Doc. 114.-attack on Collierville, Tenn.
A national account.
Memphis, November 5, 1863.We have learned late and interesting particulars concerning the recent attack on Collierville. It seems that the confederates have not felt just right since their former unsuccessful attempt on the place, but have been seeking a favorable opportunity to remove the disgrace which that affair brought upon them. Chalmers, learning that there was but a small force there, determined to take the place by surprise. He moved up to the Coldwater on the night of the second. On the morning of the third, he sent Colonel Geary, Acting Brigadier-General, with his brigade, numbering one thousand five hundred men, forward to attack the place. At that time there was but a single regiment, the Seventh Illinois cavalry, at Collierville, but they had heard of the premeditated attack, and had sent to Colonel Hatch for reenforcements. Colonel Hatch arrived very opportunely with the Second Iowa cavalry. In fact, they came up just as the fight commenced. The rebels had already captured two picket posts with twenty-five prisoners. Our forces were protected by a stockade, defended by two pieces of artillery. The rebels charged across an open space, of perhaps a thousand yards, up to our defences. The firing was very hot, and they were speedily driven back with a loss of twelve killed, nearly one hundred wounded, and twenty-five prisoners. Among the latter was Colonel Geary, their commander. His horse stumbled and fell, is said to be the reason of his capture. Just as the confederates fell back, the Sixth Illinois cavalry came up from Germantown in time to participate in the pursuit. Subsequently, word was sent to the Third Michigan, Seventh Kansas, and Sixth Tennessee, to intercept the retreat of the rebels if possible. The troops sent out in pursuit of the enemy have not yet returned, so that it is impossible to know the success of their attempt. We think, however, that the rebels have too many facilities for retreat to be caught so easily. If Geary's command can succeed in crossing the Coldwater, and form a junction with Chalmers's, they will probably escape. This attack on Collierville did not succeed even as well as did their former attempt. They find it very hard to catch our forces asleep, though they have many facilities for obtaining information. Our cavalry, under the command of the gallant Colonel Hatch, proves too formidable for the confederates. It is understood that a large part of Sherman's army is across the Tennessee. There has been no fighting except skirmishing by the advance force. His advance, by way of Tuscumbia, proves to have been only a feint, and he fell back to Iuka, and crossed over to the Tennessee at the nearest point.
camp Second Iowa cavalry, Memphis, November 4, 1863.Editors Gazette: Times have been quite lively of late, with some fighting interspersed, in which the Second cavalry, as usual, had a share. The rebels, notwithstanding their recent defeat by Colonel Hatch's forces, when they undertook to break this line of railroad, seem not to have been satisfied without at least another trial. The Second is stationed here, the Sixth Illinois at Germantown, and others farther eastward. The rebels being on the move northward, on Sunday, the first, the Second was ordered out at nine P. M., with three days rations. They left camp on the morning of the second, at two o'clock A. M., and proceeded to Germantown. That night a serious affair between two officers terminated in blood. Several officers were present at supper — among whom were Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, commanding the Sixth Illinois cavalry, and Major Herrod, of the same regiment. In the conversation, Colonel Loomis made a remark reflecting on Major Herrod, when he called on Colonel Loomis to “take it back.” The Colonel refusing, Major Herrod instantly drew his revolver and fired five shots into the Colonel, killing him on the spot. Major Herrod is now in irons in the Irving block in this city. Colonel Loomis's body went north to-day. On Tuesday, the third, the regiment had moved to Collierville, seven miles beyond Germantown, on the railroad. About noon the rebels made an attack on the place with a force of about one thousand five hundred strong. A portion of the Seventh Illinois cavalry occupied a small earthwork, with one small gun. The Second Iowa cavalry, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, was dismounted on the north side of the railroad, and formed in line along the railroad, there being a slight cut at that place. The two mountain howitzers, under the command of Lieutenant P. S. Reed, of company K, took a position just north of the track. The rebels expected, no doubt, to find only the Seventh Illinois there, as they are stationed at that point, and two companies of whom they had captured on picket on the way up. They saw the guns bidding them defiance, and not fully aware of the Iowa boys with their five-shooting rifles being in such close proximity, they swooped down on a furious charge to capture the pieces. The rebel right was under command of General Richardson, the left of General George. Lieutenant Reed stood by his guns manfully, and handled them admirably. When the rebs had got within easy range, the boys poured out their rapid fire from along the railroad track; the rebs pressed forward, but Iowa was too much for them; but three succeeded in reaching our line--one of them was General George. Just as he reached the line, his horse was killed, and in a moment he was in the grasp of a “Yank,” a prisoner; one of the others was wounded, and the other killed. After fighting for some time, the rebels were repulsed, and commenced a hasty retreat. The following are the casualties to the Second Iowa at that place: Frank Byland, company L; Charles F. Brown, company I, killed on the field; and Nathan Patterson, company M, wounded, since dead. Their bodies came into camp this evening. Wounded: Corporal Thomas Dulin, company L, face and right arm; private James H. Reed, company L, left leg broken; Sergeant James Crawford, company L, right lung, severely; Corporal Joseph Steele, company C, in calf of leg, serious; Private Edward Perry, company C, in left breast, serious; Corporal William Wallace, company B, in left breast, serious; private Stelton Heinly, company G, in head, serious; private E. B. Chamberlain, company H, through breast, serious. The wounded are now all in camp, except Crawford Z. Chamberlain, who is too dangerously wounded to be moved. The rebels left eighteen dead on the field. Their loss must have been near one hundred. After being repulsed, the enemy fled, hotly pursued by our regiment, and reached the Coldwater at night, where they had reinforcements and artillery posted on the opposite side. Colonel Hepburn formed line and attacked, and had quite a brisk engagement — firing only by the flashes from the enemy's guns. It being night, and the rebels with reinforcements, our troops fell back, and rested for the night. At this place Captain Horton, of company A, was wounded in the spine. He was brought to the city to-day. The rebels were armed with Austrian muskets. I saw two bullets extracted from the wounded, and they are large and effective. I omitted to state that Orderly-Sergeant Daniel Estell, of Company L, was missing at the engagement at Collierville, and not yet heard from. Colonel Hatch left Collierville, early this morning, with other forces of his command, and will pursue the enemy vigorously. The Colonel has added another laurel to his chaplet, and the Second Iowa added one more to its glorious list.