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Doc. 49. expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi

General Mower's report.

headquarters First division, Sixteenth Army corps, Memphis, Tennessee, July 27, 1864.
Captain: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my division on the late expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi:

I left La Grange on the morning of the fifth instant with my command, which was composed of the following brigades and batteries: First brigade, Colonel McMillen, Ninety-fifth Ohio volunteer infantry; Second brigade, Colonel Wilken, Ninth Minnesota volunteer infantry; Third brigade, Colonel Woods, Twelfth Iowa volunteer infantry; Fourth brigade, Colonel Ward, Fourteenth Wisconsin volunteer infantry. This brigade was a detachment from the Seventeenth Army Corps, temporarily assigned to my command. Second Iowa battery, Lieutenant Reid commanding; First Illinois, company E (one section), Lieutenant Cram; and a battery, four Rodmans, belonging to company M, First Missouri, but manned by Captain Miller's company, Sixth Indiana battery.

We arrived at Pontotoc on the twelfth instant, and on the morning of the thirteenth moved toward Tupelo.

The colonel commanding brigade of colored troops, which was in rear of my division about nine miles of Tupelo, sent word to me that he was threatened by a large force of the enemy. I directed Colonel Ward, whose brigade had been marching on the right flank of the train, to place one regiment in the rear, so that he might be better able to render assistance to the negro brigade. At the same time I ordered Colonel Woods to place two of his largest regiments on the right flank of the train. The column proceeded in this manner some three miles when an attack was suddenly made on the train for nearly its entire length.

The attacking force, as I have since learned, consisted of four brigades of cavalry. This attack was soon repulsed, Colonel Ward's brigade taking the chief part in the fight, and capturing a rebel flag.

As soon as the enemy was repulsed I again started the column on, keeping the wagons ahead of the main column; when, finding that the enemy were moving rapidly at some distance on my right flank toward my front, I proceeded toward the head of the column for the purpose of making arrangements to protect the wagon train.

I had just arrived at the head of the Ninth Minnesota, which had been sent forward to protect the train, when a furious attack was made on the column a short distance to the rear. I immediately halted that regiment and faced it toward the enemy and directed skirmishers to be deployed; at the same time the balance of the brigade was halted by Colonel McMillen and faced toward the enemy, and the order given to charge. The enemy was driven [405] in confusion. I then brought up the Eleventh Missouri to Colonel McMillen's support, but before they arrived in front the rebels had disappeared and the fight was over.

Colonel McMillen and his command displayed great gallantry in so quickly repulsing this attack.

As soon as our wounded had been picked up I again moved on and arrived at the camp about dark.

The next morning the General commanding the expedition indicated to me the positions he wished my division to occupy, and I placed the troops of my commad as follows: Colonel Woods' brigade on the left, its left resting on the Pontotoc road, and connecting with the right of the Third division; Colonel Ward's brigade on the right of Colonel Woods'; Colonel McMillen's brigade on the right of Ward's; and Colonel Wilken's brigade in reserve.

The Second Iowa battery was placed on the left of Colonel Ward's brigade, and commanded the Pontotoc road and the open field on the right of that road. Captain Miller's battery was placed on the right of Colonel Ward's brigade, and the section of Company E, First Illinois battery on the right of Colonel McMillen's brigade.

The enemy commenced the attack at about half-past 7 o'clock in the morning, coming down in line of battle along our front and opposite our left, moving in an irregular mass. I directed the fire to be retained until they approached quite near, and then opened on them with shell, canister, and musketry. The fight continued for about two hours and a half, when, finding that they would not approach any nearer our lines, I ordered the third brigade to charge on them. This was very gallantly done, and the enemy driven from the field with heavy loss.

I had two field officers and several men sunstruck during the charge, and the enemy, having fallen back to their led horses, disappeared from our front.

I did not attempt to pursue them any further, as my command was well nigh exhausted with the march of nineteen miles and the fighting of the day before; in fact it would have been useless to pursue mounted infantry with troops on foot under any circumstances.

On the morning of the fifteenth, the enemy again appeared in our front. I awaited their attack, but finding that they were not disposed to approach within musket shot, with the exception of their skirmishers, I moved upon them and drove them about two miles, when they again took to their horses and fled. I then followed the third division, which had already moved out on the Ellistown road. A brigade of cavalry formed the rear guard.

