War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0380 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

be ended when a heavy fire from fresh troops from Iuka, Burnsville, and Rienzi, that had succeeded in reaching Corinth in time, poured into our thinned ranks. Exhausted from loss of sleep, wearied from hard marching and fighting, companies and regiments without officers, our troops-let no one censure them-gave way. The day was lost.

Lovell's division was at this time advancing pursuant to orders and was on the point of assaulting the works when he received my orders to throw one of his brigades (Villepigue's) rapidly to the center to cover the broken ranks thrown back from Corinth and to prevent a sortie. He then moved his whole division to the left and was soon afterward ordered to move slowly back and take position on Indian Creek and prevent the enemy from turning our flank. The center and left were withdrawn on the same road on which they approached, and being somewhat in confusion on account of the loss of officers, fatigue, thirst, want of sleep, thinned ranks, and the nature of the ground, Villepigue's brigade was brought in opportunely and covered the rear to Chewalla. Lovell came in rear of the whole army and all bivouacked again at Chewalla. No enemy disturbed the sleep of the weary troops.

During the night I had a bridge constructed over the Tuscumbia and sent Armstrong's and Jackson's cavalry with a battery of artillery to seize and hold Rienzi until the army came up, intending to march to and hold that point; but after consultation with General Price, who represented his troops to be somewhat disorganized, it was deemed advisable to return by the same route we came and fall back toward Ripley and Oxford.

Anticipating that the Bolivar force would move out and dispute my passage across the Hatchie Bridge I pushed rapidly on to that point in hopes of reaching and securing the bridge before their arrival, but I soon learned by couriers from Colonel Wirt Adams that I would be too late. I nevertheless pushed on with the intention of engaging the enemy until I could get my train and reserve artillery unmarked and on the Bone Yard road to the crossing at Crum's Mill. This road branches off south from the State Line road about 2 1/2 miles west of Tuscubmia Bridge, running south or up the Hatchie. No contest of long duration could be made here, as it was evident that the army of Corinth would soon make its appearance on our right flank and rear. The trains and reserve artillery were therefore immediately ordeered on the Bone Yard road, and orders were sent to Armstrong and Jackson to change their direction and cover the front and flank of the trains until they crossed the Hatchie, and then to cover and flank of the trains until they were on the Ripley road. The enemy were then engaged beyond the Hatchie Bridge by small fragments of Maury's division as they could bad hastened up, and were kept in check sufficiently long to get everything off. General Ord commanded the forces of the enemy and succeeded in getting into position before any number of our travel-worn troops could get into line of battle. It is not surprising, therefore, that they were driven back across the bridge; but they maintained their positions on the hills overlooking it under their gallant leader, General Price, until orders were sent to fall back and take up their line of march on the Bone Yard road in rear of the whole train.

At one time, fearing that the enemy, superior in numbers to the whole force I had in advance of the train, would drive us back, I ordered General Lovell to leave one brigade to guard the rear at the Tuscumbia Bridge and to push forward with the other two to the front. This order was quickly executed, and very soon the splendid brigades of Rust and Villepigue made their appearance close at hand. The army corps of