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[557] who said that the enemy had possession of the place, and that General Sherman was hid, but that they were hunting for him, and had probably found him; then two more citizens, who said that the rebels had left. Two miles this side of Colliersville we came to the first obstruction, a large culvert that had been burnt. Here Colonel O'Meara disembarked his force, and after distributing one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition to each man, we advanced. Arrived at the place, we found the report of the citizen last picked up to be the correct one. Before this, just after the cartridges were distributed, Colonel O'Meara, who had his sleeves rolled up, slaughter-house style, and was mounted on a very fine horse, and had his sword drawn — an ugly looking weapon, looking more like an elongated bowie-knife than a fieldofficer's sabremade us a short speech, telling us that General Sherman had sent for his regiment to come to his relief, and that, with the assistance of the brave fellows on his left, (that was, my boys,) and Captain Cheeney's battery, he was going to do it, let there be what there might in the way. This quite took with the men, and they cheered him.

At Colliersville he ordered me to report in person to General Sherman, and receive his commands relative to my two companies: I did so, telling General Sherman what my orders were with regard to returning by the first train, but he told me that he could not let us do so yet, that we knew more about railroads than his men, and must first repair the damages to the road behind us. Now this was something about which I knew about as much as a cow does about dancing; but as he requested me to first go down and see what damage was done and report, in company with Captain York of his staff, I started. It was a long way, and growing dark very rapidly; but Captain York being confident that the rebels had all left, we thought we could venture it alone. On the way he gave an account of the whole affair.

The attack commenced on the train just as it had passed the station, about ten o'clock. The telegraph operator there had run out with his gun in one hand, and motioning with the other for the train to stop. The conductor hurried to General Sherman to inquire whether he should or not, and the latter ordered him to back up to the station. This was no easy task, the train being unusually long and heavy, and the grade backward up hill; but after a little time it was accomplished, the rebels all the while continuing their firing.

“ When the train stopped,” said my informant, “I never saw line of battle formed so quick from off the tops of cars. It was a mystery to me how the men got off so quick.”

They fought for some time without the fort or earth-work, and then retreated inside, where Colonel Anthony's regiment, the Sixty-sixth Indiana, which garrisoned the post, already were.

Here the rebels sent in a written demand to surrender, signed, it was said, by General Pemberton's Adjutant. One of General Sherman's staff asked what reply they were to make to it. “Tell them ‘ no,’ of course,” said the General.

The attack was then renewed, and continued without intermission for some three hours-till after three o'clock--when a gallant lieutenant of the Thirteenth regulars, whose name I am sorry to have forgotten, made a charge upon them with thirty men, drove them like sheep, and they finally disappeared. They were all mounted, but fought part of the time on foot. They had several pieces of artillery, and we had none; but their practice was miserable — the poorest, General Sherman said, that. he had ever witnessed on their part.

Our loss was fifteen killed and thirty wounded, about equally divided between the Thirteenth regulars and Sixty-sixth Indiana, and the loss of the rebels was supposed to be about the same, though it could not be got. at exactly, as they were seen carrying off their dead and wounded. Right on the railroad track two were laying dead as we passed. One was a genuine type of the Butternut, dressed in a suit of that color, with a sallow complexion, long beard, and a ghastly wound in the side; the other was an old man, with his cartridge-box on, who was a resident in the neighborhood, had received protection papers from our Government, and, only a few days before, had been in the place, selling articles to the soldiers.

Of the conduct of the telegraph operator, Edw. F. Butler, I must speak in terms of the highest praise. Entirely unsolicited, he had taken his gun and fought gallantly at the breastworks till he was disabled by a shot in the left arm, when he turned over his gun to one who, he said, could then use it better than he. It was in excellent contrast to that of a brakesman on the train, who, after he had taken refuge and was cowering in the fort, was ordered by one of the officers to take up a musket, go to the breastworks, and fight for his life, but refused, saying that the Government paid him forty-five dollars a month to brake on that road, and that he had all that he could do to take care of his life now.

Of the colored servants belonging to the two regiments I must also speak. An Irish captain of the Thirteenth said: “I have always talked against the ‘damned’ niggers, and against making them soldiers; but, since I have seen what I have to-day, those brave fellows, to a man, without an officer saying a word to them, pick up guns and fight like devils at the breastworks, I have not a word to say.”

Another brakesman took refuge under a bridge, but the rebels making a charge in that direction, he made a “break” for the fort, but in passing the depot saw a darkey's woolly head sticking out of a hole underneath, and thinking that a more secure place of refuge, made a dive for it, and found himself securely ensconced among cobwebs, between four stone walls, where, in event of the rebels capturing the place, he determined to remain till they left, unless by burning the depot they should compel him to come out.

One of General Sherman's negroes remained

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