previous next

[166] The wadding having given out, he pulled off his coat and rammed it down as wadding, and thus kept up the fire until the enemy were finally repulsed.

On the evening of this day we received information of the arrival of additional reenforcements of the enemy, of infantry, cavalry, and light artillery, by steamboat, all of which were disembarked a short distance below our position.

On the fourteenth inst., the enemy was busy throwing his forces at every arm around us, extending his line of investment around our position, and completely enveloping us. On the evening of this day, we ascertained that the enemy had received additional reenforcements by steamboat. We were now surrounded by immense force, said by persons to amount to fifty-two regiments, and every road and possible avenue of departure were cut off, with the certainty that our sources of supply by the river would soon be cut off by the enemy's batteries placed upon the river above us.

At a meeting of the general officers, called by Gen. Floyd, it was unanimously determined to give the enemy battle next day at daylight, so as to cut open a route of exit for our troops to the interior of the country, and thus to save our army. We had knowledge that the principal portion of the enemy's forces were massed in encampment in front of our extreme left, commanding the two roads leading into the interior, one of which we must take in leaving our position. We knew that he had massed in encampment another large force on the Union Ferry road, opposite the centre of our left wing. His fresh arrival of troops which encamped on the bank of the river, two and a half miles below us, from which latter encampment a stream of fresh troops was continually pouring around us on his line of investment, and thus strengthening his general encampment on the extreme right. At each of his encampments and on each road he had a position, a battery of field-artillery and twenty-four pound iron guns on siege-carriages. Between these encampments on the roads was a thick undergrowth of brush and black-jack, making it impossible to advance or manoeuvre any considerable body of troops.

The plan of attack agreed upon, and directed by Gen. Floyd to be executed, was, that with the main body of the force of our left wing I should attack the right wing of the enemy, occupying and resting upon the heights reaching to the bank of the river, accompanied by Col. Forest's brigade of cavalry; that Brig.-Gen. Buckner with the forces under his command, and defending the right of our line, should strike the enemy's encampment and force on the Wynn's Ferry road; that the force under Col. Heiman should hold his position, and that each command should leave in the trenches troops to hold the trenches.

In this order of battle it was easy to be seen that, if the attack was successful, and the enemy routed, that his retreat would be along his line of investment toward the Wynn's Ferry road, and thence toward his reserve at the gunboats below. In other words, my success would roll the enemy's force in retreat over upon Gen. Buckner, when, by his attack in the flank and rear, we could cut up the enemy and put him completely to rout. Accordingly, dispositions were made to attack the enemy at five o'clock A. M. on the fifteenth. I moved out of my position to engage the enemy. In less than one half-hour our forces were engaged. He was prepared to meet me in advance of his encampment, and he did meet me before I had assumed a line of battle, and while I was moving against him without any formation for the engagement. I was much embarrassed in getting the command in position properly to engage the foe. Having extricated myself from the position, and fairly engaged him, we fought him for nearly two hours before I made any decided advance upon him. He contested the field most stubbornly. The loss of both armies was heavy at this portion of the field — the enemy's particularly, as I discovered by riding over the field, after the fight, with Gen. Floyd. The enemy having been forced to yield this portion of the field, retired slowly around toward the Wynn's Ferry road, Buckner's point of attack. He did not retreat, but fell back fighting us, contesting every inch of ground.

The fight was hotly and stubbornly contested on both sides, and consumed the day till twelve o'clock to drive him back as far as the centre, where Gen. Buckner's command was to flank him. I was anxiously expecting to hear Gen. Buckner's command open fire in his rear, which not taking place, I was apprehensive of some misapprehension of orders, and came from the field of battle within the works to learn what was the matter. I there found the command of Gen. Buckner massed behind the ridge within the works, taking shelter from the enemy's artillery on the Wynn's Ferry road, it having been forced to retire from the battery, as I learned from him. My force was still slowly advancing, driving the enemy toward the battery. I directed Gen. Buckner immediately to move his command round to the rear of the battery, turning its left, keeping in the hollow, and attack and carry it.

Before the movement was executed, my force, forming the attacking party on the right, with Forrest's regiment (cavalry) gallantly charged the battery, supported by a body of infantry, driving it and forcing the battery to retire, taking six pieces of artillery, four brass and two twenty-four pound iron guns. In pursuing the enemy, falling back from this position, Gen. Buckner's forces became united with mine, and engaged the enemy in hot contest of nearly an hour, with large forces of fresh troops that had now met us. This position of the enemy being carried by our joint forces, I called off further pursuit after seven and a half hours of continuous and bloody conflict. After the troops were called off, orders were immediately given to the different commands to form and retire to their original positions in the intrenchments.

The operations of the day had forced the entire


Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
E. C. Buckner (8)
John B. Floyd (3)
Heiman (1)
French Forrest (1)
F. Forest (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
15th (1)
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: