Report of Maj. Seymour Chase, Twenty-First Michigan Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST MICHIGAN INFANTRY,
Chattanooga, Tenn., September 28, 1863.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders I have the honor to report the part borne by this regiment in the action of the 20th instant at or near Crawfish Spring, Ga.

Before daylight on the morning of the engagement the regiment, under the command of Col. William B. McCreery, took position on the extreme right of the brigade, near the house occupied the evening before by General Rosecrans as his headquarters. Here it remained, the men throwing up temporary breastworks, until about twenty minutes past 11 a. m., when it was ordered into action. Colonel McCreery, according to orders, moved by column of companies about 400 yards to the left and deployed it in line. Fixing bayonet on the double-quick, the regiment steadily advanced under fire to the crest of a small hill and took position on the extreme right of the brigade. Here the men were ordered to lie down until our troops in front could pass through to the rear.

As the enemy neared our position the regiment rose and poured a withering volley into them, which checked their advance for a time. At one time quite a large number of the enemy, who had worked around our right flank, were driven back in full retreat by the constant fire and unerring aim of Company A, armed with the Colt revolving rifle. A fresh regiment, however, appearing in their places. After a terrible contest of about twenty minutes, the right wing of the regiment was forced back, and the whole compelled to retire to escape capture.

At this time both Colonel McCreery and Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, while encouraging the men, were badly wounded, and left on the field in the hands of the enemy. After falling back about half a mile the regiment was rallied and brought off the field in good order.

I take pleasure in mentioning the gallant conduct of Company B (numbering 30 men), under Lieut. A. E. Barr, and also of 7 men and Lieut. C. E. Belknap, of Company H. They were thrown forward as skirmishers early in the morning in the corn-field directly in front of the first position taken by the regiment. When the regiment was ordered into action these skirmishers were not called in. Cut off from the main body of the command and attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy, they rallied and made a stand behind the buildings before mentioned.

Here they held the enemy in check for nearly an hour, and successfully joined the regiment with the loss of but 1 man, and he killed instantly.

On account of the command not devolving upon me until the retreat began, I cannot speak with accuracy of the orders received or whether they were implicitly followed.

Permit me to testify to the coolness and gallantry of both officers and men of the command. Every one seemed to know his whole duty, and I believe the loss of the regiment and the small number missing not known to be wounded, will show that each performed it. And particularly conspicuous for their courage and daring were the two colonels, McCreery and Wells, who left their bodies on the field to testify to their devotion and well-doing.

The casualties of the regiment were as follows: Known to be killed, 10 enlisted men; wounded and within our lines, 2 officers and 58 enlisted men; wounded and missing, 3 officers and 16 enlisted men; missing, 2 officers and 15 enlisted men; making a sum total of
7 officers and 99 enlisted men.

On the 24th instant we had 1 man mortally wounded by the explosion of a shell from the rebel battery on Lookout Mountain.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SEYMOUR CHASE,
Major, Commanding Twenty-first Michigan Infantry.

Capt. JAMES A. GROVER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 20th Army Corps.

 

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