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27th Iowa Top Banner

Lake Chicot

AKA: Fish Bayou, Ditch Bayou, Lake Village,

Furlough, Grand Lake, Old River Lake

June 6, 1864

2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 16th Army Corps,
January 1864 to December, 1864.

Detachment Army Tennessee -- Joined from Army Tenn For Red River Campaign

Major Gen. Andrew J. Smith
Brig. General J. A. Mower

Second Brigade
Col. William T. Shaw

14th Iowa, Lieut. Col. Joseph H. Newbold
27th Iowa, Col. James I. Gilbert
32d Iowa. Col. John Scott
24th Missouri, Col. James K. Mills

Memphis, Tenn., June 12, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the engagement at Fish Bayou, on the 6th instant. In compliance with orders received from you, I disembarked the command at Sunnyside Landing at 5 p.m. of 5th instant and encamped for the night. The next morning at 6 a.m. I moved with the division on the road leading to Old River Lake. Reaching the lower end of the lake the enemy appeared in front. By order received from you the Third Indiana Battery was sent forward to join General Mower's command. After proceeding a short distance on the road, the Second Brigade of the Third Division was sent forward and reported to General Mower. For the detailed account of the part taken by the Second Brigade you are respectfully referred to the official report, herewith inclosed, of Col. J. I. Gilbert, commanding brigade.

I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Colonel Twenty-first Missouri, Comdg. Division.

Capt. J. HOUGH,
Asst. Adjt. Gen.. Detach. Sixteenth Army Corps.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXIV, Part 1, Page 979.

JUNE 6, 1864.--Engagement on Old River Lake, or Lake Chicot, Ark.
No. 9.--Report of Col. James I. Gilbert,
Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry,
Commanding Second Brigade.

Columbia, Ark., June 7, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Second Brigade in the engagement with the enemy on the 6th instant at Fish Bayou, Ark.: At 7 a.m., pursuant to your orders, the command, consisting of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, Capt. W. C. Jones commanding; Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, Maj. George W. Howard commanding; Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, Lieut. Col. G. A. Eberhart commanding; Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry, Maj. R. W. Fyan commanding, and the Third Indiana Battery, Capt. J. M. Cockefair commanding, left Sunnyside Landing, where it had disembarked and camped the previous night, and moved out on the road leading to the rear of Old River Lake. A heavy rain set in soon after starting, which thoroughly drenched the men and made the marching very difficult. The command had reached the lower end of the lake, when the enemy appeared in front and skirmishing with him commenced. At this time an order was received to send forward the Third Indiana Battery, which was promptly executed, when the two rifled guns of the battery were ordered into position in a field upon the left of the road, which was accordingly done and a few shells thrown at the enemy, who gradually fell back to the farther side of Fish Bayou, where he formed line nearly perpendicular to the road along the side of the lake upon which our column advanced, and there made a determined stand. The Third Indiana Battery here again engaged the enemy's artillery, but owing to the narrowness of the road, the lake upon one side and thick underbrush upon the other, an advantageous position could not be obtained and consequently but comparatively little damage effected upon the enemy. At this time the two brigades of the First Division, having moved up close to the bayou, were engaged in a sharp musketry fight with the enemy, when about 1 p.m. an order was received to move forward the Second Brigade and form line of battle some 300 paces in their rear. I immediately advanced in an old field, thickly covered with underbrush and tall weeds and briars, and deployed into line at the point designated. My right resting upon the road, was held by the Thirty-second Iowa, the right and left center by the Fourteenth Iowa and Twenty-fourth Missouri, respectively, and the left by the Twenty-seventh Iowa. While forming line, the enemy caught sight of us, and threw two or three shells with unusual precision, which struck just in front and must have materially damaged us had they not failed to explode. I at once sent Lieutenant Donnan of my staff to report my arrival to General Mower (as it was impossible for him to see our approach through the brush), who ordered me to move up to the bayou and relieve the brigade upon the left. I immediately moved to the left and forward to the position assigned, and in so doing was under a heavy musketry fire from the enemy, who were strongly posted in the thick timber upon the opposite side of the bayou. Orders were now given to fire, which the men executed with great rapidity and with telling effect. A few volleys were poured in when the enemy retreated from the field. The command was about three-quarters of an hour under the fire of the enemy.

It gives me great pleasure to express my admiration for the good conduct displayed by both officers and men throughout the action. I also wish to express my thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Eberhart, of the Thirty-second Iowa, and his command, who were under the hottest of the fire, and bore themselves gallantly. I cannot fail also to favorably mention W. G. Donnan, lieutenant, Twenty-seventh Iowa, and acting assistant adjutant-general, and R. Rees, lieutenant, Twenty-first Missouri, and acting assistant inspector-general, who with coolness, promptness, and energy, in the performance of staff duties, rendered me valuable assistance on the field. Appended you will find a list of the casualties.(*)

I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Colonel Twenty-seventh Iowa, Comdg. Brigade.

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXIV--In Four Parts. Part I --Reports. Page 980

Report of Maj. George W. Howard, Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry
Steamer Diadem, June 7, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the part my command took at the battle of Ditch Bayou, June 6, 1864: About 2 miles in the rear of Ditch Bayou, Colonel Gilbert was ordered by Colonel Shaw to take command of the brigade of which my regiment formed a part, and I assumed command of the regiment. After advancing about a mile my regiment was ordered into line of battle. Our position was at the left of our brigade, which was at the left of and at right angles with the Lake Village road. We were then ordered to advance in line of battle. When within about 20 rods of the bayou we were ordered to march by the left flank into a field some 40 rods to our left. General Mower then directed me to deploy two companies of my regiment as skirmishers to find, if possible, a ford across the bayou. I ordered Companies A and B to comply with the order. My regiments was soon ordered to the bayou. In a short time I was ordered to march by the right flank and joined our brigade at the bridge crossing the bayou. Companies A and B joined us here. They were unsuccessful in finding a ford. The fire of the enemy was very light on the left of our position, and I have no casualties to report.

Very respectfully,

Geo W. Howard
Major, Commanding Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry.

Lieut. W. G. Donnan
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXIV--In Four Parts. Part I --Reports. Page 982