Report of Lieut. Col. Daniel D. T. Cowen, Fifty-second Ohio Infantry.
OR, Vol. 16, Pt. 1, p. 1085 - 1086
HDQRS. 52D REGT. OHIO VOLS., 36TH BRIG.,
11TH DIV., ARMY OF THE OHIO,
Battlefield near Perryville, Ky.,
October 9, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fifty-second Regiment in the battle of yesterday:
In pursuance of the order of Col. Daniel McCook, commanding the brigade, the Fifty-second, Regiment on the left of the brigade, moved forward at 3:30 o'clock yesterday morning from its position 3 miles west of Perryville toward that, village. After advancing about 1 ½ miles and crossing a bridge spanning a small stream the regiment was formed in line of battle, and being ordered to advance to and hold the crest of the hill some 500 yards in front, Company A, in command of Lieutenant Bucke, and Company H, under command of Lieutenant Summers, both companies under command of Captain Clark, acting major, were deployed as skirmishers and our line advanced to the position named.
Some 300 yards from the run, at five minutes past 4 o'clock a.m., the skirmishers were fired upon by the rebel pickets. They promptly returned the fire and drove the pickets over the crest of the hill into and through the field and wood beyond and took their position some 400 yards in front of the regiment.
I am thus particular in detailing these items because to the Thirty-sixth Brigade and to the Fifty-second Regiment thus attaches the honor of opening the great and decisive battle of Perryville.
Our skirmishers were almost constantly exchanging shots with the rebel skirmishers, and the regiment retained its position on the crest of the hill till 10:30 o'clock, when, in pursuance of Colonel McCook's order, it moved forward about one half of a mile, where we remained without material change of position until 4 o'clock p.m., when the regiment moved forward a short distance with Company D, under command of Captain Morrow, and Company I, under command of Captain Schneider, deployed as skirmishers. While thus advancing the regiment was ordered by Colonel McCook to move to the right some 500 yards to assist in supporting Captain Barnett's Second Illinois Battery, which was being threatened by a heavy force.
The regiment moved rapidly to its position immediately on the left of the battery and in the rear of the Thirty-sixth Illinois, and remained in line behind the crest of the hill until the ammunition of the regiment in our front was exhausted, when the Fifty-second, at 5 p.m., moved forward over the crest of the hill in fine order and became immediately engaged with the enemy. The regiment continued to fire steadily and effectively about thirty minutes, when at sundown the rebel line with which we were engaged broke and fled in confusion.
I cannot speak in too high terms of praise of the conduct of the officers and men under my command during the whole of this memorable day. When all did their whole duty it would seem unjust to make any apparent discrimination by specially naming any. Yet circumstances and the varied incidents of the day brought under my special observation the conduct of some whom I therefore name. Capt. I. D. Clark, of Company A, acting major, from the time the first shot was fired on the skirmishers under his command in the early morning until the battle was over and the victory won, discharged his varied and arduous duties with skill, courage, and promptness. Adjutant Blackburn and the officers of the skirmishing companies also attracted my special notice while the regiment was in its position behind the crest of the hill on the left of Barnett's battery, and before it relieved the Thirty-sixth Illinois and became actually engaged with the enemy at that point.
Sergeant Rudolph, of Company H, was conspicuous among others of the regiment in assisting at the battery. At 10 a.m. the Second Missouri Regiment charged past the right of our line of skirmishers upon a force of rebel infantry, and Private Samuel J. Marsh, of Company A, joined them in the pursuit. Charley Common, a little drummer-boy, having lost his drum, took a musket and fought manfully in the line.
The following is a list of our losses, and it seems impossible to credit our apparent miraculous escape. I take the liberty to say that I ascribe it to a very great extent to the consummate skill with which the regiment was handled by our brigade and division commanders.
Wounded: Private James Moneysmith, Company I, shoulder, dangerously; Private Edward Grimes, Company H, arm, severely; Private George Wilson, Company E, shoulder, slightly. Total wounded, 3; missing, none.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
D. D. T. COWEN,
Lieut. Col., Comdg. Fifty-second Regiment Ohio Vol. Infantry.
Lieut. J. A. MALLORY, A. A. A. G., Thirty-sixth Brigade.