previous next

[495] goons, under those far-famed Yankee chiefs, Smith and Grierson, with such fierce displays of valor and determination as argued badly for Forrest's infantry scouts, scattered through the bushes and over the prairie in rather an irregular and unmilitary style. But these valorous horsemen did not advance far before the balls of two thousand riflemen began to rattle through their ranks with fearful effect. Scores of men and horses fell at the first fire, and their onward movement was checked, and before they could recover and re-form, the volley was repeated — again and again — until dismay and terror began to prevail in their ranks, and they soon broke into confusion and fled.

Forrest then mounted his mein and began his pursuit, which he kept up with great vigor for nearly twenty miles, the enemy leaving behind many of his wounded and exhausted men, all his dead, his horses, prisoners, five pieces of artillery, burning his packs and turning loose his mules. Having discovered the small force of Forrest, several attempts were made by Smith and Grierson to rally their men and resume the offensive. Their efforts were successful on the hills just beyond Okolona, when the last grand charge was made by them. It was met in the same way as their previous attempts, but even with more vigor and determination by Forrest's men, who had in a few hours become veterans. Several crushing volleys from their rifles quickly arrested the impetuous valor of the Yankees, and sent them to the rear in the wildest confusion and dismay. By this time Forrest had exhausted his ammunition and the strength of his horses. He could not follow up the enemy.

Fortunately, however, General Gholson arrived with some fresh State troops, new levies hastily gathered, and took the place of Forrest's men, following up the Yankees for a great distance, harassing them, capturing and killing and wounding many, and picking up arms, wagons, horses, and a great variety of other valuable property thrown away by the enemy in his wild flight. The enemy never halted for a moment in his retreat, and when last heard from, the remnant of his splendid force was hastening fast to Memphis in far different plight from that in which they had so recently emerged from their fortifications. As soon as the news of this disaster reached Sherman, he began his retrograde movement toward the Mississippi, Lee following him up and hanging on his flanks, and harassing him continually. When last heard from, he was dragging his wearied, broken-down column back to Vicksburgh, in a demoralized state, the most mortified, disappointed, and disgusted chief who ever led ten thousand men up the hill and then marched them down again.

To increase this feeling of mortification and disgust, Sherman's conscience was burdened with a load of infamy which, even upon a Yankee General, could not have pressed lightly, in the recollection of the dastardly outrages upon private property, in the destruction of mills, of the houses of poor, inoffensive people living near his line of march, and in the shameful excess of his wretched mercenaries. We could hardly wish our bitterest enemy a larger portion of misery than must have fallen upon this ambitious aspirant on his return to the fortifications to Vicksburgh. An educated soldier, who had long associated with gentlemen, who had received the highest favors and unbounded kindness and hospitality from the Southern people, during his residence in Louisiana, Sherman has, by the license extended to his brutal hirelings, in their march through Mississippi, and by his own acts of outrage and cruelty, shown a degree of infamy that entitles him to take rank with Butler, McNeil, Hunter, and other Federal chiefs whose only achievements in this war have been those of the ruffian, the pirate, the plunderer and highwayman.

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)
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.
N. B. Forrest (6)
W. T. Sherman (3)
William S. Smith (2)
Grierson (2)
McNeil (1)
S. D. Lee (1)
Nathan Hunter (1)
Gholson (1)
J. A. Butler (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: