War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0168 Chapter XXIX. WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS.

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almost as for a battle. It was probably this which induced General Davies to ask permission to rest his right on the rebel entrenchments and to which I consented, adding the verbal order to Lieutenant-Colonel Ducat that he might "use his judgment about leaving his present for that position; but in no event must he cease to touch his left on McArthur's right." The advance was made to the breastwork (as shown on the drawing), but leaving an interval between McArthur's and Davie's left. The enemy developed his forces along that line. McArthur retired from his position, which gave the rebels an opportunity to advance behind Davies' left, and forced it, after obstinate resistance, to fall back rapidly about 1,000 yards, losing two heavy guns.

Our troops fought with the most determined courage, firing very low. At 1 p. m. Davies, having resumed the same position he had occupied in the morning and McArthur's brigade having fought a heavy force, it became evident that the enemy were in full strength and meant mischief. McKean, with Crocker's brigade, had seen only skirmishers; there were no signs of any movements on our left and only a few cavalry skirmishers on our right. It was pretty clear that we were to expect the weight of the attack to fallen our center, where hopes had been given by our failing back. Orders were accordingly given to McKean to fall back to the next ridge beyond our entrenchments, to touch his right on Davies' left; for Stanley to move northward and eastward, to stand in close, en echelon, with McKean, but nearer town. General Hamilton was ordered to face toward Chewalla and move down until his left reached Davies' right. Davies was informed of these dispositions, told to hold his ground obstinately, and then, when he had drawn them in strongly, Hamilton would swing in on their flank and rear and close the day. Hamilton was carefully instructed on this point and entered into the spirit of it.

Owing to loss of time in conveying orders to Generals McKean and Davies the orders were less perfectly conformed to, but nothing materially incurious resulted therefrom. But owing to the tremendous force with which the enemy pressed Davies back Stanley was called with his division into the batteries, and sent a brigade, under Colonel Mower, to support Davies, whose right had at last become hotly engaged. Mower came up while Davies was contesting a position near the White House, and Hamilton began towing in on the enemy's flank, across the Columbus railroad, through a very impracticable thicket, when night closed in and put an end to the operations for the day.

The details of the heroic deeds of the troops of Davies' division of McArthur's and Oliver's brigades, as well as those of Sullivan's brigade of Hamilton's division, will be found in the accompanying sub-reports.


We had now before us the entire army which the rebels could muster in Northern Mississippi, Van Dorn commanding; Price's army, Van Dorn's army, Villepigue, and the remnants of Breckinridge's corps. They were in the angle between the Columbus and Memphis roads. Our left was comparatively free, our right very assailable. They outnumbered us probably two to one.

The plan was to rest our left on the batteries, extending from Battery Robinett, our center on the slight ridge north of the houses, and our right on the high ground covering both the Pittsburg and Purdy roads, while it also covered the ridge road between them, leading to their old