Monday, February 22, 2010

Tenth Kansas, Battle Of Fort Blakely Ala.

Note. Following this repot there will be a list of men from this battle.

Numbers 63. Report of Lieutenant Colonel Charles S. Hills, Tenth Kansas Infantry, of operations April 9.

Fort Blakely, Ala., April 11, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the part in which the troops under my command participated in the assault on the enemy's works in rear of Blakely, Ala., April 9, 1865:

At 10 a.m. on that day I received orders from Brigadier-General Gilbert, commanding brigade, to hold my regiment in readiness, to move at a moment's notice, which order was immediately transmitted to company commanders. At 1 p.m. I received orders to move immediately to the outer line of works and relieve the picket then occupying those works. A detail of fifty men under Lieutenant Bryan were then already on the reserve skirmish line, and twenty-five men of the command were absent from camp with a work party. At 2 p.m. I occupied the outer picket-line, relieving the old picket and at 3 p.m. Lieutenant Bryan reported to me with the picket reserve of fifty men and at 3.30 p.m. was strengthened by twenty-eight men under command of Second Lieutenant W. S. Sims, Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, which completed the skirmish line in front of the entire brigade, consisting of 148 men, in the following order: Right wing, detachment Company B, Twenty-seventh Iowa, and Company B, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain W. C. Jones, Tenth Kansas, with Lieutenant W. S. Sims, Twenty-seventh Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant John Bryan, Tenth Kansas, subordinate; left, Companies C and D, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain George D. Brooke with Lieutenant George W. May subordinate; center, Company A, Tenth Kansas, commanded by Captain R. W. Wood, with Lieutenant Porter M. Phillips subordinate.

At 4 p.m. General Gilbert notified me that the advance on the rebel works would be made at 5 p.m. commencing on the left and continued through the line, each man immediately following the man on his left my left following immediately the right of the Third Brigade skirmishers; that I should advance my line with the right retired and drive the enemy's pickets from their pits, draw the fire of his main line, and ascertain his strength as well as his weak point; and in the event that he should open my line with spirit and expose them to too hot a fire I should take advantage of what cover the fallen timber and irregular ground offered, and lie down await the arrival of the main line. At 5.30 p.m. the movement commenced as directed.

The men, leaping over our entrenchments advanced on a run to the enemy's first line of rifle-pits, which were abandoned without much resistance as was also his second line. While descending the slope to the ravine which lay in my front the enemy opened with a galling fire of artillery and musketry, using shell, spherical case canister, and grape, which induced me to look for shelter in the ravine, in accordance with previous orders, but which, on reaching, I found to be enfiladed, with previous orders, but which, on reaching, I found to be enfiladed, and afforded no shelter whatever. For this reason no halt was ordered, our safety depending on breaking through the main works on my left, if possible; if not at any point, take him on the flank and double him up.

On gaining the high ground past the ravine the firing became more rapid, and had it been well directed would have been very destructive. No man in the line returned the fire but each one devoted his whole energy to reach the works as soon as possible climbed over fallen trees with scarce an effort, cleared each line of abatis at a single leap, and, scarcely noticing the ditch, mounted the parapets or poured through the embrasures at the recoil of the guns that their last discharge had opened for them, and their line was broken. Turning the left of my line (which after entering the embrasures had become a column) to the right, and being joined by those who had climbed the parapets, it swept down on their flank with fixed bayonets wit scarcely any opposition, the men throwing down their guns and surrendering, officers waving their white handkerchiefs and delivering up their swords.

Here for the first time I discovered the left of the skirmishers of the division of the Thirteenth Corps did not connect with my right, but had made an interval of some eighty yards and having a greater distance to pass over than my line had not yet reached the works. Fearing that the enemy's line in their front might, with those who had escaped from my column, discover our weakness and give us trouble, I pushed on down the line, so that the enemy might not have time to recover from his panic, and found that my right had already captured the men and guns at the center fort and the infantry support on its right, most of the left having run down the ravine to the rear and for the time escaped capture. A portion of the Thirteenth Corps having now arrived, and all resistance at and end and prisoners all secure, I halted my command, reformed them, and rested the men till I received orders to join the brigade. The distance from my right, where it left the picket-line to the point where it struck the enemy's works, is 550 yards, and the length of works captured 560 yards.

