. Barton, C. S. Army, commanding First Brigade.
MAY 16, 1863.--Battle of Champion's Hill, or Baker's Creek, Miss.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]
HDQRS. 1ST BRIG., STEVENSON'S DIV., Vicksburg, June 18, 1863.
Maj. J. J. REEVE,
MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part borne by this brigade in the action of the 16th ultimo:
I was directed early in the day to detach a regiment and section of artillery to hold the bridge over Baker's Creek, some 2 miles to the left and rear on the line of march. [Col. R. J.] Henderson's Forty-second Georgia and Lieutenant [A. M.] Sharkey s section of Company A, First Mississippi Artillery, were selected and posted.
The remainder of the brigade remained inactive, save an occasional change of position, till near noon, when it was ordered to the left, to support General [S. D.] Lee, then pressed. The distance (about 1½ miles) was passed at double-quick, troops formed in line of battle on Lee's left, and advanced as rapidly as the nature of the ground would admit. [M. V. D.] Corput's battery (four rifles) was posted near the road, about 600 yards from the bridge, my left resting on it and my right on Lee's left. The position was not a good one; the country much broken and covered in most part with dense woods. The enemy having turned Lee's left flank, were already in the timber, pressing vigorously forward. With impetuous gallantry the Fortieth, Forty-first, and Forty-third Georgia Regiments dashed upon the enemy's line, broke it, and drove it back about 300 yards. It was here re-enforced by his second and third lines, and my farther advance was checked. I had reserved the Fifty-second Georgia on the left to protect that flank; it was now moved up rapidly, and in handsome style engaged a brigade that was turning the left. The troops on the right now gave way, and my right flank was soon turned and overwhelmed. The left was in like manner enveloped and a heavy fire poured in from the rear. Having vainly endeavored to cover the left with the Forty-second Regiment, brought forward for the purpose, I was compelled to fall back. The enemy had so nearly surrounded the whole brigade that this movement was necessarily accompanied with some confusion. The Fortieth and Forty-second Regiments, however, came out with unbroken ranks. The brigade had been terribly handled.
Corput's battery, posted near the road on the left, was beautifully served. Its horses and many men were killed; and, finding it impossible to save the guns, they were fired with double canister to the last, and abandoned only when they could be no longer used.
I retired across Baker's Creek, posting the few troops remaining so as to command the bridge, and held that position till all had crossed at the ford below, about 4 p.m. I then fell back to Edwards Depot (2 miles), and covered the approach to that place till dark. The enemy, who crossed immediately on our withdrawal from the bridge, followed and attacked at this place, but failed to dislodge us. All of our troops having passed, and all property at the depot [having been] removed or destroyed, I took up the line of march at nightfall, and joined the army at Big Black Bridge at 1 a.m. on the 17th.
I take pleasure in naming the following officers for marked and distinguished gallantry: Colonels [Skidmore] Harris, Forty-third (wounded and a prisoner); [William E.] Curtiss, Forty-first; [C. D.] Phillips, Fifty-second (missing); Henderson, Forty-second; [Abda] Johnson, Fortieth (sick and unable to command, but present and cheering his men); Lieutenant-Colonel [Robert M.] Young, commanding Fortieth Georgia; Majors [Raleigh S.] Camp, Fortieth; [William H.] Hulsey, Forty-second; [M. S.] Nall, Forty-first; Captain [Max Van D.] Corput, Capt. J. W. Johnston, and Lieutenant Sharkey, of the artillery; Captain [A. C.] Thom, my assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant [T. B.] Lyons, aide-de-camp; R. F. Patterson, W. Norcom, and C. L. Thompson, acting aides-de-camp.
The heavy loss of the brigade (over 42 per cent.) is the best evidence I can give of the good behavior of the men.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. M. BARTON,
This page last updated 10/28/01
RETURN TO BATTLE OF CHAMPION'S HILL OFFICIAL RECORDS PAGE