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27th Iowa Top Banner

Tupelo

July 14, 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

JULY 5-21, 1864.--Expedition from La Grange, Tenn., to Tupelo, Miss.

No. 18.--Report of Col. David Moore,
Twenty-first Missouri Infantry,
commanding Third Division.

HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn. July 30, 1864

MAJOR: I have the honor to make the following report of the action, marches, and part taken by the troops of the Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, in the late expedition to Tupelo; Miss.:

In compliance with orders from the general commanding Right Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, as fast as the troops of the division were paid, I moved them by rail to Moscow, Tenn., and encamped near the river. On the 27th of June the command was marched to La Grange, Tenn., a distance of eleven miles, and agreeable to orders encamped near Wolf River, at which place we remained till the evening of 5th of July, when the command was marched to Davis' Mills, a distance of six miles, starting early on the morning of the 6th instant, preceded by the First Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, for Pontotoc, Miss. While there the command was almost constantly kept under arms on account of the enemy firing upon the pickets. Left Pontotoc, Miss., for Tupelo on the 13th instant. Upon arriving at Tupelo, Miss., First and Third Brigades, commanded, respectively, by Col. C. D. Murray, of the Eighty-ninth Indiana Infantry Volunteers, and Col. E. H. Wolfe, of the Fifty-second Indiana Infantry, were encamped in line of battle on the left of the Tupelo road, the Second Brigade, commanded by Col. James I. Gilbert, of the Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry Volunteers, being encamped in the rear and on the left flank of the supply train as guard for the train.

On the morning of the 14th of July, heavy firing having been heard on the picket-posts, I ordered a line of skirmishers to be formed in front of my command. At 7 a.m., after drawing in our skirmishers, the enemy appeared in considerable force in front of the First Brigade, Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, commanded by Col. C. D. Murray, of the Eighty-ninth Indiana Infantry Volunteers, with the unmistakable intention of capturing the batteries and driving our line of battle in perfect disorder. The enemy were permitted to advance in solid columns upon our line through an open field. Our lines being concealed from their view by the brow of the hill, we were not discovered until the enemy had reached a point about twenty paces distant, when the troops of the First Brigade, Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps (composed of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. J. I. Rinaker; the Eighty-ninth Indiana Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Craven; the Fifty-eighth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Captain Heelan the Twenty-first Missouri Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Col. Edwin Moore; the One hundred and nineteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. Thomas J. Kinney), sprang to their feet, and, with a yell like that of demons, rushed forward, pouring into the ranks of the advancing foe a desperate volley of musketry, causing them to flee in the utmost disorder, exclaiming, "My God! my God!" The Third Indiana Battery, commanded by Lieutenant Burns, which was posted on the right of the First Brigade, and Battery G. Second Illinois Light Artillery, together with the Fifty-second Indiana Infantry Volunteers, and the One hundred and seventy-eighth New York Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. E. H. Wolfe, of the Fifty-second Indiana Infantry Volunteers, did admirable execution by the right and left oblique firing, causing the enemy to beat a hasty retreat in the utmost confusion. For about three hours the enemy kept shelling my lines, but was vigorously replied to by the batteries above mentioned, and with the effect of silencing one of his batteries, and compelling another to move out of range, which rendered their fire comparatively harmless. After pursuing the retreating enemy to the foot of the hill in front of our position, my lines halted, and for a few moments continued firing upon the scattered fugitives. They were then, after all resistance had ceased on the part of the enemy, ordered to march back to their original position in line of battle, which they did in good order. Too much praise cannot be awarded to Col. J. I. Rinaker and the officers and men of the One hundred and twenty-second Illinois Infantry Volunteers for the gallant manner in which they met the fire of the advancing foe. The above-named regiment being posted on the right of the First Brigade, Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, and immediately on the left of the First Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, by cross-firing on the columns advancing in front of the First Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, dealt a deadly and murderous fire. For the balance of the day the enemy left us undisturbed until 10 p.m., when, after driving in our pickets, a considerable force of the enemy came charging in on the left of the Third Brigade, evidently with the design of driving us from our eminence. The One hundred and seventeenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Col. R. M. Moore, of the Third Brigade, by order of Col. E. H. Wolfe, commanding brigade, moved by the left oblique, and in this attack bore a most important part, and to them due credit should be awarded for the prompt manner in which they met and repulsed the enemy on that occasion. The Second Brigade, commanded by Col. James I. Gilbert (composed of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Capt. William J. Campbell; the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Maj. R. W. Fyan; the Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, commanded by Capt. Amos Haslip; and the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry Volunteers, commanded by Maj. Jonathan Hutchison), being held in reserve, were not engaged until about 10 p.m., when heavy skirmishing was heard on the left of the Third Brigade. The brigade was pushed forward in quick time, and deployed under a severe fire of the enemy, driving them and occupying the original position, said position being held for the remainder of the night.

