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 Passing through a strip of woods into an adjacent plantation, the Confederates drew up in line to await the enemy. As they did not appear, the retreat was continued by the artillery. The latter had not proceeded far, however, before a hurried order was received: “Form battery and load with canister, as the enemy will soon be upon us.” Major Bridges still lingered in the very presence of their advance, being so close as to be summoned by them to surrender, but emptying his revolver into their faces by way of reply. He then came dashing back to the artillery, which let him pass with his Texans, and then opened on the Federals with eight rounds, sweeping the road clear for a distance of more than three hundred yards. The effect on them was decisive: they were thrown into the greatest confusion, many saddles were emptied, and their advance checked. A magnificent horse that had lost his rider came dashing through the smoke of the guns into the Confederate lines, and was captured. There was another road leading to the only bridge over Black Bayou, in the Confederate rear, and fearing lest the enemy should anticipate them in reaching it, the artillery limbered up again, and set off at a gallop, not stopping till they had made the six miles intervening, and crossed that stream. White balls of foam from perspiration had formed on the backs of the artillery horses, from the severe exertion they had undergone. The cavalry picketed both roads, and skirmished for a couple of hours with the enemy's advance. The latter at length retired to Greenville, burning the town and the neighboring residences, in revenge for their losses in the fight. The Confederates followed, and returned at night-fall to their camp at Fish Lake. Next day Major Bridges learned that the enemy held Haynes's Landing and Snyder's Bluff, and were likely to attempt his capture by sending troops up the Yazoo river in his rear. The same evening, orders were received from General Ferguson to leave the Mississippi; to take the command across to Yazoo river; and, if it was not possible to save the guns, to run them into the river. The situation demanded deliberation, and Major Bridges called a council of his officers. The Missourians and Texans were for crossing the Mississippi; but Major Bridges declared this to be impracticable. Some favored the route by Bolivar and Grenada. Finally it was determined to cross the country by the most direct route to Fort Pemberton, at the intersection of the Yallabusha and Tallahatchie rivers.
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