War of the Rebellion: Serial 010 Page 0866 KY.,TENN.N.MISS.,N.ALA.,AND SW.VA. Chapter XXII.

Search Civil War Official Records

that place, and that they were going to the Mobile Railroad to tear up the track, they being well provided with implements for that purpose. Upon this information I marched the entire command to Booneville that night, consisting of Lieutenant-Colonels McNairy's and McCulloch's battalions and Captain Milner's cavalry (a portion of Colonel Forrest's regiment), in all about 400 men. Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch's and Captain Milner's commands I stationed, with one piece of artillery, on the west side of the railroad and in Booneville, commanding the road by which the enemy would approach. Lieutenant-Colonel McNairy's battalion was stationed 1 1/2 miles below Booneville, on the east side of the railroad. Having positive information that the enemy would be in Booneville, or attempt to come in, the next morning, I thus disposed of my forces in order to give them the best fight I could with the small force under my command.

Just after daylight the next morning my pickets reported that the enemy were marching into Booneville. This I could not account for, as a portion of my forces was left there the previous night at 8 o'clock. However, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel McNairy to mount his men. Placing myself at their head, I proceeded at once to Booneville. Before reaching there I encountered the enemy (a portion of them), who were in charge of a large number of our sick soldiers, marching them in the direction of Iuka, whom I dispersed. Some ran into an old field to my left and the rest to the railroad. Following those that went in the direction of the railroad, I discovered about 300 of the enemy in line of battle, with sabers drawn; on my left a company of skirmishers, and in their rear about 1,000 mounted men in line of battle. Under these circumstances it was deemed prudent to fall back, and it was accordingly done, forming a new line of battle 200 yards to the rear, awaiting the approach of the enemy, who were advancing slowly. When within 100 yards I ordered a fire upon them, killing 2 and wounding 5; they returned the fire, killing 1 of Captain Parish's men and wounding 3, also disabling 3 horses. After the firing ceased the enemy retired to the old field.

At this time I was informed that a detachment of the enemy was coming up to Booneville from a depot house 1 mile below with some of our sick soldiers as prisoners. Thereupon I moved the command near the road, dismounted, and formed near the track in ambush. When the enemy approached I fired upon them, wounding 2, and, advancing, captured 6 prisoners; the others made their escape through a swamp on the opposite side of the railroad. Remounting, my command moved up to Booneville, and found the enemy had withdrawn in great haste, leaving a few of their men guarding a large number of our sick; they were taken prisoners; making 11 prisoners captured by my command on the occasion.

A short time after Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch arrived on the ground with his and Captain Milner's commands. I asked him why he did not remain in his position overnight. He reported that colonel Orr had ordered him to move his command to the railroad bridge by order of General Beauregard. Thus my plans were overthrown, a train of cars burned laden with public stores, and a few yards of the railroad track displaced.

I beg leave to call the attention of the general commanding to the gallant manner in which the officers and men under my command conducted themselves before the enemy. The entire command numbered 76 enlisted men-parts of three companies-commanded by Captains Parish, McKnight, and Morton (Lieutenant-Colonel McNairy present).