Report of
Col. Joseph R. Cockerill
Seventieth Ohio Infantry

 

Report of Col. Joseph R. Cockerill, Seventieth Ohio Infantry. Col. Cockerill's 70th Ohio was the third regiment in Buckland's Brigade. It started to the left of the 48th but after Col. Sullivan counter marched the 48th it was on the right of the 48th in center of the brigade at the start of the battle. This regiment and the 48th were together through the entire battle , except for a short period described in Col. Buckland's report, so the far more complete report of the 70th is useful in tracking events that also effected the 48th during the battle and Sherman's brief pursuit of the retreating Confederates. This report was written to Col. Buckland.

 


 

KY., TENN., N. MISS., N. ALA., AND SW. VA.
PITTSBURG LANDING, OR SHILOH, TENN.
OR: Chap XXII pp. 270-272.
No. 74.

Report of Col. Joseph R. Cockerill, Seventieth Ohio Infantry.

CAMP, SHILOH, April 10, 1862.

      SIR: On Sunday morning, April 6, 1862, an alarm was made in the front of this brigade, and I called my regiment from breakfast and formed it in line of battle on color line. I then heard heavy firing on the left and in front of our line, and advanced my regiment about 200 paces in the woods, and formed line of battle, in pursuance of your order. I ordered my regiment to open fire, with the left thrown back, and did great execution among the enemy, who retired into the hollow. We remained in this position two hours. After this I found that the enemy was turning our left flank and about one half mile to the left of Shiloh Meeting-House, and was rapidly advancing at almost right angles with our line. Having received no order I retired to my color line, and while in this position the enemy from the hill in front opened upon us with shot and shell, and some few were killed and several wounded. We then retired to the rear of the camp, having no support, and seeing the enemy near by on the left flank, I formed my regiment in line of battle in the small ravine and at right angles with the camp, and remained in that position until ordered by Captain Hammond to retire to the Purdy road and form line of battle. I formed on the road, but so many retiring troops mingled with us we became much broken and separated. I retired about 400 yards by the right flank, and finding the rebels advancing almost parallel with us, we opened fire, which did good service. This was about 12 m. Soon after this Colonels McDowell, Hicks, and others formed their regiments and I fell in with them, and we advanced to the northeast across the open fields and into the fire then raging in McClernand's camp, where I was ordered by General Sherman to file to the left in line of battle; which maneuver I executed well under the circumstances, the enemy's fire being very heavy. All the troops were forced back to the end of the camp under this tremendous fire, and the loss on both sides must have been heavy. We were compelled to fall back, and I again formed line on the top of the next ridge, when you arrived with your regiment and we bivouacked for the night, being exposed most of the time to a severe rain-storm. Our pickets were placed in advance by your order, and all was reasonably quiet during the night.
      Early on the morning of the 7th a severe cannonade was opened by General Wallace's battery on our right, we were ordered to advance, which we did in good order, the forty-eighth on the right, Seventieth in the center, and Seventy-second on the left. We, under your orders and that of General Sherman, after advancing about one-half mile, were moved to the right and ascended a hill and passed by the flank under a severe tire, where we were ordered to halt and remained for about two hours, while the batteries on both sides were in full play. About 12 m. we were ordered to advance, and the Seventy second, Forty-eighth, and Seventieth (in this order) advanced to the southeast about three-quarters of a mile into McClernand's camp (precisely the position occupied by the Seventieth the day before), where we deployed into line under the immediate orders and presence of General Sherman (superintended by yourself), where we opened fire with good effect upon the enemy, one-half of the Seventieth Regiment firing to the right and the other to the left oblique. The enemy fell back under this fire, and we advanced to the edge of the woods at the head of the camp near a pond.
      Our ammunition at this point failed, part of General McCook's division coming up opened upon the enemy in fine style. The whole brigade retired to receive a fresh supply of ammunition, which as soon as we received we again advanced over the same ground and towards our encampment; but the enemy was rapidly retiring and we entered our original camp about 5 o'clock p. m. Our camp had been torn clown by the enemy, and we lay upon our arms during the night exposed to a severe rain-storm, the enemy having hastily retreated and with great loss.
      Our camp was plundered of nearly everything-officers' uniforms, camp, equipments, blankets, knapsacks, haversacks, clothing, &c. Our men when called out on Sunday morning, supposed it was only to support the pickets, who had been in constant alarm for the two preceding days, and we never made any provision whatever for any retreat. In this great battle for two consecutive days, from morning till night, under the most terrific fire of modern times, I am happy to state that our loss is comparatively small: Killed, 9; wounded, 57; missing, 36.*
      A large number of non-commissioned officers and privates behaved themselves under the most trying circumstances like old veterans. They deserve to be remembered for their good conduct. Many other brave men were broken and separated in the melee, and found their way into other regiments; some others were panic-stricken, and did not return until the battle was over. I believe the regiment will at any time prove itself effective, and trust its conduct in the battle will elicit your commendation.
      Lieutenant-Colonel Loudon and Major McFarren gave me their aid and support and displayed great gallantry and good conduct. Each of these officers had their horses shot in the engagement. Captains Brown, Summers, and Wilson discharged their duties in every particular, and proved themselves to be brave, gallant, and effective officers, and stood with the regiment from first to last. Captain Naylor became separated from the regiment during the 6th, and returned early on the morning, of the 7th, and fought with us throughout the day. First Lieutenant Philips (adjutant of the regiment) and Campbell performed their duties in every respect as brave and gallant officers. Lieutenant Drennin became separated on Sunday about 2 p. m., returned to the regiment early on Monday, and performed his duty throughout the day. Second Lieutenants Spurgeon, of B; Surgeon, of E; Nelson, Cooper, Denham, Ellis, and Adams performed their duties to my entire satisfaction. Lieutenant Taylor was wounded early in the action and has since had his right arm amputated, being the only severely wounded officer in the regiment.
      In submitting this short report, made so soon after the action, I may have omitted some particulars of small moment, but it is in all respects substantially correct. I will submit a more minute account at some future day, and speak more fully in reference to individual conduct, both as to men and officers.
      I desire to call your attention to the fact that, on the morning of the 8th instant, this regiment, under the orders of General Sherman, turned out about 500 men in line of battle, with nearly all its officers, and marched under your immediate direction about 5 miles towards Corinth after the retreating enemy, and returned about 10 p. m., after a heavy and fatiguing march.
      You were an eye-witness of the whole of this day's proceedings, and can speak of the efficiency and good conduct of the entire regiment, both officers and men, throughout the entire day.
      Respectfully submitted.
          
                                                            J. R. COCKERILL
                                    Commanding Seventieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Colonel BUCKLAND,
      Comdg. Fourth Ohio Brig., Fifth Div., Army of the Tennessee.

*But see revised statement, p. 104.

  

 

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