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[195] Smith was ignorant of the facts. The path of his army was marked by heaps of ashes, blackened walls and solitary chimneys. Not an animal or fowl was left in his wake. After he departed from Oxford the people were without food.

Reaching Oxford, Colonel Wade was in advance. He rode at the head of the Fifth Mississippi. A few miles north of Oxford he overhauled the federal rear guard. He formed his men in columns of platoons and dashed into the column, using guns as clubs, and riding down two regiments. Colonel Wade had relatives in Oxford, and as he dashed through the enemy's ranks, his saber cutting right and left, he called on his men to do their duty.

In the meantime Buford struck the retreating column in the flank with the Kentucky Brigade, driving the enemy through the woods in great confusion, killing and capturing about 200. Chalmers, with Mabry's Brigade, supported Wade. The artillery performed the most conspicuous service. Captain Ed S. Walton, with his battery, was in the thickest of the fray. In fact, it was difficult for the cavalry to keep abreast of him. Whenever the enemy fell back he went thundering after them, every horse and every man doing his utmost, and, finding the enemy in position, he pushed his guns almost in their ranks and sent grape and canister, crashing and tearing them to pieces. His guns were ever in the front. The conduct of Walton and his men was glorious. Walton was reckless and brave. His men followed him with a desperation seldom equaled and never surpassed.

Night coming on, General Chalmers ordered a halt. The following day he harrassed the enemy as long as his ammunition lasted.

General Smith crossed the Tallahatchie, burned the bridge and returned to Memphis. Chalmers went into camp in the vicinity of Oxford and had soldier's rations issued to the citizens. For a week those people who had never before known hunger lived on the small allowance which we were able to give them.

After the command had gone into camp, General Chalmers took occasion to compliment Colonel Wade on his impetuous

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William Wade (4)
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