On the 15th instant, at 10 a.m., I was ordered to abandon my position and move my command on the Tupelo road in the direction of Ellistown. In the afternoon, while halting west of Old Town Creek, the enemy appeared, and taking possession of a commanding position, commenced shelling our train. I immediately ordered Col. James I. Gilbert with his brigade to recross the creek, which order was promptly obeyed. The line scaled a fence, waded a stream, nearly waist deep, of water and mud, through the thick brush and timber; waded a second stream, as deep as the first, to the edge of a large field of growing corn, where they came in full sight of the rebel line, which, with its battle-flags waving in the sunlight, was boldly and firmly advancing, pouring in a destructive fire. The day being very hot, many of the men dropped by sunstroke, but by vigorous exertions of the gallant brigade commander, James I. Gilbert, the enemy was driven from his position with a loss of many killed and wounded. The Third Brigade, commanded by Col. E. H. Wolfe, of the Fifty-second Indiana Infantry Volunteers, was ordered across the creek to the support of the Second Brigade, where it took position on a ridge and on the right of the Second Brigade, where it remained until 6 o'clock next morning. The enemy not reappearing, I was ordered to withdraw my command and take my position in the column en route for Ellistown.

On the 17th instant left camp near Ellistown for La Grange, arriving there on the 21st instant, passing through New Albany and Salem. On the 22d instant I was ordered to proceed to Collierville, where my command took the cars for Memphis, Tenn., arriving the same day, distance marched by the command being 276 miles.

To all officers and men of the command I desire to return my heartfelt thanks for the able manner and soldierly conduct exhibited during this expedition. To Col. C. D. Murray, commanding First Brigade; Col. James I. Gilbert, commanding Second Brigade; and Col. E. H. Wolfe, commanding Third Brigade, I have to express my warmest thanks and admiration for the gallantry displayed on the field and on the march. To Lieut. James B. Comstock, acting assistant adjutant-general of the Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, specially I would say he has my heartfelt thanks for the heroic manner in which he conducted himself; ever present in the thickest of the fight, rendering all the assistance in his power to effect the object of the day. To Lieut. Charles H. Sweeney, Lieut. Henry C. Raymond, and Lieutenant Dustin, of my personal staff, I tender my sincere thanks for the able manner in which they discharged their duties.

A list of the casualties of my command has been furnished to the major-general commanding.(*)

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

D. MOORE,
Colonel Twenty-first Missouri Infty. Vols., Commanding Division.

Maj. JOHN HOUGH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Right Wing, Sixteenth

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXIX--In Three Parts. Part I--Reports, Page 279 - 282

No. 22.--Reports of Col. James L Gilbert.
Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry,
commanding Second Brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., THIRD DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., July 24, 1864

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Second Brigade in the late battle with the enemy, on the 14th instant, near Tupelo, Miss.:

