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[491] on review, rushed forward in solid charge. The enemy's skirmishers fell hastily back, although it was impossible to reach him either in front, owing to the gully, or in the road, bounded as it was by a high worm-fence. At this charge, loud hurrahs came fiom the troops in line, and the skirmishers again advanced. The Fourth Missouri cavalry wheeled and retreated toward the left, to their original position near the battery. The enemy now brought a section of artillery into action, and moved forward as before. Slowly and doggedly the skirmish-line of the brigade was forced back, the enemy gaining tree after tree on the left, and nearing the battery, which was ordered to fall back; as it did so, the enemy moved forward, but were met by two charges from a squadron of the Fourth Missouri cavalry, and an impetuous rush from the Seventh Indiana cavalry, which fell upon them, and, fighting hand to hand with great bravery, stopped their advance until the battery could be removed. In this movement the shaft of one of the gun-carriages broke, three of the four horses attached to it were killed, and the gun was spiked and abandoned; the rest of the battery was safely withdrawn. The sun had now set; the firing had become less heavy, and the brigade was ordered to retire, which it did in good order, passing through the lines of part of the Third brigade, having been in action over two hours, and having checked the enemy, who stopped the pursuit for that night, and encamped on the battlefield.

The whole force marched forward during the night, until it reached a large open space near Poutotoc, where several hours were spent in arranging, as far as possible, the disorganized regiments. Hepburn's brigade was placed in the rear and the march toward New-Albany continued, skirmishing going on with a body of the enemy who continued the pursuit. On arriving at New-Albany, General Grierson ordered Waring's brigade to hold the enemy in check and cover the crossing of the Tallahatchie River. This was successfully done. The Second and Third brigades then moved on the Holly Spring road, and the First brigade, with the entire train and the negroes, marched on the Beck Spring road. On the twenty-fourth February the entire force had crossed the Tippah River. McCrellis's and Hepburn's brigades marched to Germantown, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, fourteen miles from Memphis, and Waring's brigade crossed the Wolf River near Colliersville, and moved slowly toward Memphis, where it arrived on twenty-seventh February, again crossing the Wolf River at Shelby's Ferry. The loss of the entire command in men killed, wounded, and missing was about three hundred and fifty; in horses, nearly three thousand.

By this retreat General Sherman was deprived of the large force of cavalry, without which his expedition was unable to follow the army of Lieutenant-General Polk, which was retreating from Meridian, or to move eastward into Alabama and destroy the arms, arsenals, and stores at or near Selma. Up to the morning when General W. S. Smith's command was bivouacked near West-Point Station. It had been both fortunate and successful in the advance. The dreary barrens of North-Mississippi had been passed, the marching had not been severe, the horses were improving on the abundant forage found on the rich plains bordering the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, the men were in excellent spirits, and when the enemy had been met it was in very small force and he had been easily repulsed, with scarce any loss to the United States troops. The determination on the part of the General to retreat was reached and acted upon without resort to the usual and proper means of finding the numbers and disposition of the enemy. No scouting party or reconnaissance was thrown across the Octibbeha River; no attempt to divert his attention at one point while the command was crossed elsewhere; and no movement with a view to cover the main column. The whole force was placed for retreat on the one road on which the advance had been made, and which was now waste and desolate from the supplies legitimately taken a few days before, and the criminal and wanton destruction of every species of property which had been permitted, without punishment and almost without rebuke, from the General Commanding

The troops could ill understand the reason for a movement so disheartening, and which every hour became less a retreat and more nearly a rout, without any information or apparent cause for it. They imagined the pursuers to be in overwhelming force, to be on both flanks as well as in advance. This feeling grew, and on the second day, when Okolona was passed, and its great open plain, so well suited to the movements of cavalry, was left behind, the hope that here a stand would be made and a battle fought, (which had been the wish of all on the previous day,) passed, and the undisciplined and more timid thought only of flight toward Memphis. From the twenty-second February, excepting the halt for the battle of Ivy Farm, the column was steadily hurried northward over the long reach of barren oak and pine hills which lay between Okolona and the Tennessee boundary. Sleep was not allowed the men, and the horses was without rest or forage. The line of retreat became marked by great numbers of the lame and broken-down horses, and the sides of the road by long files of dismounted troopers, plodding wearily forward, and striving to keep pace with their mounted comrades.

When at length the vicinity of Memphis was reached, the seven thousand men who two weeks before had set out with brave hopes, were now worn down, one third dismounted, many without arms, most with scanty clothing, and, saddest of all, the daring spirit, the morale of the command, was impaired, and gloom and despondency in its place, which was not relieved when it became known that at West-Point the enemy had but three thousand men, and that his whole force, which was commanded by Major-General Forrest,

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