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[155] Chism's ford — in front of the enemy's position. Colonel Giltner at once ordered Colonel Carter's regiment to charge, which they did in the direction of the ford. Owing to the roughness of the ground, only twelve or fifteen reached the ford, but the regiment was in supporting distance, and the Yankees, seeing their retreat cut off; made no further effort in that direction. They commenced, however, shelling the corn-field in which Carter's men were. Colonel Carter ordered his men to the cover of a precipice, whence he advanced, under cover of a hill, into open ground. Throwing down the fences, he dismounted and charged the enemy's gun, near the Russell House. The enemy abandoned one gun, carrying off their horses and some wagons. Meanwhile, another small regiment dismounted and charged through the fields between the gun and the retreating enemy, who, however, turned down the river road. Another gun now opened to the left, on a high hill south-west of William Lyons's house, west of Big Creek. Colonel Carter's regiment started to the left of the Russell house, crossing the creek to attack it. Almost as soon as they could traverse the distance, they charged and took it; not, however, until one gun of Lowry's battery had been put in position and fired several shots. A small body of the enemy appearing in the fields to the right, a few shots from another gun posted in the abandoned camp of the Second Louisiana were fired, and the enemy disappeared in the woods, to the rear of the fields, west of Big Creek. Just then a heavy discharge of musketry was heard in the rear, which was at once recognized as the attack from General Jones, and a cheer went up from both columns. Colonel Giltner had, by this time, brought up his reserves, who charged down the river road, and down the lane between the Relay and McKinney farms, where the Yankees were attempting to escape by a private ford. Here they overtook two of the guns of the enemy, and took a large number of prisoners; a large number having previously laid down their arms in the woods to the right of the road, and in front of the lane last mentioned. While this was going on in front, General Jones had moved down the Carter Valley road to the left of the enemy's camp, to the intersection with the main road, a mile east of Rogersville, where he despatched a detachment of Witcher's battalion, and perhaps Dunn's, to take the town, occupied by a small force. These captured, perhaps, one hundred prisoners, and killed some five or six Yankees and renegades. The body of the command turned up the main road a short distance, to the road leading out toward the Relay and McKinney farms, and intersecting the river road. The enemy being drawn from their camp by the front attack, here encountered the command in their rear, and, after several sharp volleys, yielded themselves to their fate. The results of this victory have been detailed with sufficient accuracy, and need not be recapitulated. The change of plans on the part of General Jones is considered, by those acquainted with the country, as leaving open the avenues of escape through which the greater part of the enemy got away. This, however, was probably for good reasons. The most unfortunate part of the affair was the return of the army that night to camp, by order of General Jones, against the earnest remonstrance of Colonel Giltner. This resulted in the escape of many prisoners, and the loss of any material results beyond the captures. Subsequent intelligence shows that four men, pursuing the retreating Yankees within a few miles of Greensville, captured a wagon which had escaped by Chism's Ford, and carried dismay into the camp of the Yankees at Rheatown and Greenville; and that while the confederate cavalry was hastening to secure its communications, the Yankees were stampeding through Greenville — horses, cattle, artillery, wagons, men and officers blockading the streets, filling the sidewalks into the very doors of the houses, a dismayed and disorganized mob. On they went even to Russellville, twenty-five miles, galloping bareheaded through the streets, and crying that ten thousand confederates were upon their heels. I need not comment upon a result so common in this war, so disgraceful to the Yankee soldiers and the confederate general.

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Lewis Jones (4)
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