Recollection of Joseph Blessington, Skirmish at Richmond, June 15, 1863

Source citation
Joseph Palmer Blessington, The Campaigns of Walker’s Texas Division (New York: Lange, Little & Co., 1875), 110-112.
Type
Book
Date Certainty
Exact
Transcriber
Transcription adapted from The Campaigns of Walker’s Texas Division (1875), by Joseph Palmer Blessington
Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from The Campaigns of Walker’s Texas Division (1875).

After the battle of Milliken's Bend, we remained encamped near Richmond until the morning of the 15th (in the mean time our wounded and sick men were sent to Monroe). "When our pickets were driven in by the enemy, General Walker immediately formed the division in line of battle ; at the same time he ordered the 18th Infantry, under command of Colonel Culbertson, to take position at the upper crossing, about a mile north of Richmond, with instructions to hold the crossing at all hazards until he could get his wagon-train out of the way. Captain Edgar, having charged his guns with grape and canister, ordered six rounds of ammunition to be placed alongside of each gun. This having been accomplished, he ordered his men to conceal themselves as much as possible until he ordered them into action.

Presently, the enemy emerges out of the woods, and advances in martial array, their banners floating on the breeze, as if they were on parade. Colonel Culbertson passes along the line, speaking words of cheer to his men, telling them that the safety of the entire division was intrusted to them, and ordering their bayonets to be fixed. They stood like a stone wall, awaiting the approach of the enemy. On they came, like a huge avalanche pouring across the valley. It seemed to be a race with them, which of their regiments should be the most successful in capturing the rebel battery. Closer they came, until they got within about one hundred and fifty yards, when Captain Edgar ordered his men to be up and at them. Eight manfully did his men go into action, handling their guns with alacrity and cheerfulness, throwing grape and canister amongst them, and slaying them by hundreds. The ground was covered with their dead and wounded. Captain Edgar's men were playing havoc amongst them. The 18th Texas Infantry, commanded by the brave and fearless Colonel Culbertson, crossed the bayou and charged the enemy at the point of the bayonet, driving them pell-mell into the timber. They were panic-stricken, as they never stopped to resist the charge of the brave 500. Although their numbers exceeded 18,000, under command of one of their ablest generals, General Davis, they anticipated that they were ambushed. Getting into the timber, they finally rallied. In the mean time Colonel Culbertson withdrew his regiment across the bayou again, and rejoined the balance of the division. This charge made by the 18th Infantry will compare favorably with any regimental charge that has ever been recorded. Too much praise cannot be awarded to Colonel Culbertson and Captain Edgar and their men for their gallantry and cool presence of mind on this occasion. The division fell back to Bayou Macon on the arrival of Colonel Culbertson's Regiment and Captain Edgar's Battery.

General Walker anticipated that the enemy would follow him up as soon as they got over their fright. Once across Bayou Macon, General Walker contemplated giving battle. As was expected, the enemy's cavalry followed us up to Bayou Macon. Our rear-guard skirmished with them from Round- away Bayou up to within a few hundred yards of the crossing of the bayou.

One of their officers, more persevering or braver than the balance of them, advanced ahead of their main column. He came in contact with one of our soldiers who was tired and unable to keep up with the main body of our troops. He was ordered by the officer to surrender, whereupon he ordered the officer to surrender to him. Neither would surrender to the other ; consequently they commenced firing at each other. The private soldier proved to be the best shot, as he killed the officer. He took possession of the officer's horse and accouterments, and continued his march to camp. He arrived in camp in due time, and was highly complimented by his officers for his bravery. After crossing Bayou Macon we camped for the night, having marched ten miles.

During the greatest portion of the night we remained under arms and in line of battle. It was generally believed among the troops, that the enemy would attempt to cross the bayou during the night.

On the morning of the 16th we learned, much to our surprise, that the enemy had fallen back towards Milliken's Bend. We took up the line of march for the town of Delhi. While on the march we met General Tappan's Brigade of Arkansians [Arkansans], on a forced march, coming to our "rescue." They informed us that they heard a great many of "Walker's Greyhounds" had been captured by the enemy. After assuring them that the greyhounds were too quick for the enemy, they became reconciled. After marching twelve miles we camped for the night.

How to Cite This Page: "Recollection of Joseph Blessington, Skirmish at Richmond, June 15, 1863," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/index.php/node/29556.