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27th Iowa Top Banner

Yellow Bayou, LA

May 18, 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

HDQRS. FIRST AND THIRD DIVS., 16TH ARMY CORPS,
On Steamer Des Moines, Vicksburg, Miss.,
May 23, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report for the information of the general commanding the detachment of Red River expedition, that, in obedience to the orders received from him to the effect that if the enemy should pursue me I should attack and drive them back, I moved across Yellow Bayou at about 11 o'clock of the 18th instant, with Colonel Hill's brigade, consisting only of two regiments, the Thirty-third Missouri and the Thirty-fifth Iowa, and Colonel Lynche's brigade, and Colonel Shaw's brigade of the Third Division. I skirmished with the enemy about 2 miles, when I came to a dense thicket, which I penetrated and found the enemy in large force on the opposite side of a field. They opened on my line with twelve pieces of rifled artillery. I had with me Lieutenant Tiemeyer's battery of rifled guns, with the Third Indiana Battery and four smooth-bore guns in the Ninth Indiana Battery. I put Lieutenant Tiemeyer's battery in position on the right of the line and the Ninth Indiana Battery near the left, having two regiments on the left of it for support. I had just got my line formed after passing through the thicket when the enemy moved upon us, coming in columns in mass on our left and in line of battle in our front. I immediately sent for two regiments of Colonel Shaw's brigade, which had been held in reserve, but before they arrived the cavalry on my left flank were driven back, the enemy following them and getting in rear of my left flank. I immediately ordered the Third Indiana Battery and the two regiments on the left of it to move in such a direction as brought them nearly at right angles with the balance of my line and facing the enemy, who were moving down on our flank. I also ordered the other portion of the line, which had driven the enemy in their front, to fall back so as to connect with the right of the troops, whose position I had changed. The troops on the left were now formed facing the woods. Just as they had got into position the two regiments of Colonel Shaw's brigade, which were held in reserve and which I had previously sent for, came up, and I put them into position on the left. I then ordered the battery to be doubled-shotted with canister. The enemy on our flank were soon driven back, and with great slaughter. I then (after resting the men a few minutes and giving them an opportunity to replenish their ammunition) ordered another advance. I found that the enemy had made an advance and had entered the thicket, through which the main portion of my line had to pass. We encountered them in the thicket, and a short but desperate struggle ensued, in which they were driven into and part way across the open field beyond, with great loss in killed and wounded and about 160 prisoners. My left being exposed, the cavalry having been again driven back, I ordered my troops back to reoccupy their original position, the enemy first being driven from our left. I left a line of skirmishers in front of the thicket. The enemy did not attempt to make another attack. I have been since informed by the chaplain of the Fifty-eighth Illinois, who was captured a few days previous and afterward released, that the enemy acknowledged a loss in that engagement of about 600 killed and wounded. This together with the prisoners captured by us, would make their loss nearly three times as great as our own.

Too much praise cannot be given either to officers or men in meeting and repelling two distinct charges of the enemy, in both of which their force was greatly superior to our own. The conduct of Colonel Hill deserves special mention. He was in the thickest of the fire; was himself wounded, and had his horse shot. Colonel Lynch, who had had permission to visit the boats at the Atchafalaya, some 4 miles distant, on hearing the artillery immediately repaired to the field of battle, and rushing in with his usual impetuosity, was almost immediately wounded. The command of his brigade then devolved upon Colonel Kinney, of the One hundred and nineteenth Illinois, who fought his brigade gallantly until his horse was wounded and fell upon him, injuring him so that he had to retire temporarily from the field. The command then devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Craven, Eighty-ninth Indiana, who sustained the well-earned reputation of the brigade. Colonel Shaw handled his men with skill and coolness and aided in repelling the charge of the enemy on the flank and in driving them back. I will also mention Lieutenant Tiemeyer, Company M, First Missouri Light Artillery, who did good execution, notwithstanding his battery was exposed to a galling fire from the enemy's batteries, who at times concentrated their whole artillery fire upon him. He deserves great praise for the manner in which he handled his guns. Captain Brown, of the Ninth Indiana Battery, although his guns were not able to reach the rifled guns of the enemy, poured a deadly fire into the masses of the enemy as they charged on the left.

To the officers of my staff, Captain Sample and Lieutenants Christensen, Meagher, and O'Reilly, who rendered efficient aide in conveying orders along the line, under the heaviest of fire, my sincere thanks are due. The last two had their horses shot under them.