I arrived at the camp on Oldtown creek, and was there met by a staff officer of the General commanding the expedition, who directed that my division should pass by the Third and encamp in advance of them. Just as my rear brigade had crossed the creek, and passed through the bottom on the north side of it, several shells were suddenly dropped into the camp by the enemy, who, it seems, had driven in our cavalry the very moment the infantry had crossed the creek.

I was directed by Major-General Smith to take a brigade and drive the enemy back. I moved the First brigade immediately back, forming them in line of battle. I attacked the enemy and drove them about two miles.

Colonel McMillen's brigade behaved most gallantly, and were led by him, he riding in advance of them and cheering them on.

After the enemy had been driven I withdrew my troops and ordered them into camp, leaving the position to be held by Colonel Moore, commanding the Third division.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of both officers and men in the several engagements.

I regret to have to report the loss of Colonel Wilken of the Ninth Minnesota, commanding second brigade, who, although he had been with the command but a short time, had already endeared himself to both officers and men by his high-toned bearing and gentlemanly conduct.

I enclose herewith a sketch of the battle-field and reports of brigade commanders.

A list of casualties has already been forward — to you.

I am, Captain,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Joseph A. Mower, Brigadier-General Commanding. Captain J. H Hough, Assistant Adjntant-General, Right Wing Sixteenth Army Corps.

Colonel McMillen's report.

Memphis, Tennessee, July 22, 1864.
Captain: In obedience to orders, I moved with my command (the First brigade, First division, Sixteenth Army Corps) on the morning of the first instant to the depot of the Memphis and Charleston railroad, when the Ninth Minnesota infantry, which had been temporarily assigned, joined the brigade. The troops were embarked on the cars, the artillery and train going by road, the former reaching a point near La Fayette, when we encamped for the night. On the morning of the second instant, by order of Brigadier-General Sturgis, I was placed in command of all the infantry connected with the expedition, which was organized as follows:

First brigade: Colonel Alexander Wilken, Ninth Minnesota infantry, commanding; Seventy-second Ohio infantry, veteran volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles G. Eaton, commanding; Ninety-fifth Ohio infantry volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Jefferson Brombeck, commanding; One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois infantry volunteers, Colonel DeWitt C. Thomas, [406] commanding; Ninth Minnesota infantry volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel John F. King, commanding; Ninety-third Indiana infantry volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel J. F. Marsh, commanding; company E, First Illinois light artillery, Captain John A. Fitch, commanding; section Sixth Indiana battery, Captain M. Miller, commanding.

Second brigade: Colonel George B. Hoge, One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois infantry, commanding; Eighty-first Illinois infantry volunteers; Ninety-fifth Illinois infantry volunteers ; One hundred and eighth Illinois infantry volunteers; One hundred and thirteenth Illinois infantry volunteers; One hundred and twentieth Illinois infantry volunteers; Company B, Second Illinois light artillery, Captain F. H. Chapman, commanding.

Third brigade: Colonel Edward Bouton, Fifty-ninth United States infantry (colored), commanding; Fifty-fifth United States infantry, (colored), Major E. M. Lowe, commanding; Fifty-ninth United States infantry, (colored,) Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Cowden, commanding; Battery F, Second United States artillery (colored), Captain C. A. Lamburgh commanding.

During the organization of the infantry division the large supply and ammunition train was brought up by the cavalry and turned over to me for safe conduct. The cavalry moved on the same day in the direction of Lamar, and the next morning at half-past 3 o'clock, the infantry was in motion in the same direction.

From this time until the morning of the tenth instant, nothing of importance occurred beyond the difficulties constantly encountered in consequence of heavy rains daily, causing the streams to be much swollen, and the roads almost impassable, together with the embarrassment we labored under in procuring forage, our line of march being through a country destitute of supplies. Our progress was necessarily slow and laborious, giving the enemy ample opportunity to ascertain our force and make arrangements to meet us with superior numbers.

