Lieut. Col. William P.
Davis, Twenty-third Indiana Infantry
BATTLE OF RAYMOND.
At 11 o'clock a.m. of May 12, the Twenty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteers was ordered to take position upon the right of the main road, on the right of the brigade. Having taken this position, we moved forward in line of battle, across open fields, to the edge of some timber, distant about half a mile. The regiment was here halted for a few moments, and was then ordered to move by the right flank into the timber, my left resting on the edge of the field. This position being taken, it was then moved forward in line of battle, Company G being thrown out as skirmishers in front and upon the right flank, with instructions to keep constantly in sight of the regiment. I reached a creek, which was almost impassable, the banks being nearly perpendicular, and covered with dense undergrowth. With much difficulty the regiment crossed it and moved forward a short distance. I halted about 50 yards from the base of a hill in my front, when, not seeing the balance of the line upon my left, I immediately sent to ascertain its position.
At this time I received your order for the skirmishers to be thrown farther to the right. While this was being executed, we were attacked upon our right and front by the enemy in column, consisting of four lines. Owing to the denseness of the thicket, our skirmishers were advanced but a short distance before the enemy was upon them, advancing rapidly down the hill in our front. They opened fire from each line in succession, and at the same time that portion on our right fired a volley and charged. Upon our first discovery of them, we opened fire and continued until they were within bayonet reach. Not having time to fix our bayonets, we attempted to beat them back with our muskets, but, being overpowered by numbers, we were obliged to fall back, which we did in good order, to the creek. Here the same difficulty occurred as before in crossing. Upon regaining the opposite bank, and finding it difficult to form my line, I moved out of the woods and formed on the Twentieth Illinois regiment, which was occupying a position in the edge of the field, and upon which we had previously formed our line. We remained in this position, sustaining a heavy fire, for about one and a half hours, when the enemy began to fall back.
At this time a portion of the Third Brigade took position on our right and charged, we joining them in it, the enemy hastily leaving the field. Soon after, and while the enemy were retreating on the right-hand road, a section of Rogers' battery was ordered forward to fire upon them. The regiment was then ordered to a position in a skirt of timber on the left of and to support the artillery, and resting upon the left-hand road. The brigade being shortly afterward formed into column by regiments, my command took its proper position and marched into Raymond, where it camped for the night.
[only excepts from Battle of Raymond are included by the editor]
WILLIAM P. DAVIS,
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