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[342]

I next took position on the Bolton and Clinton road, one mile from that just relinquished.

The enemy advanced in four lines of battle across the field I had just left, but did not advance beyond Baker's Creek that evening.

Throwing out a strong picket and numerous scouts on my front and flanks, I withdrew my command one mile, to Mr. Thomas's plantation, where I fed my horses and encamped for the night.

Before daylight on the morning of the 5th of February, I resumed my position, directing Captain King to train his rifled pieces on the bridge over Baker's Creek, eight hundred yards in my front, and posted Colonel Griffith's Arkansas regiment on the right, and Major Stockdale's battalion on the left, both dismounted as supports for the artillery. I held Colonel Wood and Colonel Dumontiel in reserve — the former dismounted and forming a second line — the latter mounted and in column in the road. At 7 A. M., the enemy advanced in column across the bridge in my front, when I directed Captain King to open fire with his two rifled pieces, which did not, however, check the enemy.

He pressed steadily forward, deploying to the right and left in the open field. A rapid artillery fire was maintained for some time, and when within range, Colonel Griffith and Major Stockdale engaged his whole line, offering the most determined and stubborn resistance and maintaining their position to the last moment. Colonel Griffith and Major Stockdale, as usual, distinguishing themselves by their gallant and fearless bearing. After offering all the resistance possible to the largely superior force of the enemy, I withdrew Colonel Griffith's and Major Stockdale's commands, ordering Colonel Wood to cover the movement. Colonel Wood was released by Colonel Dumontiel and Major Akin successively, as the command retired in perfect order along the Clinton road.

When near Clinton, I was ordered by the Major-General commanding to hold the enemy in check until Colonel Starke's brigade, coming in on the Queen's Hill road, could pass through the town. After the passage of this command, I moved through Clinton, taking the Jackson road beyond. Two miles east of Clinton, I again took position on the eastern limit of an extended open field, and was joined by a section of Craft's and a section of Waties's South Carolina battery. The enemy soon showed himself on my front, but advanced cautiously. His line of skirmishers was promptly driven back by the artillery, the practice of which was excellent. After the lapse of two hours and a careful reconnoisance, he moved an column out of view by a road one mile to my right, and falling into the Jackson road two miles in my


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