On the evening of the ninth we reached a point on the Ripley and Fulton road, fifteen or sixteen miles from the former place, where we camped for the night, marching on the morning of the tenth in the direction of the Mobile and Ohio railroad, expecting to strike it at or in the vicinity of Guntown. I had proceeded some five miles with the head of the column, and halted to permit the wagon train to cross the Hatchie river and close up. The road through the bottom land of this stream was almost impassable, and we found it impossible to put it in good condition.

While waiting at the head of my column to hear from the rear, I was informed by General Sturgis that General Grierson, commanding cavalry division, had struck the enemy beyond Brice's cross-roads, some five miles in advance, and was ordered to move my leading brigade up as rapidly as possible to the support of the cavalry, leaving the other two brigades to come up with the train. I accordingly ordered Colonel Hoge, commanding Second brigade (the advance that day), to move up in quick time, without any reference to the column in his rear, and sent my quartermaster to close up the train, and have it, with the brigades of Colonels Wilken and Bouton, moved up as rapidly as possible. I accompanied the advance brigade and en route to the field received repeated and urgent orders to move up as rapidly as possible, as the enemy was developing a large force and driving our cavalry back. Colonel Hoge's advance regiment, the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois infantry, reached the cross-roads between one and two P. M., and went into action at once on the right of the Baldwin road, relieving Colonel Waring's brigade of cavalry, which had been forced back to within a short distance of Brice's house. As fast as Colonel Hoge's regiment came up they were deployed on the right of the Baldwin road, extending the line in a semi-circular form in the direction of the Guntown road, relieving the cavalry as they took position. As soon as the regiments took their position in line, skirmishers were thrown forward, and the men told that the enemy was in their immediate presence in force, and that they must be prepared to meet a heavy attack soon. The skirmish line was established along the whole front by Captain Fernald, Seventy-second Ohio infantry, acting aid-de-camp, under a constant fire from the enemy. Chapman was ordered in battery in the open ground about Brice's house, and directed to open upon the enemy over the heads of our men.

Soon after Hoge's brigade was placed in position, the First brigade, Colonel Wilken, came up, the Ninety-fifth Ohio infantry in advance. This regiment was immediately placed in line on the left of the Baldwin road, with instructions to assist the regiments of Hoge's left in holding that road, and to govern itself by the movements of his brigade. The One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois infantry coming next was placed on the right of Hoge's brigade completing the line to the Guntown road, and relieving the cavalry to that point. The Ninety third Indiana infantry, Colonel Thomas, was placed on the right of the Guntown road, over which it was very evident the enemy was then advancing to attack. The Seventy-second Ohio infantry and Miller's section of the Sixth Indiana battery were posted on an eminence in the rear of Brice's house to keep the enemy from getting possession of a bridge a short distance back and cutting us off. Battery E, First Illinois light artillery, Captain Fitch, and the Ninth Minnesota infantry, Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh commanding, were held in reserve near the cross-roads. Colonel Bouton's brigade of colored troops had charge of the train on that day and had not yet come up.

The arrangements mentioned above had not yet been fully completed before the enemy made a furious attack along the whole line and [407] on each flank, developing the fact that his force was far superior to that portion of ours then engaged. My extreme right after a sharp and bloody contest was forced back, and I was obliged to throw in the only regiment I had in reserve to drive the enemy back and reestablish my line at that point. This work was gallantly performed by the Ninth Minnesota under the heroic Marsh, and I desire here to express to him and his brave men my thanks for their firmness and bravery which alone saved the army at that critical moment from utter defeat and probable capture.

As the enemy on our right was being driven back by the Ninth Minnesota and Thirteenth Indiana, I directed Captain Fitch to put one section of his battery in position on the Guntown road and sweep it with grape and canister. Soon after our success on the right the regiments on the left and left centre gave back in considerable confusion, the rebels following them in force up to the road over which we had advanced, and from which they were kept by the Seventy-second Ohio and Miller's battery, posted in our rear. I endeavored, aided by my staff, to rally the different regiments, and get them to advance to their original position, but failed, succeeding, however, in forming a line along the Baldwin road, and at right angles with it, parallel to the Fulton road, in which position I fought until again flanked on the left, and greatly exposed to a capture of the troops engaged.

