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[653] took two despatches, one from Brigadier-General W. H. Jackson, commanding one of Forrest's divisions, and the other from Major Anderson, Forrest's Chief of Staff. From the first I learned that Forrest with a part of his command was in my front: this had also been obtained from prisoners that Jackson with his division and all the wagons and artillery of the rebel cavalry, marching from Tuscaloosa via Trion toward Centreville, had encamped the night before at Hill's plantation, three miles beyond Scottsboro; that Croxton with the brigade attached to Elyton had struck Jackson's rear guard at Trion and interposed himself between it and the train; that Jackson had discovered this, and intended to attack Croxton at daylight of April first. I learned from the other despatch that Chalmers had also arrived at Marion, Alabama, and had been ordered to cross to the east side of the Cahawba near that place for the purpose of joining Forrest in my front, or in the works at Selma. I also learned that a force of dismounted men were stationed at Centreville, with orders to hold the bridge over the Cahawba at that place as long as possible, and in no event to let it fall into our hands.

Shortly after the interception of these despatches, I received a despatch from Croxton, written from Trion the night before, informing me that he had struck Jackson's rear, and instead of pushing on toward Tuscaloosa as he was ordered, he would follow up and endeavor to bring him to an engagement, hoping thereby to prevent his junction with Forrest.

With this information in my possession I directed McCook to strengthen the battalion previously ordered to Centreville by a regiment, and to follow at once with LaGrange's entire brigade, leaving all pack-trains and wagons with the main column, so that he could march with the utmost possible celerity, and after seizing the Centreville bridge, and leaving it under protection of a sufficient guard, to cross the Cahawba and continue his march by the Scottsboro road toward Trion. His orders were to attack and break up Jackson's forces, form a junction with Croxton if practicable, and rejoin the corps with his entire division by the Centreville road to Selma. Although he did not leave Randolph till nearly eleven o'clock A. M., and the distance to Scottsville was nearly forty miles, I hoped by this movement to do more than secure the Centreville bridge, and prevent Jackson from joining the forces in front of the main column.

Having thus taken care of the right flank and anticipated Forrest in his intention to play his old game of getting upon the rear of his opponent, I gave directions to Long and Upton to allow him no rest, but push him toward Selma with the utmost spirit and rapidity. These officers, comprehending the situation, pressed forward with admirable zeal and activity upon the roads which have been previously indicated. the advance of both divisions encountered small parties of the enemy, but drove them back to their main force at Ebenezer church, six miles north of Plantersville. Forrest had chosen a position on the north bank of Bogler's creek, and disposed of his force for battle, his right resting on Mulberry creek and his left on a high wooded ridge, with four pieces of artillery to sweep the Randolph road upon which Long's division was advancing, and two on the Maplesville road. He had under his command in line Armstrong's brigade of Chalmer's division, Roddy's division, Crossland's Kentucky brigade, and a battalion of three hundred infantry just arrived from Selma, in all about five thousand men. Part of his front was covered by a slashing of pine trees and rail barricades.

As soon as General Long discovered the enemy in strength close upon the main body, he reinforced his advance guard (a battalion of the Seventy-second Indiana mounted infantry) by the balance of the regiment, dismounted and formed it on the left of the road. Pushing it forward the enemy was broken and driven back. At this juncture he ordered forward four companies of the Seventeenth Indiana mounted infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Frank White commanding. With drawn sabres this gallant battalion drove the enemy in confusion into the main line, dashed against that, broke through it, rode over the rebel guns, crushing the wheels of one piece, and finally turned to the left and cut its way out, leaving one officer and sixteen men in the enemy's hands, either killed or wounded. In this charge Captain Taylor, Seventeenth Indiana, lost his life, after having led his men into the very midst of the enemy and engaged in a running fight of two hundred yards with Forrest in person.

General Alexander's brigade had the advance of Upton's division, and when within three miles of Ebenezer church heard the firing and cheers of Long's men on the right, pushed forward at the trot and soon came upon the enemy. General Alexander hastily deployed his brigade, mostly on the right of the road, with the intention of connecting with Long's left, and as soon as everything was in readiness pushed forward his line dismounted. In less than an hour, although the resistance was determined, the position was carried by a gallant charge, and the rebels completely routed.Alexander's brigade captured two guns and about two hundred prisoners, while one gun fell into the hands of General Long's division.

Winslow's brigade immediately passed to the front and took up the pursuit, but could not again bring the rebels to a stand.

The whole corps bivouacked at sundown about Plantersville, nineteen miles from Selma. With almost constant fighting the enemy had been driven since morning twenty-four miles.

At daylight of the second, Long's division took the advance, closely followed by Upton's. Having obtained a well-drawn sketch and complete description of the defences of Selma I directed General Long, marching by the flanks

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