July 21, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that on May 17 the Twenty-third Alabama was ordered to take position on either side of the railroad on west bank of Big Black River, and hold the enemy in check should they attempt to cross. At this time the bridge was burning. Owing to the fact that the regiment did not receive the order to fall back when the rest of the army retreated toward Vicksburg, Colonel [F. K.] Beck, commanding Twenty-third Alabama, held his position during the whole of the 17th under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery and sharpshooters, which we returned with effect.
At 1 a.m. of May 18, we took up the line of march, and consequently did not reach Vicksburg until late in the morning of the 18th. In the afternoon we were ordered to take our position in the trenches with the rest of our brigade, the Twentieth Alabama occupying our right and the Thirty-first Alabama on our left. The Twenty-third Alabama held the position assigned it during the siege under an incessant fire from the enemy in our front. The artillery fire was severe during the whole siege, with occasional brief intermissions. At times it was excessively heavy. During the whole time the men and officers discharged their duty with firmness and steadiness. The fire from our trenches upon the enemy was slow and deliberate. We did not waste our powder, but no Abolitionist could show his head without danger from ball or buck-shot. The necessity for constant watchfulness made the sentinel duty at night heavy and wearing, but the men, with a noble devotion to the cause in which their hearts are enlisted, stood to their posts with patience and cheerfulness. The enemy, much to the regret of the men, made no direct attack on the trenches which the Twenty-third Alabama held, but they received a heavy and effective fire from us as they came into range of our guns in their attempts on the left and right of our brigade.
Owing to Colonel Beck's having his leg badly broken by a kick from a horse on the march from Vicksburg to this place, the duty has devolved on me, as the senior with the regiment during the siege, to make this report. I regret this, as our gallant colonel would doubtless have had a more extended report to make. I trust he will see fit to make all additional report when able, that honor may be given to whom honor is due.
Below you will find a statement of the casualties in this regiment from May 17 to July 4, inclusive. Casualties in Twenty-third Alabama during the siege of Vicksburg: Killed, 17; wounded, 15.
Lieut. M. A. Cobb, an efficient and gallant officer, was severely but it is hoped not dangerously wounded in the head. Two of those included in the wounded have since died of their wounds.
Yours, very respectfully,
A. C. ROBERDS
Captain Company C, Twenty-third Alabama.