if they came to rest during the day make a reconnaissance at night and attack the enemy's camp at or before day in the morning. The men were ordered to remain under arms near their horses, but allowed to take the bits from their mouths to enable them to take a feed of corn.
I was proceeding to arrange on paper my command, numbers, names of officers, &c., so as to organize them, when Captains Cage and Cochran, of Slemons' and Adams' commands, rode up and reported. While they were speaking, and before I could learn anything of their command, a gun fired from the vedettes, followed in rapid succession by another and another, gave notice of the approach of the enemy. A prompt movement to horse was made, but before we could mount a rapid fire from the bridge informed us the enemy were there. They came in force, yelling and firing. The vedettes and pickets behaved well and checked the advance by a steady fire. I made the best formation I could with a command just thrown together, many of them totally undrilled. Lieutenant-Colonel Wade formed his men as a reserve. The enemy formed in line of battle across the whole field on the right of the bridge and partially on the left, their reserve being larger than my whole force, and then busily commenced throwing large parties upon my flank and skirmishes all along the line of the creek. I soon saw their object was to turn me upon my right and get below me upon the road to Baldwyn, from the numbers they moved around, evidently supported by infantry. I determined to fight them as long as I could do so properly. In order to engage my attention in front they made two separate charges up the hill from the bridge, but were driven back in confusion and with loss by a prompt and well-directed fire from the companies in front. Their guns were of longer range than ours and they poured upon us a constant and rapid fire, fortunately for us aiming a little too high.
Finding they were surrounding us rapidly I rode forward personally and examined their forces. I then determined to fall back a few hundred yards and form a new line in the field upon the road to McGee's, dismounting most of my men along the fence, Colonel Wade forming in the field. Finding that I could not maintain this position when Colonel Wade left the field, necessarily, from their fire, I determined to withdraw my command toward the Pontotoc road. I ordered the right-about to be sounded and moved off in the direction named in good order. I did this for the following reasons: I had accomplished the purposes of the scout so far as I was able to do so; I had fought the enemy successfully for forty minutes with no loss on my part, and I was satisfied with loss to him, against superior numbers, with all the advantage on their side of position, preparations and drill and weapons. I was satisfied that they had been fully posted by some means as to our movement and were fully prepared for us, and was satisfied that by longer remaining I must sacrifice the greater portion if not the whole of my command.
I had no loss except one man [Private Adkins, Company B] very slightly wounded in the leg; one horse escaped, and one slightly wounded in the neck, but now in camp. The loss of the enemy cannot be less than 10 or 15 killed and some wounded.
My whole command followed me at the right-about except Colonel
Wade's and Captain Cochran's companies with him. They were near me when I moved, and I thought in line, for I rode back in person and formed my rear guard, inquiring for each command. The dust was so great I could not see the separate commands. I soon learned that he was on a road leading to the Pontotoc road. I halted and sent messages