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[167] and forage. At an early hour next morning I again marched to Sharon, and with Ballentine's regiment and the artillery I took the direct road to Canton, sending Colonel Pinson, with the First Mississippi, off on my right, and Major McBee, with the Twenty-eighth Mississippi regiment on my left, with instructions that when I met and engaged the enemy, they should close in on the flanks. About two miles from Sharon I met the enemy and skirmished with him for some hours, but hearing nothing from the other two regiments, and night coming on, I fell back to Sharon, when I learned that Major McBee had met with a column of the enemy that occupied his whole attention and prevented him from joining me. Colonel Pinson likewise met a large foraging party and engaged them, and after a spirited contest, succeeded in routing them and driving them from their wagons, of which he captured nine with their teams (60 mules) killing and wounding some, and taking fifteen prisoners. I again fell back to my old camp, and on the following morning attacked the enemy at the same place as on the previous day, sending Major McBee on my right to attack his flank if an opportunity offered. This, however, was impossible from the nature of the ground, and the position of the enemy, who now brought up a large force of infantry and artillery, and I was again compelled to fall back before a greatly superior force. The next day being extremely cold and rainy, I could do nothing more than send out scouting parties to watch the movements of the enemy.

On the following day, being the 2d of March, I ascertained that the enemy were leaving Canton, and I pursued them as rapidly as my jaded horses would permit of my doing. General Ferguson being in their immediate rear I took the upper Vernon road from Canton and kept on their flank without coming in contact with them until I came within four miles of Brownsville. Here I determined to attack their train, and disposed my forces accordingly. This was at a point where the road that I was traveling and the one taken by the enemy came within a mile of each other. I sent Major McBee with the Twenty-eighth Mississippi regiment to charge the train as soon as he saw a favorable opportunity, and afterwards ordered Colonel Pinson, with the First Mississippi regiment, to form in his rear and be ready to support him or cover his retreat, as the necessity of the case might determine, at the same time sending Colonel Ballentine with his regiment towards Brownsville, on the road that I had been marching on, to strike them on the flank. Before, however, Major McBee concluded to attack the train the enemy's rear guard, consisting of seven regiments of infantry and three regiments of cavalry, came up and formed a line of battle

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