At this time I sent word to General Sturgis that I was hard pressed, and that unless relieved soon I would be obliged to abandon my position. I was informed that he had nothing to send me, and that I must use my discretion as to holding my position. It had been evident, for some time, that the troops could not remain in that position long, as the enemy were fast closing round us. I therefore determined to retire, and in order to do so, directed Captains Fitch and Chapman to open a rapid fire, with grape and canister, along the roads and through woods in our immediate front, and to maintain it until the infantry were well under way, and that I would form another line, a short distance in the rear, to keep the enemy from the cross-roads until they could get their pieces away. This new line was a prolongation of that occupied by the Seventy-second Ohio infantry, and was formed by that regiment, the Ninety-fifth Ohio infantry, and about two hundred dismounted men of the Tenth Missouri cavalry, under Captain Currry, who reported to me for orders on the field, and rendered valuable and gallant service in assisting to hold the enemy in check until the retreating column had passed.

The main portion of the First and Second brigades, which had been hotly engaged with the enemy for nearly three hours, now retired under cover of this new line, and continued to march by the flank to the rear. Just after crossing a small stream, about a quarter of a mile in the rear of the cross-roads, I met the Fifty-fifth United States infantry (colored), Major E. M. Lowe commanding; I posted his regiment on the left of the road, with instructions to hold his position until the troops then engaged should retire, when he could bring up the rear. A short distance further to the rear I met Colonel Bouton, with the Fifty-ninth United States infantry (colored), and Lamburgh's section of artillery, in a good position on the right of the road. I remained with him until the other regiments of his brigade, which had been posted near the creek referred to above, fell back, and ordered it into line on his left, directing Colonel Bouton to hold the enemy in check as long as possible, in order to give the retiring column time to take up a new postion in the rear, which was done on a ridge near a white house, about one and a half or two miles from the battle-field.

This line was formed by portions of the First and Second brigades, the whole under command of Colonel Wilken, and Colonel Bouton was informed by Lieutenant Barber, of my staff, that he could fall back and take up a new position in the rear of this line, my object being to retire by successive lines.

In the mean time the wagon train and artillery were moving to the rear as fast as possible.

When Colonel Bouton fell back the enemy followed him up in heavy force, and the line established at the white house soon fell back to another position in the rear, when a stand was made and the enemy repulsed. In this affair the Ninth Minnesota again took a conspicuous part, and the colored regiments fought with a gallantry which commended them to the favor of their comrades in arms. I desire to bear testimony to their bravery and endurance, as well as the gallantry of Colonel Cowden and Major Lowe, commanding regiments. This checked the pursuit and ended the fighting for that evening. The whole column was then put in motion for Ripley. Upon reaching the crossing of the Hatchie the wagon train was found stuck and the road completely blockaded, so that the artillery had to be abandoned, after long-continued and laborious effort, on the part of battery commanders and the men generally, to get it through.

I arrived at Ripley, in company with the Genneral commanding, about five o'clock A. M. on the morning of the eleventh instant. I at once commenced the reorganization of my division. At seven and a half A. M. I reported my command reorganized and in tolerably good shape, with the exception that many of the men had thrown away their arms during the retreat, and that those who had arms were short of ammunition. I was directed by General Sturgis to move out on the Salem road, in rear of the First brigade of cavalry, then in advance. Before the troops all left the town of Ripley the enemy made a furious attack upon the place, gaining possession of the road on which we were marching, and cutting my command in two. In this attack the colored regiments and a part of Hoge's [408] brigade were engaged, and, until overpowered by superior numbers, fought bravely. That portion of the column cut off moved out on a road leading north from Ripley, and, under the brave and successful leadership of Colonel Wilken, succeeded in reaching Memphis. The enemy followed and fought our retreating column to the vicinity of Colliersville, which place we reached on the morning of the twelfth instant, having marched some ninety miles without rest.

As nearly as I can ascertain, at the date of this report, the following table will exhibit the casualties of the infantry division:

number of brigades. killed. wounded and missing. missing. aggregate
Commissioned officers. Enlisted men. Commissioned officers. Enlisted men. Commissioned officers. Enlisted men. Commissioned officers. Enlisted men.
First brigade 2 38 10 145 25 811 37 994
Second brigade 5 34     18 407 33 441
Third brigade 1 109 3 131 8 160 12 400
Total 8 181 13 276 51 1,378 72 1,835

In conclusion, I beg to bear testimony to the courage, fidelity, and efficiency of my staff during the battle of the tenth. As has always been the case, they performed their whole duty.

