Number 76. Report of Major Charles S. Hayes, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, of skirmish near Middleton and engagement at Hatchie Bridge.
HDQRS. FIFTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
FOURTH DIV., DIST. OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Bolivar, Tenn., October 8, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the First and Second Battalions of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, in the advance, of the 4th instant, to Metamora, and in the engagement of the 5th in the valley of the Hatchie, near Davis' Bridge:
With the First Battalion I proceeded in advance of General Lauman's brigade to Middleton, and left Major Ricker with the Second Battalion to General Veatch. My whole force numbered 294. While halted at Middleton the pickets outside the village reported the advance along the railroad from the direction of Pocahontas of a body of the enemy's cavalry, upon which they fired. When I came to their support the enemy, some 60 or 70 strong, fled precipitately and scattered in the woods in all directions. Presently one of our vedettes reported the Second Regiment Arkansas Cavalry encamped a mile south of the town. I then sent for Major Ricker's battalion, and after reconnoitering found that they had left a short time previously.
I was then ordered forward to the State Line road, and we again drove back the enemy's pickets into the woods joining the roads, when they fell back upon a force about 200 strong. We had a brisk skirmish with them, when the enemy again fled, leaving 3 men and 2 horses killed, we having 1 man mortally wounded (since dead) and 3 horses disabled.
I then advanced rapidly to the small village of Metamora, situated on the river above Davis' Bridge, when the advance guard came upon a heavy cavalry picket of the enemy, which they drove into a corn field on the left. I deployed two companies to surround the field and capture them. We had taken 2 prisoners and 6 of their horses, when Lieutenant Dempster, commanding the advance, reported to me that he was attacked by a heavy force and would be unable to hold his position on the top of the ridge. Finding that he was being pursued by a force of 600 or 700 I immediately rallied the battalion in the edge of the woods west from Metamora and opened fire, when a brisk skirmish ensued. I ordered up the Second Battalion and engaged them with my whole force for an hour, when, my ammunition being exhausted, I fell back to where the division had halted. The enemy showed no desire to follow. We had 2 men slightly wounded and 2 horses disabled.
Upon Sunday, the 5th instant, being ordered to take seven companies and make a detour to the right or left, as I saw fit, I accordingly took the road leading to the left, through Pocahontas, and approached Metamora from the north. When within a mile of that place we came upon a considerable force of cavalry and infantry, upon whom I charged and drove them before us, when they broke and fled down the hillside toward the river. I then advanced to the cross-roads at Metamora, clearing the roads of small detachments. Here I discovered the enemy crossing the bridge at Davis' in force, and that they were bringing their guns into position on the right and left of the road in the open field below, of which I immediately informed General Veatch, upon whose advance I divided my force and placed them to watch on