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of the role of the 119th Illinois Vol. Inf.

in the capture of Fort DeRussy, Louisiana

From The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 34

No. 39.

Report of Col. Thomas J. Kinney, One-hundred and nineteenth Illinois Infantry, commanding regiment and First Brigade, of the capture of Fort De Russy.



                                     HEADQUARTERS 119TH ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS

                           On board steamer Adriatic, Alexandria, La., March 17, 1864.


COLONEL: I have the honor to present the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the action of the 14th instant, in which was captured Fort De Russy: We left Simsport at 9.30 p.m. the 13th; marched some 8 miles; went into camp at 1 a.m. of the 14th; commenced the march again at 5 a.m., marching a distance of 32 miles in less than twenty hours, our brigade being in the rear of division on the march. The ball was opened by the Third Indiana Battery before we came up. After a brisk firing on each side with artillery, I received your order for my regiment to move forward, passing the Ninth Indiana Battery, and to form line on the left of the road and in rear of Third Indiana Battery, with our right resting on the road and to move forward,. which was done. This line was formed at 4.45 p.m. After moving forward through the field and into the wood I was ordered to halt my command and wait for the Fifty-eighth Illinois, which had formed on the right of the road, to come up on a line with me. When the line was complete, by your order, I moved forward again. After moving some 150 yards farther forward. I was ordered by Captain --, of General Mower's staff, to move by the left flank, filing to the right, in order to flank the front. I accordingly did so, taking the lead of the brigade, followed by the Eighty-ninth Indiana (Colonel Murray) and Fifty-eighth Illinois (Major Newlan). We moved by the flank around to the extreme left of the fort, completely surrounding the same, and formed line within 100 yards of the works of the enemy. We halted for a moment to see that the formation was complete with the Eighty-ninth and Fifty-eighth, when the enemy opened upon us with musketry, which was returned with vigor and coolness for a moment; then your order was received to charge the works. I immediately gave the command to charge, and with bayonets fixed, with loud cheering, the men moved forward upon the works without a falter until the works were carried. Upon rising the works I discovered a white flag floating from the enemy's works, which indicated that they had surrendered. In this engagement I lost in killed 1 man, mortally wounded 2, and slightly wounded 7; total killed and wounded, 10.

It is impossible for me to particularize in regard to the actions or bravery of any one officer or man. All did their duty well and bravely, and I am proud to say that in this the first general engagement in which my regiment has participated, that it has so nobly and fully come up to the expectations of its commander. It is not possible for me to say positively who entered or what regiment entered the works first: it is claimed by every regiment that was engaged in the charge. It is my opinion that the right of my regiment was upon the works the first of any. The colors of the Fifty-eighth Illinois or the Eighty-ninth Indiana were up before my colors were. This was owing to the distance from the works and the obstructions in the way of the charge and in ascending the works. It is a small matter of contention who entered first, as all entered nearly the same time, and there could not have been one minute's difference in the time of which the whole brigade was inside the works; and I can only say that the First Brigade was the rear in column on the march, was the last brigade in position (having passed completely around the enemy's works), the first to make the charge, the first to enter the works, and the first to plant the national flag inside the fort. To the officers and men under my command I tender my thanks for their skill, coolness, and bravery, and to officers under whose command I am I can only say that I am proud to be commanded by them.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,



Colonel, Commanding.


Commanding First Brigade.