My orderlies, Francis De Freitas, of the Hundred and Fourteenth, and Nathan Cochran, of the Seventy-second, deserve especial mention for their conspicuous gallantry and intelligent performance of every trust.

I have the honor to forward herewith official reports of commanding officers of brigades, to which you are respectfully referred for a more particular notice of those officers worthy of mention.

I have the honor to be, Captain,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

W. L. Mcmillen, Colonel Ninety-fifth Ohio Infantry, Commanding Division. Captain W. G. Rawalle, A. D. C., U. S. A., and A. A. A. G.

Colonel Wilken's report.

sir: I have the honor to report, for the information of the Colonel commanding, the part taken by the First brigade, infantry division, commanded by myself, in the recent engagement at Brice's cross-roads, near Guntown, Mississippi, on the tenth instant. My brigade on that day marched in the rear of the Second brigade, commanded by Colonel Hoge; the Third (colored) brigade, commanded by Colonel Bouton, being in the rear of the First. About eleven o'clock on the morning of the tenth, firing was heard in front, and I was shortly after informed that our cavalry had engaged that of the enemy and been driven back from Brice's cross-roads, about six miles in advance. Soon after, the Second brigade was ordered to advance at double-quick, and I received orders to march my command as rapidly as I could do without leaving the supply train.

Soon after hearing that the Second brigade was being seriously pressed, I sent for permission to advance more rapidly, leaving the train to be protected by the Third brigade. Permission having been obtained, I moved on the double-quick for about one mile, and reached Brice's house about half-past 1 o'clock, when the brigade was halted. Colonel McMillen then led the Ninety-fifth Ohio, Lieutenant-Colonel Brombeck commanding, down the road leading past Brice's house toward Baldwin, and posted it on the left of the road and on the left of the----Illinois, about one fourth of a mile beyond Brice's house. I then returned with him to the brigade, and was directed to repair with the Seventy-second Ohio and the section of Captain Miller's Sixth Indiana battery to the knoll, on which stood a log house, about eight hundred yards in rear of Brice's house, and on the right as you go to Ripley. After the guns had been placed in position, and Captain----'s company of the Seventy-second Ohio had been thrown forward toward the woods in front, the balance of the regiment having formed in line on its left for support, understanding that the enemy were endeavoring to get around our left in order to reach the train on the Ripley road, I directed Captain Miller to throw a few shells into the timber, which was done with great precision and effect, and which evidently checked their progress. Soon after I was joined by about seventy-five dismounted cavalry, under command of an officer whose name I have not been able to learn, who formed line and kept up a spirited fire upon the enemy advancing from the direction of the cross-roads. Shortly after this a small body of the enemy, evidently skirmishers, were seen crossing the open field in our rear, and toward the Ripley road. Lieutenant-Colonel Eaton, commanding the Seventy-second Ohio, in connection with the dismounted cavalry, opened fire upon them, and drove them back in confusion to the woods.

About this time I was directed by a staff officer of the Colonel commanding to advance with the Seventy-second Ohio across the open fields [409] in our front and to the right of the road, and take a position in the edge of the woods. After proceeding a short distance, orders were given to return to the first position, which was done. Upon my return I found Captain Miller had left with his guns, as I presume with orders given during my absence, his support having been removed. About this time Captain----, of the----regiment, A. D., reported to me with his company, and although wounded in the leg and the only officer with the company, expressed his readiness to be of service. I directed him to send a few skirmishers in front of the log-house into the ravine, and to form the remainder of his command behind the fences and log buildings near-by, which was done. Soon after the enemy's shells and canister were falling thick and fast around us. The remainder of our force had passed us, and we were Jeft alone. Turning, I observed my command moving by the flank to the rear, across the creek and bottom, having, as I understood, been ordered to fall back in order to form a new line. Having proceeded about half a mile, Brigadier-General Grierson rode up and directed Lieutenant-Colonel Eaton to form his regiment behind the fences on the right of the road, in rear of open fields, and resist the advance of the enemy as long as practicable. I then rode on to overtake the balance of the brigade.

At the white house, about a mile in the rear, and in the road, I found the Ninety-fifth Ohio, Ninety-third Indiana, One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois, and Ninth Minnesota. I was then directed by the Colonel commanding division to form my brigade in line on the right of the road (as you go toward Ripley), and to contest the ground, if possible, until night set in. I was informed that the Second brigade (Colonel Hoge commanding), and the Third (colored) brigade, Colonel Bouton commanding, were on our right, and that Colonel McMillen had himself placed the Ninety-third Indiana and Ninety-fifth Ohio on the left of the Second brigade, I was instructed that when they should be obliged to retire through my lines, my command should remain, the brigades relieving each other as they retired. I formed the Ninth Minnesota and One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois respectively on the right of the road as you go toward Ripley, and sent out skirmishers, who soon found the enemy in front.

Lieutenant-Colonel King having informed me that his ammunition was almost exhausted, I directed Lieutenant Cruse, Ninth Minnesota volunteers, A. A. A. G., to proceed to the rear to procure a supply, but finding no means of transportation, he brought back one box on his horse. The fighting at this time was severe, continuing for over half an hour, and until sundown, with considerable loss, when, being informed that we had no support on right or left, and that the enemy were about to move around our flank, I ordered the command to fall back, which they did in good order, frequently facing to the rear and firing upon the enemy. We shortly after received an enfilading fire, as we moved down the road, when I placed the command among the trees on one side. We soon arrived at the slope where part of the train had been abandoned and a portion burned.

Shortly after passing the creek I discovered the skirmishers of the Third brigade in the open fields on our left. Perceiving an officer with them, I directed him to have the men form on the right of the Ninth Minnesota, in a thicket in front of which were large open fields over which the enemy must pass. He informed me that he was not in command, but pointed out to me Lieutenant-Colonel Crawdon, who was severely wounded. The Ninth Minnesota formed, the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois being on the right, as I am informed by Lieutenant-Colonel King. The enemy soon appeared in large numbers, but not in line, when a heavy fire was opened upon them from the thicket, which was kept up for about twenty minutes, and large numbers fell. They retired in confusion. This was between sundown and dark, and the enemy did not again appear in force. About eight o'clock in the evening I halted the command in order to give them rest. At this point an officer in command of a squadron of cavalry reported to me that the camp fires in front were built by him, under orders from the General commanding, in order to deceive the enemy, and that he was directed to remain until we had passed, and then proceed to the front. I then moved forward the command until I joined the colored brigade. The progress was slow, and I was informed that we were delayed by the train which was slowly passing the bottom-land and creek some distance ahead. About midnight I was informed that the portion of the train in front had been abandoned, its further progress being impossible. Finding this to be the case, I directed the animals remaining with the rear of the train to be taken out and the wagons abandoned. The train was not burned, as I thought it probable that our line of battle had been reformed beyond, and that it might be yet saved. Moreover I. feared the conflagration might lead the enemy to believe that we were in full retreat, and lead to their immediate advance in force.

About daylight the Fourth Iowa cavalry passed us going to the front. Shortly after, our rear was fired upon by small parties of guerrillas. At the Llewellen church we found Colonel Winslow's brigade of cavalry formed in echelon by squadron, who were skirmishing sharply with the enemy on the opposite side of the stream. Arriving at Ripley at half-past 7 A. M., I waited for orders, but receiving none, and perceiving other troops continue to pass on the road to the front, the cavalry remaining to protect our rear, I again took up the line of march. Hearing at the cross-roads, where I halted for an hour, that the enemy in force was falling upon a large detachment of our men on the Salem road, and that a large cavalry force was about three miles in our rear, and being [410] almost out of ammunition, I concluded to follow the Salisbury road, and toward evening was joined by Captain Foster, Fifty-ninth regiment A. D., with about six hundred of his own and the Fifty-fifth regiment A. D., he having crossed over from the Salem road, which he considered unsafe. That night we bivouacked near Brooks', about five miles from Salisbury. The next morning at daylight we resumed the march, and after proceeding about three miles turned to the left, taking a settlement road leading to Davis' mills. Upon arriving at Davis', I found the bridge partially destroyed, and upon halting to repair it we were fired upon by a considerable number of the enemy, who were soon driven back, after wounding two of our men on the hill, and one of the flankers of the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois, and hitting the horse of Lieutenant-Colonel King, while passing the swamps beyond the bridge. Soon after, we were again attacked in front, but owing to the vigilance of the half-breed scouts of company H, Ninth Minnesota, and the handsome conduct of the advanced guard of the Ninety-fifth Ohio, under command of Captain----, they were unable to do much execution. At one time our rear was charged upon by about one hundred and fifty of Buford's cavalry, but they were repulsed by the negro troops and a few of the half-breeds. Our rear was, however, occasionally fired upon until long after dark, but the imperturbable coolness and steadiness of the colored troops, under command of Captain Foster, kept them in check and prevented confusion.

