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[177] possibly from both. It came from both and simultaneously. Shelby gathered his scattered command together and stood his ground. He intended to retreat, but not until he had struck the enemy a blow. Hunter and McRae formed on the left and Jackman and some detached regiments on the right of the old brigade. Twice he received the attack of the Federals and drove them back, and twice they reformed and renewed the attack. He was fighting to get McRae's undisciplined brigade and the wagons and artillery out of his way. As soon as these disappeared in the timber that skirted the prairie, he charged with his and Jackman's brigades, and before the enemy had recovered from the shock, turned and galloped off.

But the Federals were not disposed to permit him to escape so easily. They followed hard after him, and whenever opportunity offered attempted to crush his rear. Colonel Dobbins had been left to guard the bridge across the Big Cypress, and if he had been captured or driven away the command would be in a close place, for there was not another bridge across the stream within thirty miles. Shelby, with some doubt in his mind, reached it at eleven o'clock at night, and was rejoiced to find the bridge and its defenders all right. Before daylight the officer on outpost sent in word that the enemy were approaching in force. Gordon was ordered to hold the bridge; made his dispositions for that purpose and waited. Shortly there were shots in front, and then the sound of the rush of charging horsemen. Gordon told his men to let the men of the outpost cross the bridge, but stand prepared to receive the enemy. Not a gun was fired until the head of the charging column reached the center of the bridge. Then 500 riflemen simultaneously poured their fire into the mass of men and horses. The charge failed disastrously, and in a spirit of bravado the enemy drew off and shelled the position for half an hour, but did not again attempt to charge it. In this

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Carthage Shelby (2)
McRae (2)
Sidney D. Jackman (2)
B. Frank Gordon (2)
DeWitt C. Hunter (1)
Dobbins (1)
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