me to retire so far back as the cross-roads at Alexander's. Sent the artillery and two regiments to take position, reserving one regiment as rear guard to support the skirmishers, who were ordered to dispute the entire ground between the two points.
Company F, Fifteenth Michigan Volunteers commanded by Lieutenant James F. Adams, was deployed as skirmishers on the hill near Chewalla. They were attacked and driven off by a strong force of the enemy. At the edge of the woods on the next hill they were joined by Captain Jaquith, Company E, same regiment, who had with him a squad of pickets. Forming, they charged across the open space to the old house by Busbie's driving the enemy before them. At this point they could see a line of battle and one piece of artillery brought to the front against them, when, according to my order, they slowly retired.
At this time I received a telegram from the general commanding and your order to fall back to Alexander's Cross-Roads, 3 miles nearer Corinth, which I did in excellent order, placing my howitzers in position and getting my lines formed so as to thoroughly command the road. My rear guard had a continual skirmish with the enemy up to within 2 miles of Alexander's where they held their ground. I then put out a strong body of pickets on all approaches. They were excellently posted and held by Lieutenant-Colonel Ward, of the Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteers.
I sent both cavalry and infantry to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, with orders to scout up the road as far as possible and to examine carefully for any evidence of bodies of the enemy having crossed the railroad. From them I received information that the enemy were passing down the railroad and across it about 4 miles up, which I at once communicated. The Eighteenth Wisconsin, Colonel Bouck commanding, was ten sent over to Smith's Bridge to guard it, and I assumed the authority of ordering them to destroy it if pressed and to retire to Corinth by the Smith's Bridge road, disputing their way. The pickets on my front and left were undisturbed during the night but those on the railroad (and a party that I had again sent up the road) reported bodies of men pouring on and across the railroad track. I was anxious to cross Cane Creek Bottom with my howitzers and get them in a position which we could hold on the brow of the hill beyond the railroad as at that point we could have good range for our guns and they could not place any artillery at short range to damage us. During the night the Sixteenth Wisconsin Regiment, Major Reynolds commanding, came up on the road to the bottom and detached two companies to assist our skirmishers, and they did us good service. Brigadier-General McArthur came out with them, and in company with him I rode around the pickets.
The Sixteenth Wisconsin, in obedient to orders, returned at daylight to their old camp. About an hour and a half after they left our skirmishers again became engaged. The enemy's force being much stronger, they were driven in obstinately contesting the ground. When the enemy came within some 500 yards of our guns I advanced the Fourteenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, Colonel Hancock, and they in connection with the howitzers drove them back smartly.
At this time I received your dispatch to retire across Cane Creek if I could. I them sent word to Colonel Bouck, Eighteenth Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers, to retire by the Smith's Bridge road, and ordered the skirmishers to maintain their deployments and to retire slowly when the firing of the howitzers should cease.
One howitzer became disabled. It seems the axle had cracked at
23 R R-VOL XVII