At twelve o'clock on the night of the twelfth, the command bivouacked four miles east of Colliersville, which place was reached about nine A. M. next day. We found here neither cars, rations, nor reinforcements. The command rested until noon. In the meantime Lieutenant Hosmer, of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois, Brigade Inspector, volunteered to proceed to some point on the railroad from which information could be communicated of our approach. He was joined by Captain----, of the One Hundred and Eighth Illinois, Sergeant----, and two privates. Within three miles of Colliersville they were attacked by a party numbering about fifteen, who ordered them to halt. Their horses, already jaded, were put to their speed. Although frequently fired upon and closely followed, no one of the party was killed or wounded. I regret to say, however, that the gallant captain and the sergeant were captured. The lieutenant and the two privates arrived in safety at White's station at ten A. M.

As the command approached the vicinity where the party referred to was attacked, the column was halted and the scouts sent in advance, who soon discovered a party of the enemy. Skirmishing continued until the whistle of the train which brought reinforcements was heard. Hard bread was here issued to the men, while the infantry reinforcements and the cavalry command under Major Malone formed line of battle in front of the train in time to meet the attack of a regiment of the enemy's cavalry. The command, numbering about one thousand six hundred, of the different brigades, arrived in Memphis on the same evening (thirteenth instant), in a pitiable condition. Nearly all were barefooted, their feet badly blistered and swollen, and in some cases poisoned. Most of them had eaten nothing for three days, and all had suffered from want of food.

Colonel Thomas, commanding the Ninety-third Indiana; Lieutenant-Colonel King, commanding the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois; Lieutenant-Colonel Brombeck, commanding Ninety-fifth Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Eaton, commanding Seventy-second Ohio; Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh, commanding Ninth Minnesota; Captain Fitch, commanding light battery company E, and Captain Miller, commanding section of Sixth Indiana battery, deserve especial mention for the judicious and gallant manner in which they handled their respective comands.

I am much indebted to Lieutenant-Colonels King, Brombeck, and Eaton, and Lieutenant-Colonel Floyd, of the One Hundred and Twentieth Illinois, and other officers, for information in regard to the roads over which we passed in the retreat.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of each member of my staff. The duties imposed upon them were onerous in the extreme, owing to their limited number. Lieutenant Cruse, Adjutant of the Ninth Minnesota, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, although under fire for the first time, conducted himself with all the coolness of a veteran. Lieutenant Hosmer, of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois, Inspector of the brigade, rendered me great service as an Aid. His gallant conduct deserves great praise. I am also greatly indebted to Lieutenant Bailey, of the Nineteeenth Pennsylvania cavalry, who volunteered his services as an Aid early in the action, and remained with me, rendering valuable service, until obliged to rejoin his regiment. Acting Brigade Surgeon R. H. Bingham, and Acting Brigade Quartermaster, Lieutenant Mower, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois infantry, performed with credit their respective duties.

I transmit herewith the reports of the regimental and battery commanders, with the lists of casualties accompanying the same. I would here remark that I had no opportunity of seeing the Ninety-fifth Ohio while engaged with the enemy. Its severe loss attests its gallant con duct and great exposure.

I have the honor to be,

Your obedient servant,

Alex. Wilken, Colonel Ninth Minnesota Infantry Volunteers, Late Commanding First Brigade, &c. Lieutenant O. H. Abel, A. A. A. G. Infantry Division U. S. Forces, &c.

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