The following is a report made by ROBT. B. MITCHELL, Brigadier-General, Commanding
HDQRS. NINTH DIVISION, ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Goodnight Spring, 2½ miles from Perryville, Ky., October 9, 1862.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Ninth Division in the engagement of the 7th and 8th instant, near Perryville, Ky.:
Upon the arrival of my column, about 2 p.m. of the 7th, at a point on the Springfield and Perryville turnpike about 5 miles from Perryville, I formed my brigades, under the direction of General Buell, on the right and left of the road,, with the batteries in position and the men under cover. The Eighth Kansas, Lieutenant-Colonel Martin, and the Thirty-fifth Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler, were advanced to the front in rear of a section of Captain Pinney's Fifth Wisconsin Battery, which, with the cavalry advance, had come upon the rebel outposts, and was then engaging a battery of the enemy. A little before sunset these regiments were advanced to the front of the battery and engaged the enemy till dark, when they fell back to their former position. The Eighty-first Indiana Volunteers, Major Woodbury, and Twenty-fifth Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel McClelland, were thrown out as pickets upon the left and front.
At daylight on the morning of the 8th I sent forward a section of Captain Hotchkiss' Second Minnesota Battery to relieve the section of Captain Pinney's battery, which, under Lieutenant Hill, did such brilliant work the day before.
At 2 p.m. of the 8th, in obedience to orders received from Major-General Gilbert, commanding corps, I advanced my division on the road to a point designated by General Gilbert, where I formed my brigades as follows:
The Thirtieth Brigade, Colonel Gooding, Twenty-second Indiana Volunteers, commanding, composed of the Twenty-second Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Keith; Fifty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, Maj. J. C. Winters; Seventy-fourth and Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteers, commanded respectively by Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr and Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, and the Fifth Wisconsin Battery, Capt. O. F. Pinney, on the left of the road. The Thirty-first Brigade, Colonel Carlin, Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, commanding, composed of the Twenty-first and Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers, commanded respectively by Colonel Alexander and Major Gilmer; the Fifteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Heg; the One hundred and first Ohio Volunteers, Colonel Stem, and two sections of Captain Hotchkiss' Second Minnesota Battery, commanded by Lieutenant Dawley (Captain Hotchkiss, with one section, being engaged with General McCook on the left), I formed on the right of the road, on a wooded eminence, the men under cover, this brigade being in rear and within supporting distance of General Sheridan's division, which was then engaging the enemy in front. The Thirty-second Brigade, Colonel Caldwell, Eighty-first Indiana Volunteers, commanding, was formed in rear of the Thirty-first Brigade, Colonel Caldwell's brigade comprising the following regiments and battery: Twenty-fifth and Thirty-fifth Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonels McClelland and Chandler; the Eighth Kansas, Lieutenant-Colonel Martin; the Eighty-first Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Timberlake, and the Eighth Wisconsin Battery, Captain Carpenter.
Almost immediately upon the formation of my lines the enemy appeared, advancing in force upon the right of Colonel Carlin's line, with the evident intention of charging upon his battery, which was upon his extreme right. I directed him to open fire upon them as soon as he could do so effectually, but they retired under cover at the advance of Colonel Carlin's skirmishers.
At this time I received a message from General Sheridan, stating that he was hardly pressed on his right and front and needed re-enforcements. I ordered Colonel Carlin to advance with his brigade rapidly to General Sheridan's right and aid his division. Colonel Carlin immediately advanced, leading his brigade through a skirt of timber to the open field on the right, and upon ascending the brow of the hill discovered the enemy rapidly advancing in great force upon General Sheridan's right. Colonel Carlin immediately formed his brigade, and at the double-quick charged upon the enemy, who after a moment's stand gave way to the impetuosity of the charge, and breaking in disorder ran precipitately to and through the town of Perryville a distance of nearly 2 miles. Colonel Carlin pressed them closely till they reached the bluff on the other side and formed under the protection of two batteries, which were in position there. The gallant Carlin charged with his brigade through the enemy's lines, completely piercing their center; but finding his ardor had outstripped all support, and having the enemy's artillery and infantry on both flanks, he fell back during the confusion of the enemy to a position immediately adjoining the town, and placed his battery in position on the west side of the town, the rebel batteries and our own firing directly over the town till darkness made further action impossible. This charge gave the officers and men of the Thirty-first Brigade a splendid opportunity to evince the intrepid, gallant, and soldierly qualities which the occasion showed they possessed. The manner in which they stood the subsequent severe artillery fire was worthy of high praise. In Colonel Carlin's advance the Thirty-eighth Illinois Volunteers overtook and captured on the edge of the town a heavily loaded ammunition train of 15 wagons, 2 caissons, with their horses, belonging to the Washington Light Artillery, and the train guard of 138 men, with 3 officers. Major Gilmer, Thirty-eighth Illinois, deserves great credit for the skill and activity he displayed in this capture.
