previous next

[660] not allowed time to breathe, and though making two gallant stands in the first mile, they were driven from their positions, without our men faltering for a moment. The tactics of the enemy did them great credit; their whole force consisted of mounted infantry, armed with Colt's, Smith's, and Sharp's most approved weapons, with two pieces of artillery. The country over which they had to pass was an alternate wood and field. On being driven to the edge of a field, they mounted and retreated across it, dismounting and sending their horses to the rear. They had all the advantage of position, being covered by the woodland, whilst our men advanced across the open field. At these points the fire of the enemy was terrific, but nothing could stop the onward movement, and our men moved forward without slackening their pace in the least. Having driven the enemy for more than a mile, it occurred to me that should the troops of General Rust's command not have moved to their left far enough to guard my right flank, that I might run some risk of being outflanked. To guard against this, I detached Lieutenant Barbour, commanding my bodyguard, with a portion of his men, with orders to move at full speed to my extreme right and take position, with his men well extended, and watch my right flank. No. sooner had he reached the point and commenced moving up with our main line than he was fired upon by the enemy. Lieutenant Barbour immediately sent a courier informing me of the fact, when I ordered the Fourteenth Mississippi, under Major Doss, to move at double-quick, by the right flank, until he reached the point occupied by Lieutenant Barbour, then to assume his original front and press them again. During all this time the enemy were interruptedly driven from every position, and forced back to a point three miles from Coffeeville, when, on reaching a commanding position, they opened fire from their artillery again, supported by the severest fire of musketry we had yet encountered. The heaviest fire was encountered by. the Ninth Arkansas regiment and the Eighth Kentucky regiment. Their efforts were, however, useless; nothing could check the advance of our men, and the position was carried without a moment's delay, just at dark.

It occurred to me a few moments before this, that a dash of our cavalry might have secured the piece of artillery in its last position; but it would have involved a heavy loss of life, not warranted under the circumstances, and I did not give the order. Having already driven the enemy much further than was ordered by a message from General Lovell, I gave order to halt and cease firing, very much to the chagrin of both officers and men, who, notwithstanding the severe duties and deprivations of the last week, seemed to forget everything but the desire showed by all to repay the injuries suffered by them during their long and barbarous imprisonment at the North.

The Fourteenth Mississippi, Major Doss commanding, towards the close, became too far separated from the main command, but was abundantly able to take care of itself, and drove back the enemy in their front, killing and wounding a number, among them Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, who was shot dead within twenty paces of our line. This regiment also captured seventeen prisoners, with all horses, arms, and accoutrements. The loss on our part, as stated in my note to Major-General Lovell, of the sixth instant, is known to be accurately as follows: Killed, seven; wounded, forty-three. That of the enemy, thirty-four killed; among them Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough and a Second-Lieutenant, who gave his name as Woodbury (of the Third Missouri) just before expiring. The wounded of the enemy could not be accurately ascertained, inasmuch as all who were not too badly wounded were removed on horseback as fast as they fell. Estimating their wounded by the number killed, in the same ratio as that known to exist on our part, the wounded may be given at two hundred and thirty-four, which, from the number seen in the act of being removed, is under rather than over the actual loss. Sixteen of their severely wounded fell into our hands. Thirty-five prisoners, with seventeen horses and all their arms and accoutrements, were captured.

Among the prisoners were one Captain and several non-commissioned officers The wounded on both sides were removed at once to Coffeeville, and every care taken of them. The dead were buried next morning. The body of the Federal Lieutenant was decently buried, and the headstone marked so that it could be recognized. The body of Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough was not secured. The command returned to its first position near Coffeeville, and bivouacked in line of battle. The whole affair was a complete success, and taught the enemy a lesson I am sure they will not soon forget. The troops behaved in the most gallant manner; officers and men emulated each other. All did their duty nobly. I take especial pleasure in mentioning the names of Brigadier-General W. E. Baldwin, of my own division, and Colonel A. P. Thompson (commanding brigade in General Rust's division). These officers in command on my right and left, displayed the greatest good judgment and gallantry. The brunt of the battle was borne by the Ninth Arkansas, Colonel Dunlop ; Eighth Kentucky, Colonel H. B. Lyon; the Twenty-third Mississippi, Lieutenant-Colonel McCarley; and the Twenty-sixth Mississippi, under Major Parker.

I have seldom seen greater good judgment and impetuous gallantry shown by any officers or men. The cavalry, under Colonel Jackson, maintained the most perfect order, and were always in position to answer any summons. The batteries engaged rendered the most efficient service up to the time of my ordering the advance. The first shot fired, from the Parrott guns of Captain Hedden's battery, under the direction of Captain Culbertson, Chief of Artillery

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Coffeeville (Mississippi, United States) (3)

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.
James McCullough (3)
Barbour (3)
A. Rust (2)
M. Lovell (2)
W. L. Doss (2)
Woodbury (1)
A. P. Thompson (1)
E. K. Smith (1)
J. H. Sharp (1)
C. W. Parker (1)
McCarley (1)
H. B. Lyon (1)
T. J. Jackson (1)
Josiah Hedden (1)
J. Dunlop (1)
Culbertson (1)
Colt (1)
W. E. Baldwin (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.
6th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: