#107 – Capt. H. G. Latham

31 05 2008

Report of Capt. H. G. Latham, Commanding Section of Artillery

O.R.– SERIES I–VOLUME 2 [S# 2] — CHAPTER IX, pp. 553-554

The first section of my battery had been stationed for some days before the 21st on a bluff bank of Bull Run a short distance, say one hundred yards, on the left of the ford. It was aided by the second section of Rogers’ Loudoun Artillery, under Lieutenant Heaton. The second section of my battery, under Lieutenant Davidson, had been some days before detached and assigned to the command of Major (now Brigadier-General) Evans. About 10 o’clock on the morning of the 21st the enemy’s skirmishers appeared, crossing the open ground in my front. Almost at the same time they brought a single piece of artillery to bear upon my position, and opened fire. I returned the fire from my half battery, and immediately another gun was added to the first and joined in the fire upon me. They fired shot, shell, and grape. After a short time, however, their guns ceased firing, one or more of their pieces having been disabled by our fire, and my half battery remained for some time inactive.

I subsequently moved my half battery to an eminence in the open field about six hundred yards east of the Lewis house, for the purpose of protecting the advance of Colonels Withers and Preston’s regiments. Here I was rejoined by the left section of my battery, under command of Lieutenant Davidson. I was ordered by Captain Harris, of the Engineers, to advance; was conducted by him across the field to a position on the ridge about four hundred yards north of the Lewis house, where I remained but a short time, until I was conducted by him across a ravine leading to the mouth of Young’s Branch. I took position upon the ridge next beyond the ravine, being about three-quarters of a mile southwest of my first position, and about —- yards east of the Henry house. Here I opened fire upon the re-enforcements of the enemy appearing upon the brow of the hill a little to the right of our front, and distant about seven hundred yards. I continued this fire, and aided in checking the advance of the enemy, who were driven back from this point in disorder. I moved my battery about three hundred yards to the right, and continued to fire upon the retreat until the charge of our cavalry, near the close of the battle, rendered it no longer safe to our troops to do so.

For the action of my second section I must refer to the report of General Evans, to whose command they had been assigned, and with whom they acted during the battle. I feel it a duty to speak in terms of high approval of my command during the engagement. My lieutenant (Foukes) and my gunners (Richardson and Rice) rendered most efficient service. The men served the guns with spirit and skill. We endeavored to do our duty, leaving to others to attribute to us such commendations as we may deserve.

I cannot refrain from expressing my admiration of the skill and coolness with which Captain Harris, of the Engineers, selected and led me into position, and tender him my thanks for the kindness and courtesy with which he introduced me to my first field of actual service. I annex a report of the casualties of the day:

Casualties.–1 man wounded; 1 horse killed, 3 wounded.

Respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,

H. GREY LATHAM,

Captain, Artillery

Col. P. ST. GEORGE COCKE,

Commanding Fifth Brigade, Virginia Volunteers

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