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[224] Tennessee cavalry and Ninth regiment Illinois mounted infantry, and three pieces of artillery, who were then returning from New Albany, near which place they had been repulsed by Colonel Richardson on the 15th instant. After waiting several hours in Salem on the morning of the 8th to ascertain the position and movements of the enemy, and thinking it probable from the best information I could obtain that he would await our coming in his chosen position on the Ripley road, I moved off with the main body of my command toward Colliersville, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Slovis, with the First regiment Mississippi partisans, to watch the movements of the enemy, with instructions to fall back and join me. That night we had proceeded about ten miles when I was informed by Colonel Slovis that the enemy had driven him out of the town and were then pursuing him on the road upon which we were moving.

I immediately ordered the Third Mississippi State cavalry to return and reinforce Colonel Slovis, and hold the enemy in check, while I with the remainder of the command could return by a parallel road and gain their rear. On approaching Salem, however, I found that the main body of the enemy had not pursued Colonel Slovis, but was drawn up in line of battle in a strong position immediately east of the town, with a line of skirmishers in the town itself. They were protected by the houses and the rugged nature of the ground, which rendered all approaches difficult.

We were thus compelled to attack them in front, which we did at once, and after three hours hard fighting drove them from their position. They retreated in disorder to La Grange, but the darkness of the night which came on before the fighting had entirely ceased prevented an active pursuit. In this affair the Second Mississippi cavalry (Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch), Third regiment Mississippi State cavalry (Colonel McQuirk) and the Eighteenth Mississippi battalion (Major Chalmers) bore the brunt of the conflict, and although the last two were composed almost entirely of untried men, they behaved with a gallantry equal to that which has ever distinguished the veterans of the Mississippi cavalry. The First Mississippi partisans was placed on our right flank and the Ninth Tennessee was held in reserve until late in the day, when both regiments were ordered to support the Second Mississippi, which they did bravely and successfully.

Our entire force did not exceed twelve hundred men, with one piece of artillery, which broke its trail at the third fire and became

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