APRIL 16, 1862









The last days were very fateful. Yesterday, the 7th, at 5 o'clock in the morning, we marched off from Pittsburg on the left bank of the Tennessee River. Nelson's division was on the left wing, and our regiment (6th Ky.) served as skirmishers; my and Capt. Martin's companies served as the forward-most skirmishers, which delighted us greatly. Around 6 o'clock we collided with the Rebels; the dance began immediately, and lasted until 8 o'clock in the evening. It cannot be looked at as a battle, but rather as a genuine slaughter. How many thousands were killed on each side cannot yet be said. The field is 7 to 8 miles long and just as wide. My brother Anton was wounded in the leg; however, not dangerously. Of the German officers, Capt. Stein, Lt. Dettweiler and, as I said, my brother, were wounded. How many dead soldiers we have is not yet known. From my company, only four were wounded and a few are missing. With this affair, we have again discovered how good it is when one is properly drilled before he attacks the enemy.

Around 10 a.m. our regiment made a bayonet charge on the Rebels, which they could not withstand; two of their regiments fled; however, they came back again reinforced, so we had to retreat. How many troops took part in the battle I cannot report exactly. One believes, however, that at noon, two hundred fifty-thousand men stood in the fire. The cannons made the earth rise; people and horses were running wildly, and I have never seen men more bloodthirsty and bold.

At certain places, fifty-to-sixty dead layed in an area about 20 paces in circumference. The sight of the dead and wounded lying around here was truly horrible. At places where there was thick undergrowth, it was mowed down by the gunfire.

The day before, General Grant had a hot fight with the Rebels and was beaten back; and if General Buell had not come at the right time with his army to help, the Rebels would have driven General Grant and his army into the Tennessee River. Our regiment made a very good showing, and is referred to by some regiments as the "bloody Sixth." It stood like a wall; and, just for that reason, our people escaped. If they had fallen back in disorder, probably all would have been killed. Our determined action and proper maneuvers instilled in the Rebels the respect

which they generally have for the German soldiers. Because of this severe strain we are also worn out. We were on the march for 11 days before we came into the battle; and had nothing to eat but crackers and ham, and had no rest. We cursed sometimes about Nelson during the hard and long marches; but we have now seen we were wrong, and seen how necessary this march was. Meanwhile, we, for that reason, prevented much disaster and large losses; because on the second day of the battle was won back all that was lost on the first day and, with it, much more; and when we complete it, cut off their path, then it is soon finished for them. It is said that their commanding general was killed and Beauregard was wounded.

Our wounded are supposed to be taken to Louisville.

The wounded from my company are: Jacob Kimmel, Peter Laux, Markus Schmidt and H. Kalkoffer. Charles Franke is missing.

Capt. Stein is supposed to be seriously wounded.

In our regiment there are approximately 100 dead and missing.

Next time more details.

I am healthy and in good spirits.

Bernhard Hund

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