I am unable to give the exact number or rank of prisoners captured by my command, as the success of the assault depended on its being rapidly followed up after the line was broken and leaving the prisoners and trophies in other hands, which was done. I cannot, however, do justice to my command, in fixing the number of prisoners captured by them at less than 800, being one entire brigade and two batteries, 800 stand of small-arms and accouterments, and 8 pieces of artillery, as follows, viz, one 30-pounder Parrott carriage and limber with chest; one 7-inch siege gun with carriage; six field pieces with limbers.

The conduct of both officers and men, during the assault and after the works were carried, was unexceptionable. All seemed to know what was to be done, and vied with each other in doing it first. Not a man faltered or deemed himself incompetent to accomplish the task. To Lieutenant John E. Thorpe, acting adjutant, Tenth Kansas Veteran Volunteer Infantry, I am indebted for the general direction of the colors and his efficient services in conveying orders under the most difficult circumstances, and to each officer whose name appears above, I wish to make special mention for the cool and systematic manner with which they executed my orders and handled their men. To them I am greatly indebted. To each soldier I owe much for the success of the assault, and, would space permit, I would mention each by name.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant Colonel Tenth Kansas, Commanding Second Brigade Skirmishers.

1. Charles S. Hills, Lieutenant Colonel, 10th., Kansas Infantry, mustered in March 1, 1865, home Emporia. Promoted Brevet Colonel March 25, 1865; musterd out August 30, 1865, Montgomery, Ala.

2. William C. Jones, First Lieutenant, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. I., & B., mustered in July 24, 1861, home Iola. Promoted Captain July -, 1862. When promoted Captain was Assigned to new Company B. Mustered out with regiment, August 30, 1865

3. John Bryan, Private, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. F., enlisted Aug. 3, 1861, mustered in Aug. 6, 1961, home Troy. Promoted Corporal, was reduced to ranks. Became a Second Lieutenant and assigned to new Company B. Died, May 14, '65, New Orleans, La., of wounds received in action April 9, '65, Ft. Blakely, Ala.

4. George D. Brooks or Brooke, First Lieutenant, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. C., mustered in July 24, 1861, home Kansas City, Mo. Promoted Captain June 12, 8163, then assigned to new Company C. Mustered out June 16, 1865

5. George W. May, Second Lieutenant, 10th. Kansas infantry New company C., mustered in May 30, 1863, home Pleas't Plains, Ia. Transferred to new Company D., Mustered out with regiment August 30, 1865.
Note. He started out as a First Lieutenant in Co. K. of the 10th., enlisted Aug. 12, 1861, mustered in the same day. Was promoted 2d Lieutenant May 30, 1863.

6. Robert W. Wood, Private, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. D., enlisted Nov. 21, 1861, mustered in Feb. 11, 1862, home Ossawatomie. Promoted Sergeant April 10, 1862, then promoted 2d Lieutenant September 1, 1862, then was assigned to new Company A., then was promoted Captain March 1, 1865. Mustered out with regiment August 30, 1865.

7. Porter M. Phillips, Private, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. K., enlisted Aug. 12, 1861, mustered in same day. Prom. Corp'l Oct. 15, 1861; re-enlisted Veteran, then promoted Sergeant September 15, 1863, then he was reduced to ranks, then he was Promoted 1st Lieutenant, March 1, 1865. Mustered out with regiment August 30, 1865

8. John E. Thorpe, First Lieutenant, 10th. Kansas infantry Co. I., mustered in April 26, 1864, home Iola. Assigned to new Company B.

9. John L. Buxton, Corporal, 10th., Kansas infantry, co. New A., enlisted Jan. 1, 1864, mustered in Feb. 22, 1864, home Humboldt. Killed in action April 9, 1865, Ft. Blakely, Ala.

10. William Agnew, Private, 10th., Kansas infantry, co. New A., enlisted Jan. 1, 1864, mustered in Feb. 22, 1864, home Humboldt. Killed in action April 9, 1865, Ft. Blakely, Ala.

11. William I. Brooks, Private, 10th., Kansas infantry, co. New A., enlisted Jan. 1, 1864, mustered in Feb. 22, 1864, home Lewistown.
Note, Although he was killed in the battle it was not on April 9. 1865. Died, April 6, 1865, Ft. Blakely, Ala., of wounds rec'd in action April 3, 1865, Ft. Blakely, Ala.

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