the infantry. They were saluted with a most destructive fire, which killed and wounded a large number of men and horses, stopped their progress, threw them into panic and confusion and before they could extricate themselves the Forty-third and Sixty-first gave them repeated volleys and drove them from the field.
The cavalry did their work well in bringing the enemy on, fighting as they came, and the conduct of the two regiments was as steady and gallant as their management was admirable.
The official reports of Colonel Engelmann, