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[718] struck at Trion by Gen. Cuxton, who had been detached by Wilson at Elyton, and who had interposed between Jackson's force and his train, and was to be attacked by Jackson this morning. Chalmers was at Marion, south of Tuskaloosa; and all were moving, under Forrest's direction, to concentrate upon and defend Selma. A note from Cuxton — who had been detailed to strike Tuskaloosa — now apprised Wilson that he should post-pone this enterprise, and fight Jackson, with intent to prevent his junction with Forrest. Wilson hereupon directed McCook to move rapidly to Centerville, cross the Cahawba, and push on, via Scottsborough, to strike Jackson. McCook found Jackson well posted near Scottsborough, and, hearing nothing of Cuxton, did not venture to attack, but recoiled, after a sharp skirmish; burning the Scottsboroa factory and Centerville bridge, and rejoining Wilson near Selma.

Wilson was moving eagerly and in force on Selma, driving small parties of Rebel cavalry, when he was brought to a halt by Forrest, strongly posted on Boyle's creek, near Plantersville, with a creek on his right and a high, wooded ridge on his left, with 4 guns planted to sweep the Randolph and 2 on the Maplesville road, whereon our troopers were advancing. He had in line about 5,000 men, mainly cavalry (Roddy's division, with Armstrong's and Crossland's brigades), with his front covered by rail barricades and abatis. Wilson had here Long's and Upton's divisions — perhaps 6,000 in all, but all veterans, of excellent quality, and admirably led.

Long arrived first, on our right; when, dismounting and forming his men on the left of the road, he charged, breaking the Rebel line. Lt.-Col. Frank White, with 4 companies of the 17th Indiana (mounted), being ordered forward, rode over the Rebel guns, cutting his way out with a loss of 17 men; among them Capt. Frank Taylor, killed.

Gen. Alexander, leading Upton's division, hearing the noise of the fight, came rapidly up on the Maplesville road; dismounting and deploying his brigade, and going right in on the left, with such energy that the enemy were soon in headlong flight, leaving 2 guns and 200 prisoners to Alexander, and 1 gun to Long. Winslow's brigade now took the advance, and pursued sharply to Plantersville, 19 miles from Selma; but the fugitives could not be overtaken. Forrest had been driven 24 miles that day.

Long's division now1 took the lead, followed by Upton's; and all, by 4 P. M., were in sight of Selma. Forrest had here a motley force of perhaps 7,000 men; but many of them green conscripts — boys and old men — and not to be relied on. He was indisposed to attempt the defense of extensive works with such a force; but Dick Taylor, his superior, had been here, and ordered him to hold the town at all hazards — disappearing on a southward-going train directly afterward. Forrest, with a doubting heart, prepared to do his best. His works were good and strong; extending, in a semicircle of three miles, from the Alabama above the city to that river below it.

Wilson had here 9,000 men. After carefully reconnoitering, he directed

1 April 2.

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