previous next

[493] his own way, until he reached Okolona. At this place, after the pursuing force had been three times repulsed in a most brilliant manner by the Fourth United States regular infantry alone, a whole brigade was sent to support the Fourth, and was thrown into confusion by a stampede of the Second Tennessee cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Cook, who had fifty men killed in all, and was himself mortally wounded. In the precipitate flight from the field of this force, a battery of small howitzers--six guns of Perkins's Illinois battery--were run off of the road into a ditch, where the. carriages were so badly smashed up that they were unable to get them off, and they fell into the enemy's hands. All the ammunition of the battery was destroyed, all the harness cut, carriages destroyed, guns spiked, and horses saved.

It was with the greatest difficulty that this uncalled — for panic could be broken and order restored. Organized forces were thrown to the rear as quickly as possible, and the advance of the enemy handsomely checked. From crest to crest of the hills the fighting was resumed and continued for over ten miles with the utmost determination on both sides. Having reached Ivy Farm, a splendid place, it was immediately taken possession of, and a large force deployed, a battery placed in position, and the whole field cleared for action. The enemy advanced into the open field, and the whole strength of our artillery was opened upon them at short-range with killing effect, supported by a full line of carbines firing upon the dismounted troops. When their line was shaken, a gallant charge was made upon their centre and on the right, by mounted men. This manoeuvre was performed in handsome style, the enemy were swept backward at every point, and so completely scared, that they made no further attack, in force, upon Smith's men, though they followed up at a respectful distance, until he crossed the Tallahatchie.

General Smith succeeded in bringing off all his captured stock, pack-trains, negroes, and other spoils, having performed a march of over sixty miles without rest. Our loss is reported as having been light, the heaviest being in the Fourth regulars, which lost thirty-five. There were quite a number of our men captured while straggling, catching chickens, and performing acts not legitimately in the line of their duty.

In summing up, General Smith speaks in the highest terms of the conduct of General Grierson. Where danger was most imminent, there was Grierson. The fighting of the whole Second brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, of the Second Iowa cavalry, was excellent. Theirs, with that of the Fourth regulars, under Captain Bowman, was beyond all praise. The Second brigade is composed of the Second Iowa, the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Illinois cavalry. General Smith mentions with gratitude the bravery of the Seventy-second Indiana, (mounted infantry,) Fifth Kentucky cavalry, and Fourth Missouri cavalry, all of which commands behaved themselves nobly on all occasions.

Forrest, in this fight, or series of fights, had four brigades of cavalry and mounted infantry, reenforced by Gholson's State troops, six hundred strong, and, it is said, a portion of Lee's command. His total force, when at West-Point, was over five thousand. This did not include the troops stretched along the Octibbeha, on the left and front, and the troops back of the Suchatoncha Swamp on the right.

Forrest boasted that he had General Smith just where he wanted him, and that the people had no need to fear that he would ever advance any further South. The latter part of his boast for the present only holds good.

General Smith's expedition returned to Memphis after just fourteen days absence, having made a march out and back of about three hundred and fifty miles, with the results above set forth.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
West Point (Virginia, United States) (1)
Okolona (Mississippi, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
William S. Smith (6)
Grierson (2)
N. B. Forrest (2)
G. H. Perkins (1)
S. D. Lee (1)
Hepburn (1)
Gholson (1)
William H. Cook (1)
Bowman (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: