Friday, June 15, 2012

Nelson's Final Report

General Nelson's final report on the Corinth Operations is reprinted below in it's entirety.  In this summary of activity from Shiloh to Corinth and beyond, there are no direct references to the Seventeenth Kentucky.  However, there is an interesting comment concerning Ammen's Brigade and the Skirmish at Bridge Creek as well as the best availble timeline for the march from Corinth to Iuka.  A note of frustration with General Pope echoes between the lines in his report on the activities of the 8th and 9th of May.

Florence, Ala., June 26, 1862.

COLONEL: In obedience to orders I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this division since the battle of Shiloh to the relinquishment of the pursuit:
On May 2 the division moved from the field of Shiloh and encamped near the forks of the road east of Monterey; employed cutting roads and corduroying. This, with the picket duty, came heavy on the troops, owing to the bad weather.
On May 7 advanced the camp 3 miles.
On the 8th advanced to Nichols' Ford, on Seven Mile Creek, to support, as I was informed, a reconnaissance of General Pope. Left this position at midnight and returned to camp, which was reached at 4 a. m. At 10.30 o'clock received an order to march my division to the support of General Pope. Marched in quick-time in the direction indicated, the enemy having attacked the troops at Farmington. Received repeated messages urging my more rapid advance; also a letter from General Pope informing me that the enemy were advancing fiercely on his camp." Before I could get up the firing ceased, but messengers arriving with the intelligence that my picket had been attacked at Nichols' Ford, changed direction and moved to that point, to which point the camp was moved the day following.
On May 18 moved forward on the Farmington road and took up the position which the division encamped on until the evacuation of Corinth; threw up heavy intrenchments on the commanding ground in front of the camps. The pickets were daily skirmishing with those of the enemy. Occasionally the enemy would throw shells into our lines.
On May 21 the Twenty-second Brigade, under command of Colonel Sedgewick, Second Kentucky, composed of the First, Second, and Twentieth Kentucky Regiments and the Thirty-first Indiana, made, in obedience to orders of General Buell, a reconnaissance in front of Wood's and T. W. Sherman's divisions, on the Corinth road, near Widow Serratt's house. They were met by the enemy in force and a very sharp skirmish ensued. The brigade occupied the ground that it was ordered to take.
I cannot speak too highly of the coolness and steadiness of the officers and men on the occasion. The whole movement was conducted by Colonel Sedgewick with marked ability. The brigade lost 3 mortally wounded (since dead) and 23 wounded, as per list. From the fact of finding 35 new graves at this place I supposed that to be the loss of the enemy.
On May 28, by command of General Buell, the division moved out of the trenches, the Twenty-second Brigade, under command of Colonel Sedgewick, in front, brushing among the enemy's pickets and skirmishers, and drove them from the bridge over Bridge Creek, on the main road from Hamburg to Corinth, which position we held until the evacuation. The enemy were immediately re-enforced and made three attempts to retake the bridge, which were handsomely repulsed, and the line of skirmishers pursued the enemy to the farther verge of the swamp. Repeated requests came to me to permit the advance of the whole line, which, under the instructions I was carrying out, I refused to permit. Captain Wheeler, of Colonel Ammen's staff, sent to me to say that if I would permit the advance they would be in Corinth in twenty minutes. The examination of the ground since shows that it was very possible. The loss of the brigade in taking and holding the bridge was 3 killed and 20 wounded, as per list.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson and Major Buckner, Twentieth Kentucky Volunteers, and Captain Baldwin, Second Kentucky, and his company, and the officers and men of the Twentieth Kentucky Regiment, were conspicuous.
Captain Wheeler, of the Twenty-fourth Ohio, on Colonel Ammen's staff, was, as he always is under fire, conspicuous for his gallantry. During the night dug rifle pits all along the new line.
On the morning of the 30th the division entered Corinth, as I have reported on a former occasion. I have to regret the loss of the services of one of the best officers of my division, namely, Captain Erwin, Sixth Ohio Volunteers, who was shot through the chest at 6 o'clock by the last fire of the enemy's picket as we were moving into the lines of Corinth. The cavalry of my division ran onto the enemy's rear about 3 1/2 miles beyond Corinth. I sent a note to the general asking permission to attack the enemy, which the general decline to give. The division returned to camp. It performed one tour of duty in Corinth, and June 4 marched on the Rienzi road to Smith's Cross-Roads, where we arrived on June 7; thence we marched on the 9th to Iuka, where we arrived on the 11th.
The division in the skirmishing near Corinth lost 4 killed and 58 wounded, as per list, 5 of whom were mortally wounded and have since died.*

Very respectfully,


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