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Doc. 82.-skirmish on the Tallahatchie.1

camp First Kansas infantry, near Abbeville, Miss., December 16, 1862.
Editors Missouri Democrat:
It is with regret that we feel called upon to make this communication. We are not in the habit of fault-finding, but we feel that it is but justice to a brave and noble officer, and the men under his command, that the glaring and seemingly wilful mistakes of your correspondent, W. L. F., should be contradicted. That he is mistaken in his account of the skirmish north of the Tallahatchie on [288] November thirtieth, every man and officer of the left wing ought to know, and how he, as the medium between the army, the press, and the people, can allow himself to state so palpable a falsehood, (he that should be the most correct of the correctly informed,) is beyond our comprehension.

The facts are these: On the morning of the thirtieth, Colonel Deitzler, Colonel First Kansas infantry, commanding the First brigade of McArthur's division, was ordered to take four regiments of infantry, the First Kansas, Eleventh Illinois, Thirty-ninth and Twenty-seventh Ohio, and, assisted by Col. Lee with the Seventh Kansas, Third Michigan, and Fourth Illinois cavalry, make a reconnoissance of the enemy's position. The men were ordered to take three days rations, General Hamilton supposing it would take at least two days to accomplish the object of the movement. The battery consisted of four ten-pounder Parrott guns, and was worked under the immediate supervision of Colonel Deitzler. About half-way between our camp and the enemy, something over four miles from each, we encountered the enemy's cavalry and a battery of artillery, when our line was formed with the battery in the road, the Eleventh Illinois supporting on the right, and the First Kansas on the left; the Ohio regiments were there, but were not brought into line during the fight. At one o'clock P. M., we had driven the enemy back within their works, occupied the hills on the north side of the river, within one mile and a half of their forts, and within plain sight and range of their works. Our force lay in that position for near two hours, until observations were completed, and then returned to their camp at Lumpkins's Mills without molestation by the enemy. Colonel Lee did good service with his cavalry, but did not command the expedition. The Ohio regiments would doubtless have done good service if they had been called upon, but they were not, and only marched out and back without so much as forming a line. The only injury done to any of our artillery was the breaking of an axletree of a limber-box belonging to one of the guns, by rushing against a tree.

By inserting this you will be “honoring those to whom honor is due,” and much oblige, yours respectfully,

N. W. Spicer, Captain, Co. D, First Kansas Volunteers. J. W. Staw, First Lieutenant, Co. D, First Kansas Volunteers. Milton Kennedy, Second Lieutenant, Co. D, First Kansas Volunteers. H. M. Howard, First Lieutenant, Co. H, First Kansas Infantry.

1 see “advance on Holly Springs, Miss.,” page 214 ante.

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