The Thirty-second Brigade, Colonel Caldwell, was advanced at different times to the positions vacated by Colonel Carlin. The officers and men of this brigade did not have the opportunity to gratify the desire for a chance at the enemy that their looks, language, and actions showed they possessed.
At the time Colonel Carlin's brigade advanced Colonel Gooding, Thirtieth Brigade, was ordered by General Gilbert to advance to the aid of General McCook, upon whom the enemy had massed a large force with the evident intention of turning his position. Colonel Gooding proceeded with his brigade to General McCook's position, and, under General McCook's direction, formed upon his left, and there remained, with some slight variations of the position of his regiments, till dark, receiving a most deadly fire from the enemy, who were possessed of great advantages of position.
The appearance of the field the next day showed, however, that the brave heroes of Pea Ridge (the Twenty-second Indiana and Fifty-ninth Illinois Volunteers) had returned the fire with terrible effect and had won new and bright laurels to add to their former fame. The Seventy-fifth Illinois Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bennett, were upon this line, and, having a reputation to gain as soldiers, nobly did the work before them. Their loss was heavy, including Major Kilgour, wounded severely. Colonel Gooding, during the temporary confusion produced by a heavy flank fire of the concealed enemy, became involved in the enemy's lines, was slightly wounded and taken prisoner. By his address and cool bravery, however, he succeeded in deceiving the commander of the rebel forces till his brigade had withdrawn to a position where it was less exposed to cross-fires. Lieutenant-Colonel Keith, Twenty-second Indiana Volunteers, and Lieutenant West, acting assistant adjutant-general of the Thirtieth Brigade, both fell here; the former killed, the latter severely wounded. Both were gallant officers and fell while discharging their duties. Captain Pinney's Fifth Wisconsin Battery was placed in position under the orders of General McCook, and for nearly three hours [almost unsupported) defended itself against the terrible numbers and charges of the enemy, piling the ground in front of his guns with their slain. This brigade continued in position till, darkness rendering their position (the enemy being concealed) too much exposed, they withdrew to their position on the road, fatigued, terribly depleted in numbers, and mourning the loss of so many brave comrades, but still preserving their organizations intact, and anxious for the next day's opportunity to go again into the fight. Colonel Gooding's brigade operated more directly under the command of General McCook, and I presume his report will contain a more detailed account of their positions and operations.
The casualties in my command were as follows:
The Thirtieth Brigade:Killed, 121; wounded, 314; prisoners, 35; missing, 29; total, 499. The Thirty-first Brigade: Wounded, 10. The Thirty-second Brigade, none. Grand total, 509.
I have already spoken of the gallant conduct and skillful management of Colonel Carlin, commanding the Thirty-first Brigade, but cannot refrain from again calling your attention to the eminent services and brave actions of this modest and efficient officer in this engagement.
By his courage and skill the enemy's center, a strong position, was broken and the rebels thrown into confusion. Colonel Gooding did his whole duty as the commander of one of the best brigades in the service of the Government. Indiana may well feel proud of his conduct in that bloody conflict.
I cannot refrain from expressing my gratitude to my staff, including Lieutenant Pratt, acting assistant adjutant-general; Lieutenant Lines, aide-de-camp; Lieutenant Rankin, of the Second Kansas Regiment; Lieutenant Andrews, Forty-second Illinois Volunteers, and Lieutenant Wood, of the Signal Corps, for the able, gallant, and heroic manner in which they discharged their respective duties during the engagement, always ready and willing to take any risk or make any sacrifice for the good of their country's cause. Surgeon Hazlett, of the Fifty-ninth Illinois Volunteers; Lieutenant-Colonel Keith, Twenty-second Indiana; Lieutenant Johnson, Fifty-ninth Illinois; Lieutenants Tolbert and Ridlen and Capt. R. K. Smith, of the Twenty-second Indiana, and Lieutenants Blean and Eels, of the Seventy-fifth Illinois, died gallantly defending the honor of their country's flag. They will never be forgotten by a grateful country.
On the morning of the 9th a force of rebel cavalry was seen winding from the enemy's left and evidently proceeding toward the Harrods-burg turnpike. I directed Hotchkiss' battery to fire upon them, which was done with good effect, the enemy rapidly retreating. I then advanced with my division to this point, seeing on every side indications of the enemy's precipitate retreat. I discovered about 1,500 small-arms, which I have turned over to Lieutenant Horton, ordnance officer, staff of Major-General Gilbert.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ROBT. B. MITCHELL,
Capt. J. EDWARD STACY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.