canister, and swept that bridge until near five hundred of the enemy were laid on or about it. Ord
was wounded and his army held in check.
's brigade (Arkansians) rapidly formed up on the right of Russ
's, and though the two combined did not exceed twelve hundred men, they checked every attempt of the enemy to cross, and steadily held their ground, until after several hours they were ordered to retire.
It is only just to these gallant troops to say that they
saved Van Dorn
's army that day.
The whole of our train, about five hundred wagons, and our army now lay in the forks of the Hatchie
The Tuscumbia river
, crossed only by a bridge, was in our rear, and the Hatchie river
and bridge in our front.
On our left flank, six miles distant, was another bridge crossing the Hatchie
by what is called the ‘Boneyard road’ to Ripley
Early in the day Armstrong
had been sent with his cavalry brigade to guard this road and destroy the bridge.
He had begun the destruction of the bridge when he heard the sounds of battle at the Davis
's bridge, and with a soldier's instinct understood at once the condition of affairs.
He sent a courier to Van Dorn
to say that he might turn the train and army into the Boneyard
road, and he would have the bridge repaired by the time they would reach it. This was promptly done, and when all were fairly on the new route, Maury
was ordered to withdraw from his position and follow the train.
By 10 P. M. we were all safely over the Hatchie
and without the loss of a wagon.
The night was clear, the moon was full, and we, relieved from the danger of capture which had seemed inevitable, marched so lightly along our road that by daylight we were bivouacked eighteen miles beyond the Hatchie river
, while Ord
with eight thousand men guarded Davis
's bridge, and Rosecrantz
with twenty thousand men watched the Tuscumbia bridge
, neither of them doubting that in the morning we would surrender without another shot on the appearance of the summons they would send us.
Never did an army more narrowly escape than did Van Dorn
's from the forks of the Hatchie
's guns had ceased firing on our advance Rosecrantz
had attacked our rear at the Tuscumbia
They could each hear the other's artillery; and ignorant of the existence of the Boneyard
road, they seemed to have felt secure of their prey and indisposed to press an enemy at bay, whose prowess they had such good reason to respect After this they made no energetic pursuit, and we continued on our march towards Holly Springs
without further molestation.
At Holly Springs
five thousand exchanged prisoners taken at Fort