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[10] camping a portion of them near Ellis' bridge and the remainder at Siloam. After crossing the river a courier reported the enemy as having crossed the river eight miles above Ellis' bridge, destroying mills and taking horses and negroes. With five companies of Faulkner's regiment and my escort, I moved rapidly to the point, clearly designated by the smoke of the burning mill, gained the bridge, and succeeded in capturing the squad, which proved to be a lieutenant and twenty-two privates of the Fourth regulars, United States cavalry. Fearing the enemy might attempt to cross at the upper bridge during the night, I ordered its destruction, and concentrated my force at Ellis' bridge, three miles from West Point. This bridge I determined, if possible, to defend and preserve, because it was necessary, in the event we could drive back the enemy, to use it in advancing on them; and had I allowed the enemy to cross it, and then succeeded in driving them back, they would have burned it behind them, rendering pursuit impossible without heading the stream.

During the night all was quiet. On Sunday morning, the 21st, the videttes and pickets were driven in, and the enemy reported advancing from West Point in full force. I had ordered General Chalmers to dismount his division, throwing Forrest's brigade across the creek in front of the bridge, while McCulloch's brigade took possession of the south bank of the stream, to support Colonel Forrest and protect him in the event he was compelled to retire and recross the stream. Dispatches were sent to General Richardson to move up all his force to the bridge across Line creek, eight miles of Starkville and four miles in my rear; also to Colonel Barteau to move across the Tombigbee, to keep on the flank, and, if possible, to gain the enemy's rear. I ordered Colonel Neely to move his (Richardson's) brigade at once, and to guard all the ferries and fords across Tibbee river from the mouth of Line creek to Tibbee station; sending Major-General Gholson and the State forces under his commond to Palo Alto, to watch any movement of the enemy from the direction of Houston. In making these necessary dispositions, my effective force in front of the enemy was reduced to Chalmers' division, my escort and two batteries. The enemy attacked Colonel Forrest at eight o'clock, and after a fight of two hours, were repulsed with considerable loss. The hastily improvised breastworks of rails and logs, thrown up by Colonel Forrest, greatly protected his men, and our casualties during this fight were seven men wounded.

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J. E. Forrest (4)
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