Reports of the actions of the “High Pressure Brigade” at Shiloh— Monday April 7th
Excerpts from "Lest We Forget-The Immortal Seventh Mississippi"-R. Skellie, editor. 2005
"SUNDAY April 7, 1862
Early on the following morning I received notice that the enemy was advancing, and was ordered by General Withers to fall back about a half mile and form on the right of General Jackson's brigade and follow him over to the left, where it was supposed the fight would be. We fell back and waited for General Jackson to file past to the left, intending to follow him, as directed, but before we could get away the enemy came charging rapidly upon us, and the fight of the second day commenced. We waited quietly until the enemy advanced within easy range, when we opened fire upon him and he fled.”
“We then attempted to move by the left flank so as to follow General Jackson, when we were again attacked and a fight of about one hour and a half ensued, from which we retired after having exhausted our ammunition.
During this engagement Maj. F. E. Whitfield was severely wounded in the hip and brought to the rear. Our ammunition wagons not being at hand, we fell back to the first camp that we had taken from the enemy, where we found an abundant supply of the appropriate caliber.
I had sent a staff officer to General Withers about an hour before for assistance, and re-enforcements now arrived, under my gallant commander, Brigadier-General Withers, who, it gives me pleasure to testify, was always found at the right place, at the right time, guiding and supporting whatever portion of his division needed assistance.”
“I formed the re-enforcements, consisting of the Crescent Regiment Louisiana Volunteers, a Tennessee regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Venable, and an Alabama regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Chadick, into line and moved them forward to meet the enemy, after having turned over the command of my own brigade to Col. R. A. Smith, of the Tenth Mississippi Regiment, with instructions to hold himself 1,000 yards in the rear in reserve. The re-enforcements skirmished a while with the enemy, but when the first serious charge was made upon them they broke, and Colonel Smith was compelled to bring my brigade again to the front. The fight raged fiercely for some time, and my men were compelled to retire in some confusion, being overwhelmed by the superior number of the enemy.”
“After retreating about 300 yards they were rallied and drawn up in line at the foot of a hill. The enemy pursued slowly until he came within range of our fire, when he was boldly met, and in turn driven back, until we had again occupied the ground we had previously left.”
“Here the enemy was re-enforced and the fight renewed, and we were gradually being driven back down the hill again when Col. Preston Smith arrived with the One hundred and fifty-fourth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers and Blythe's Mississippi Volunteers, who came gallantly to our assistance and took position on our right. Believing that one bold charge might change the fortunes of the day, I called upon my brigade to make one more effort, but they seemed too much exhausted to make the attempt, and no appeal seemed to arouse them.”
Final Charge-Chalmers Rallies the Brigade
“As a last resort I seized the battleflag from the color-bearer of the Ninth Mississippi Regiment, and called on them to follow. With a wild shout the whole brigade rallied to the charge, and we drove the enemy back and reoccupied our first position of the morning, which we held until the order to retreat was received, when we fell back in good order, the enemy not daring to pursue. Colonel Wheeler, of the Nineteenth Alabama Regiment Volunteers, was, with a small remnant of his regiment, fighting with the Mississippians, on foot himself, and bearing the colors of his command.”
Death of Lt. Col. William A. Rankin, 9th Miss.
“In this last charge, so gallantly made, the Ninth Mississippi sustained a heavy loss in the fall of its brave commander, Lieut. Col. William A. Rankin, who fell mortally wounded after having led his men fearlessly throughout the whole of the first and second day. Most of my command behaved well. Col. R. A. Smith, of the Tenth Mississippi Regiment, was particularly distinguished for his bold daring, and his clarion voice could be heard above the din of battle cheering on his men.”
Source: General Chalmers-Official Report
Monday April 7th
Buell Reinforced-We Drove them to the River and Drawed Off
“Reinforced by Buell, they renewed the attack Monday morning. We drove them back to the river and at night we drawed off. Reports say the Yanks lost 20,000 killed. We took about 10,000 prisoners and took seven wagons loads of guns and sixty five canons.”
“Jeff Williams [Their brother, Jefferson W. Wilkinson, Co. C] was killed on Sunday.”
Whistling of the Balls, Shots and Shells-Thick as Hail
“Cage it is useless for me to undertake to describe the whistling of the balls, shots & shells. They were as thick as hail. If it had not been for their Gun Boats we would have gained the greatest victory that ever was gained on the continent. All of our boys are satisfied of fighting, but they say if they ever come here, they will give it to them again. I saw a great many funny little pranks in the battle. If it is the lords will for me to ever return home I will tell you all about it.”
