Sunday, June 17, 2012

Colonel McHenry's Final Report

The following report of Colonel McHenry provides the best overview of the Seventeenth's experiences in the merry month of May, 1862.  June 17th also marks the end of their extended stay in Iuka, as they break camp and head east toward Tuscumbia, Alabama.

Brigadier-General AMMEN, Comdg. Tenth Brigade.
Numbers 7 Report of Colonel John H. McHenry, jr., Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry, of operations from May 2 to 30.

June 10, 1862.

The regiment which I have the honor to command, forming a portion of your brigade, was ordered from Pittsburg about May 2, and approached Corinth by slow, irregular, and inconvenient marches, remaining at some points for several days, bivouacking at night generally, and did not fully establish our camp until we arrived within 3 miles of Corinth, where we were ordered to encamp, and remained from about the 16th ultimo until the evacuation of Corinth by the enemy. During this time my regiment was constantly engaged on grand guard and picket duty, performing their share of labor required of them in the construction of heavy fortifications, abatis,&c.
The day previous to the evacuation of Corinth the regiment under my command was designated as the advance guard of your brigade and held the advanced position of the division about 1 mile north of the outer lines of the enemy. My special orders from the commanding general of the division was to guard and hold possession of a bridge across-Creek, a small stream, wooded on either side by heavy timber and thick undergrowth. The stream, although small, was impassable for artillery, cavalry, or even infantry, on account of sudden declivities of the banks on either side and the soft, boggy bottom. The bridge was on the main road leading from our camp to Corinth, and seemed to be regarded as a very important crossing as well by the enemy as by ourselves, for scarcely had my regiment taken its position some 50 yards from the creek, and before I had time to relieve the pickets in front of us, when the pickets of the enemy fired upon us, rendering it important that more than usual care and caution should be used in posting them. This was accomplished without the occurrence of any casualty. Soon after my pickets were posted, which was on the bank and behind trees, two of the enemy walked leisurely across the bridge into our lines, from whom I ascertained that a battery of four guns commanded the bridge from the other side and was planted less than 200 yards from where my battalion was posted. Frequently during the day the firing between pickets was severe. I lost one man, Valentine Miller, private Company I, who was shot through the head while he was lying upon the ground. One man, an officer, was shot and supposed to be killed by my pickets, as he was seen to fall and be carried off, and one other of the enemy was known to be severely wounded.
Before 5 o'clock next morning I received your order to advance my regiment across the bridge and skirmish on either side of the road, as it was thought the enemy had evacuated the town. Your order was executed, and the pickets of the enemy, principally cavalry, were driven in in great confusion. We captured 5 infantry, and, without any resistance from the enemy other than a few random shots from retreating cavalry, my advanced skirmishers, under Captain Little, Company H, entered the breastworks in front of Corinth a few minutes after 6 o'clock. My whole regiment was then ordered up and formed line of battle on the first hill, and was joined soon afterward by the remainder of your brigade, when you assumed command of the whole brigade and moved forward into the town.

Very respectfully,
Colonel, Commanding Seventeenth Regiment Kentucky Vols.*

Corinth, as seen from the high ground where the Seventeenth planted their regimental flag on May 30, 1862.


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