A list of the prisoners captured, also a list of the casualties, have already been forwarded. I herewith inclose the reports of the brigade commanders.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. A. MOWER
Brig. Gen. Comdg. 1st and 3d Divs, 16th Army Corps

Capt. J. Hough
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Detach, 16th and 17th Army Corps.

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 1--Reports. Page 320-321

HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., THIRD DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS,
Vicksburg, Miss., May 26, 1864

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by my brigade in the action of Bayou De Glaize, May 18, 1864.

My brigade was placed in reserve at the commencement of the action. I was ordered to send forward a regiment to support a battery on the right. I sent forward Major Fyan, Twenty-fourth Missouri I next sent to the left my two Napoleon guns, under Lieutenant Burns, Third Indiana Battery, my two James rifles having already been engaged under Lieutenant Ginn. I was next ordered to send another regiment up to support the batteries on the left. I sent forward the Fourteenth Iowa, commanded by Capt. L. A. Crane. This left but two regiments in reserve, viz, Thirty-second Iowa, Major Eberhart commanding, and Twenty-seventh Iowa, Colonel Gilbert commanding. I soon perceived that the enemy was pressing closely our left, and without waiting orders I ordered the two regiments in reserve to move slowly to the left while I rode to the front to see how the battle went. I soon saw that the cavalry on the left had given way, and that the enemy was turning our left flank. I immediately ordered the reserve into line at double-quick, fronting to the left, when the enemy made their appearance through the timber in their front, but a well-directed fire from the Twenty-seventh and Thirty-second Iowa, the Ninth Indiana Battery, and the two 12-pounder Napoleons of the Third Indiana Battery, also the Fourteenth Iowa, which had changed its front, soon sent them back with heavy loss. The enemy, having been heavily re-enforced, again advanced, when I was ordered to move forward and meet him. I moved forward, meeting him in the edge of the timber, driving him out of the timber, across an open field, under the protection of their artillery, inflicting upon him heavy loss. I then halted and withdrew with the balance of the line out of range of canister, and remained till dark, when we fell back to the ground occupied the night before. My list of casualties I have already forwarded. My loss, though heavy, is comparatively light when it is considered that I was twice engaged at short range with nearly four times my number of infantry, and that I was for two hours under a heavy fire of artillery.

WM. T. SHAW,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Capt. J. B. SAMPLE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st and 3d Divs., 16th Army Corps.

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 1--Reports. Page 357-358

HDQRS. TWENTY-SEVENTH REGT. IOWA VOL. INFY.,
Steamer Diadem, May 26, 1864.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the battle of Old Oaks, La., on the 18th May, 1864: At about 11 a.m. the brigade to which my regiment was attached, commanded by Col. William T. Shaw, was ordered to move out by the right flank on the Marksville road, which lies parallel with Bayou De Glaize. The brigade moved about 1 mile up Bayou De Glaize, when they were ordered to form line of battle at right angles with the bayou. My post formed the right center of the brigade. We were ordered to advance in line, and moved forward about half a mile, when we were ordered to lie down. We were now about 500 yards in the rear of the advance line of battle. We staid in this position for the space of two hours, subjected meanwhile to the artillery fire of the enemy, which was very heavy. At 3 p.m. we were ordered to move by the left flank at a double-quick about 500 yards, when we formed a line perpendicularly to the rear of our former line, and at this point we were subjected to a very heavy fire from the small-arms of the enemy, but in about fifteen minutes succeeded in repulsing him. We then changed front again by moving by the right flank and filing right, and remained in this position nearly a half hour, when we were ordered to advance. We moved forward about 1,000 yards through a heavy piece of timber, driving the enemy before us, but as we came out on the open ground the enemy opened on us with grape and canister, forcing us to retire. We fell back to our former position in good order, considering the roughness of the ground and the thickness of the underbrush. We staid in this position about one-half hour, when we were ordered to fall back by the flank nearly a half mile, where we lay until sunset. We were then ordered back to the position occupied by the regiment the night before, where we lay all night. The loss of the regiment was 3 killed and 14 wounded. Officers and men of my command behaved with the greatest coolness and bravery. Where all did so well it is useless to particularize.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAS. I. GILBERT,
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.

Lieut. W. G. DONNAN,
Acting Assistant Adjutants-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 1--Reports. Page 363-364