Source: Benjamin Franklin Wilkinson, Co. C 7th Regt. Miss. Inf.
Monday It Starts Again
“Early the next morning the enemy, with heavy reinforcements, came against us, while our forces were very much demoralized, half of the men scattered in every direction so as to be unavailable, unmanageable; but those who were left stood firm until they were forced back by overwhelming numbers. About two O'clock P.M. our army began to withdraw in tolerable good order. The enemy did not pursue us further, but returned well satisfied with what they had done.”
Retreat to Monterey Orderly-Bad Roads, Exhausted
“Our retreat was by no means hasty, but slow and orderly, but disagreeable on account of the bad state of the roads from the rain on Monday night. Out brigade came back to Monterey a little before nightfall, tolerably wore out.”
Greatest Battle Fought on the Continent
“Thus ended the greatest, most destructive battle ever fought on this continent, the enemy losing about twenty thousand killed, wounded and prisoners and ours being about seven thousand. Both sides claim a victory. We had a great one, the greatest probably ever achieved on Sunday, part of which we secured. They regained their lost ground and some apart of the stores, etc., captured by us the day preceding. If it had not been for their gunboats, our success would without much doubt have [been] ultimately complete and decisive. But these [Gunboats] could operate so well in shelling us that on Sunday night we had to fall back a mile or two in order to evade their destructive explosions. But during the night some of the guns and other things captured were removed to a place of security.”
Source: Job Foxworth Co. D 7th Regt. Miss. Inf.
Blythe’s Regiment Fights with the 7th for the First Time
"Telling the story of this battle also must include the other units that would fight as part of the “High Pressure Brigade.” Blythe’s regiment [designated 44th Miss. after Murfreesboro] fought for the first time with Chalmer’s Brigade by joining in the final desperate charge on Monday. Two future leaders of the “High Pressure Brigade” made their debut in the official record: Capt. Jacob Sharp of Blythe’s Regiment who would succeed generals Chalmers and Tucker as Brigadier General and Lt . Brownrigg who would become famous with the 9th Battn. Mississippi Sharpshooters."
“The remnant went through the battle of the 7th also. Colonel Smith [Col. Preston Smith 154th Tenn. Vols.] gave honorable mention to Lieutenant Brownrigg, Captains Sharpe and Nesbit, and the other company officers whose conduct came under his observation. With Marcus J. Wright's Tennessee Regiment and Joe Wheeler's Alabamians they reinforced Chalmers in time to take part in the last desperate charge against overwhelming odds.”[Rowland]
Source: Lest We Forget-The Immortal Seventh Mississippi-R. Skellie, editor
“Seen the Afulist Sight”
“I have seen the afulist sight sence I saw you that I ever saw in my life. I have bin in the biggest battle that has ever bin fought in this country so sed by people that has bin in them and was in this. The fight commenst Sunday morning about daylight and Sunday evening about sundown the enemy retreated to there gunbotes and fort fication and we went down there and hit was so late then we hadint time and they bumbed us so that we came back to these camps and stade all knight and then the fight comenst Monday morning very early and we fought them till late in the evening an then we retreated back to Corinth ajaison [adjacent] of the tracks and some stade ther in the battle feald all night Monday night."
Source: Richard B. Pittman, Co. F 7th Regt. Miss. Inf.
Monday April 7th —Monday Fighting Commenced Again
Fought Fresh Yankee Troops—Whipped Them Again
“Early on Monday morning the fighting commenced again. Our troops worn out from the fight on Sunday fought their fresh troops and whipped them again on Monday.”
Source: John A. Cato, Co. E 7th Regt. Miss. Inf.
Our Little Colonel Mayson—A Brave Man
“Our little Col Mayson [Hamilton Mayson] never got off his horse or behind a tree the whole time of the fight. He is as brave a man as ever went into battle. In the third engagement we got into on Sunday they made a pretty firm stand and had the advantage of us in the ground and number as we fell back down the hill out of their sight and dressed the lines.”
Charge Bayonets-Yanks Retreated Double Quick-Mississippi Rebel Yell
“Then Col Mayson gave the command charge bayonet and rode ahead of the regt. and called come on boys. They raised a whoop and went at the Yanks Double Quick they retreated Double Quick from us never could stand a charge. One of the prisoners we took asked me if we was not Miss troops. I told him yes and he said he thought we were from the way we whooped.”
Source: Zachariah L. Everett, Co. C 7th Regt. Miss. Inf.