About 6 o'clock on the morning of the 14th I was notified by the general commanding that the infantry of my brigade, consisting of the Fourteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. William J. Campbell; the Twenty-fourth Missouri Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Maj. Robert W. Fyan; the Twenty-seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Capt. Amos M. Haslip; and the Thirty-second Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Maj. Jonathan Hutchison, would be held in reserve, and upon it would devolve the duty of protecting the train parked on the left of the Pontotoc and Tupelo road. The Third Indiana Battery, Lieut. R. Burns commanding, had been already ordered into position in the front. My line was formed upon the left flank of the train, in the following order, from right to left: Twenty-fourth Missouri, Twenty-seventh, Fourteenth, and Thirty-second Iowa. I immediately ordered the regiment on the left to change front to the rear, cautioning the others to be prepared for the same movement, and threw out a heavy line of skirmishers, extending from the flank entirely to the rear of my line and the train. About 7 a.m. I was ordered by Colonel Moore, commanding Third Division, to send forward two regiments of my command to support the right of his division, then heavily pressed by the enemy. I immediately sent forward the Twenty-fourth Missouri and Twenty-seventh Iowa, under command of Major Fyan of the Twenty-fourth Missouri. About 8 a.m. I was ordered by General Smith to move the residue of my command across the Tupelo road and form line upon the right flank of the Eleventh Missouri which was promptly executed under quite a severe artillery fire from the enemy. This position was held until 12 m., when I was ordered to move across the field and hold my command in support of the left of the front line. At 5.30 p.m. a column of the enemy was reported advancing upon our left, and I was ordered to deploy my brigade upon the extreme left of the front line. I immediately executed this order, occupying an excellent position just behind the crest of a high hill, which commanded the whole field; I threw out a line of skirmishers upon the next hill in advance. Just after sunset, no enemy appearing, I was ordered to leave a heavy picket and withdraw the main line into camp half a mile to the rear. About 9 o'clock in the evening my pickets commenced skirmishing with the enemy. Without awaiting orders, I immediately ordered the command under arms, and rode out to ascertain the strength of the attack. Finding the pickets were driven in and that a heavy column of the enemy were advancing to force our position on the line, I ordered up my command in quick time, deployed under a severe musketry fire from the enemy, marched rapidly forward, driving the enemy, and occupied our original position upon the left of the advanced line. This position was held during the night without further attack.

On the morning of the 15th my command was withdrawn and ordered to take up the line of march on the Ripley road.

The officers and men throughout the entire command conducted themselves in a highly creditable manner. I desire especially to mention the excellent service of the Third Indiana Battery. Lieutenant Burns with his command, consisting of four guns (two 12-pounder Napoleons and two 6-pounder James rifled), was posted in front of the First Brigade, Third Division. About 6 o'clock in the morning, when the enemy first appeared in heavy force, the battery shelled them with much effect. Soon afterward one gun, a 6-pounder James rifled, under charge of Lieut. Philip McPherson, was ordered into position upon the right of the First Brigade. The enemy now advanced in strong force and charged our lines in that part of the field, when all four pieces from the battery opened upon them with great rapidity, and, as the field proves, with telling effect. Lieutenant McPherson was seriously wounded whilst performing his duty at his post. Lieutenant Burns, commanding the battery, cannot receive too much praise for his good conduct on the field.

Appended is the list of casualties.(*)

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

JAMES I. GILBERT,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Lieut. JAMES B. COMSTOCK,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Division, Sixteenth Army

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I--Volume XXXIX--In Three Parts. Part I--Reports, Page 285 - 286

No. 25.--Reports of Capt. Amos M. Haslip,
Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry.

HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGT. IOWA VOL. INFANTRY,
In the Field, near La Grange, Tenn., July 21, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report the part taken by the Twenty-seventh Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry in the engagement at Tupelo, Miss., July 14, 1864. At 7 a.m. the regiment was ordered to the front to report to Major Fyan, Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry. I had moved up, reported, and taken position in line of battle immediately in the rear of the advance line, when I was ordered by Colonel Moore, commanding division, to move by the right flank to support the right. I immediately complied with the order. We remained in this position a half hour, when I was ordered by General Smith to move to the rear to support the left. I moved to comply with the order, and when back a quarter of a mile was met by an officer of Colonel Moore's staff, who halted my command and ordered me to move to the right of the wagon train. About 1 p.m. I moved with the brigade to the left of the wagon train, where we remained until 4 p.m., when I was ordered by Colonel Gilbert, commanding brigade, to move to the support of the left of the advance line. In this new position we remained until sunset, when I moved again to the left of the train and camped in line of battle. At 9 p.m. I moved in the right center of the brigade to our former position, left advance line, where we remained during the night of the 14th. The men made the fight bravely and well.

The following is a list of casualties.(*)

A.M. HASLIP,
Captain Company A, Commanding Regiment.

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 XXXIX--In Three Parts. Part I--Reports, Page 290