the white tents of the rebels to the left of the town, and next the rebels themselves drawn up in line of battle across the road, with his wings extending into the timber on either side. The column was instantly thrown into line of battle across the road, skirmishers pushed in advance, the cavalry sent off to the left to make a detour, and get in the rear of the enemy, while the artillery turned to the right of the road and took position on a little eminence in a wheat-field. The battery went into position on a gallop, and almost as soon as I have written it, they unlimbered and opened on the rebels. Alas! for the chivalry — alas! for those brave and chivalrous souls who profess to eat up five-fold their number in Yankees, and to die in the last ditch. The whiz of their first rifled shot affected them unpleasantly — the second made them worse, and then, as they looked and saw a regiment of steel coming straight at their breasts, and a force of cavalry creeping around to their rear, and reflected for a moment how unpleasant were the sensations caused by bayonet, sabre and cannonshot, they turned tail and ingloriously fled, without firing a gun! It would have amused an admirer of speed to have seen these “natural lords of the soil” travel--to have seen these chivalrous scions — these “dying-in-the-last-ditch” fellows — these warm-blooded, gallant sons of the sunny South drop their old shot-guns, drop their variegated blankets, and shoot with straight coat-tails as fast as long legs, and be-threshed and be-spurred horses could carry them, and all this from a force not half their own in numbers! The platform seemed to be, “A fair start, or any start, and the devil take the hindmost;” the bull-calf, to which Falstaff was likened, never so ran and roared as did these valiant haters of Yankees — these bowie-knife, whisky-brave, nobly-descended sons of the Huguenots. Jamais arriere seemed to be the motto of all; and frantic and superhuman were the efforts made by each to bring no disgrace upon so worthy a sentiment. Some seven individuals, who were swindled in getting a fair start, were cut off by our cavalry, and preferring surrender to death, quietly laid down their arms and gave themselves up. These were all the prisoners taken; the balance made good their escape, and probably ere this are safe in Memphis, and are rejoicing the hearts of the rebels there by relating how they slew hecatombs of Yankees, and after demolishing them completely, fell back in accordance with a “previous order.” The haste of the rebels was such in leaving, that they left all their tents standing and their personal property untouched. There was a large amount of stores at the depot, but these had been placed on a train several days before, and were run off early Monday morning. The only articles found were the tents and baggage, and a mail-bag full of letters that had apparently just arrived, and had not been distributed. Our forces advanced, preserving the line of battle, until they reached the centre of the clearing. The artillery was then brought forward, and placed in a position so as to command the country in every direction; after which, guards being stationed, a leisurely examination was made of the town. There were a few people left, who expressed the greatest joy at the sight and success of the Union troops. As a matter of course they were Union--always had been Union--and were only kept from a free expression of their sentiments by the presence of the Southern soldiers. These expressions of loyalty were not taken at par; in fact, I have the assurance that there is not a loyal soul in the whole place, except, it may be, among the negroes. These came around in great numbers, and seemed mightily pleased at the pageantry afforded by the military gathering. One gaily-dressed female, who is blacker than a stormy midnight, remarked to another ebony damsel in my hearing, that “Dem Yankees is a heap better lookina dan de Suthen fellows!” She further remarked that she was “gwine to hev a dress made of red, white and blue,” which, of course, would be a compliment of the highest character to the National cause, and together with black, would afford a highly artistic grouping of colors. The rebel force holding this place was composed as follows: Twenty-first Tennessee, Lieut.-Col. Tilman, and seven companies of cavalry, Lieut.-Col. Jackson. The Twenty-first Tennessee numbered six hundred and sixteen men, and is the regiment formerly commanded by Col. Pickett. The cavalry was commanded by Col. Logwood, but since the affair at Columbus, he from some cause, has concluded to resign. The entire force, in round numbers, was about one thousand men. The infantry were well armed, having in a majority of cases either Minie muskets or French rifles; the cavalry had sabres, carbines, and generally navy revolvers. Several flags and guidons were left behind. One of the latter is marked “C. S.,” and beneath this “M. L. D.,” either Memphis or Mississippi Light Dragoons. The usual number of shot-guns, blankets and other rebel equipments, were found lying around loose, and were, in the case of the first-named, loaded into a wagon and carried off. The blankets were discreetly let alone, as it is a very generally well-known fact, that rebel clothing is about as full of a certain nameless insect as the rebels themselves are full of chivalry and superiority to the balance of human kind, especially that portion known as Yankees. The tents and barracks were committed to the flames, the mail-bag hoisted into a wagon, and soon after the National column started for Hickman, which place they reached about three o'clock this afternoon. Our arrival was the occasion of no little rejoicing to the Union citizens, and of chagrin to the disloyal. During our absence it was confidently predicted by the latter that we would “catch---” at Union City; and so certain did some of them feel of it, that they got pretty drunk, so as to have a good start on a big drunk as soon as the news of our defeat should arrive.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Doc . 2 .-fight at Port Royal, S. C. January 1 , 1862 .
Doc . 82 .-fight in Hampton roads , Va. , March 8th and 9th , 1862 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.