REPORT OF CAPTAIN G. W. LYON,
Crawford Co. Artillery, Indiana Legion.
Leavenworth, Ind., July 25, 1863.
E. C. Caldwell, Adjutant 5th Regiment Indiana Legion, Leavenworth, Indiana:
Sir :—I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Crawford County Artillery in the recent engagement with Morgan’s forces at Brandenburg. About 6 P. M. of the 7th inst. the steamer Lady Pike—having been prevented from passing up, in consequence of the guerrillas at Brandenburg—came down and gave the information that the rebels, under Morgan, were at Brandenburg, and had possession of the steamers McCombs and Alice Dean. Our cannon—a six-pounder—was immediately placed aboard the Lady Pike, and in less than half an hour, with about thirty Home Guards, we were under way for the scene of action.
The boat fearing to proceed further up, landed us about two miles below Mauckport, on the Indiana shore, to which point we took our cannon by hand. Upon our arrival there we placed ourselves in command of Col. Timberlake, who was at Mauckport with about 100 Harrison County Home Guards, awaiting us. He marched us without halting, in the direction of Brandenburg, crossing Buck Creek at the mouth, in an old boat towed up from Mauckport for that purpose. There being no road, the taking -of our cannon by hand through meadows, corn-fields, and wheat-fields, rendered our march by no means pleasant. We arrived opposite Brandenburg about 7 o’clock next morning, after a tiresome march, and placed our gun in position on the river bank, in front of an old house, immediately opposite the landing, where the two captured steamers were lying. About 8 o’clock the fog, which had been quite dense, partially disappeared, giving us a glimpse of the boats. We immediately opened fire. The first shot, which passed through the McCombs, took them completely by surprise, causing a general stampede. About 200 were aboard of the steamer and in the act of starting across, when our first fire notified them of our presence. They stood not upon the order of their going, not even waiting to run out the stage plank, which had been taken in, but jumped their horses over the guards of the boat and took up the road on double quick, amid the firing and shouts of our little squad. Quite a number were seen to fall from their horses, three of whom we have since learned were killed, and two of Morgan’s staff and quite a number of privates are reported wounded —some of them severely. We having been reliably informed that the enemy numbered less than 200 men, and were without artillery, refrained from firing upon the boats, after their abandonment by the rebels, with the hope of saving them. There being no enemy then visible, we ceased firing, and the Colonel commanding ordered the McCombs to come over and take our forces across the river, but fortunately for us she failed to comply.
The rebels by this time had placed their guns in position and commenced shelling us from the Brandenburg Heights with two 12 and two 6-pounders, with telling effect.
We being in an open field, with no covering whatever, save the old log house, which was soon made untenable by the well directed shots of the enemy, were forced to fall back, and finally, the enemy having crossed the river, compelled to abandon our gun, having taken it by hand a distance of one-half mile. Not expecting to leave the boat when we started out, nothing but the gun and carriage and limber box were taken with us; consequently the limber and a portion of the fixtures were saved. A portion of the ammunition taken with us, which was concealed when the gun was taken, has since been recovered by the citizens of Maukport [sic], as I am informed; how much I am unable to state, as no report has been made to me.
The men stood by the gun until it was ordered off the field, doing their duty nobly.
Two men, Lieutenant Kerns and private Nance, of Harrison County, were killed while bravely assisting to remove the gun. Quite a number remained on the river bank amid the shot and shell of the enemy, bravely contesting their right to cross, until their boat had reached our shore, some of whom were captured, not having time to make their escape.
Everything was done that could have been done, under the circumstances, to save our cannon. No blame can be attached to any one, so far as my command extended.
I have the honor to be,
G. W. LYON, Captain Crawford County Artillery.
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