#99 – Col. M. Jenkins

14 03 2008

 

Report of Col. M. Jenkins Fifth South Carolina Infantry

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp 541-543

HDQRS. FIFTH REG’T SOUTH CAROLINA VOLS

McLean’s Ford, July 22, 1861

SIR: I beg leave to make the following brief report of the occurrences of yesterday as they relate to my regiment:

When I had thrown my regiment in the position indicated by your orders, and found that the enemy had discovered our approach, I formed front under the brow of a hill. The enemy opening upon us a heavy fire of grape and shell, I advanced quickly over very difficult ground. While gallantly charging in fine order our friends in the rear poured in upon me heavy fires of musketry, cutting us up sadly. This compelled a halt, which I made upon gaining the brow of the hill upon which the enemy was stationed. Here, under a terrific fire of shell, I reformed and dressed my lines, and reloaded such guns as had been fired. Expecting the reserve to form to the rear to my support, I made every preparation to renew my charge upon the batteries, when I discovered that I was isolated in the presence of the enemy’s guns, cavalry, and three or four regiments of infantry.

Doubtful whether to advance unsupported against such great odds of position and men, I sent to you three times for orders, and retained my position amid the bursting of shell and threats of attack for three-quarters of an hour. Throwing to the front Captain Seabrook’s company as sharpshooters, and finding a large force threatening to charge, I withdrew them and placed Company A (Captain Goss) and Company B (Captain Jackson) in advance, in a skirt of woods upon my right, with orders to open upon the enemy, which was promptly executed and with effect, the artillerists leaving their guns and the troops retiring to the wood immediately in their rear.

Not hearing from the brigade, and the enemy being impregnable to a small body like mine, I decided unwillingly to withdraw and leaving Companies A and B to prevent a sudden attack, retired in order a short distance, when I threw into position Company C (Captain Seay) and Company H (Captain Bower), and called in the two Companies A and B, and, forming column, slowly and in order left the ground.

My observation, limited to a portion of the regiment, at times prevented my noticing all who behaved well. I notice with pleasure, as coming under immediate observation, the coolness and good conduct of Lieut. Col. G. W. H. Legg, in addition to the captains mentioned as performing special orders. I was greatly pleased with the coolness and conduct of others. Captains Giles, Carpenter, and, in fine, all under my observation, obeyed with promptness and kept good order in their ranks. Many lieutenants pleased me by self-possession and coolness, and would no doubt have given signal proof of gallantry and conduct had opportunity offered. My adjutant, Lieut. E. B. Clinton, also greatly pleased me by his conduct. I could notice a general desire to do their duty, and specially marked as encouraging the men were Privates Fernandez and Long, of Captain Glenn’s company. I also hear Private Scaife, of Captain Goss’ company, highly spoken of as aiding his company in its hour of trial.

I can only refer to the providence of a merciful God our success, as the enemy left the field under so small an attacking force; to His protection, our safety and comparatively small loss under so heavy a fire.

The enemy fired seventy-four shots at us, and my killed amounted only to three and my wounded to twenty-three.

Most respectfully,

M. JENKINS,

Colonel

General D. R. JONES,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Third Brigade

P. S. — I should have stated that Company K., Captain Walker, was deployed on my right flank as skirmishers, and the road being unknown and the thicket dense was separated from the regiment.  Some few of the members, having become separated from the company, with Sergeant Blassingame, joined us.

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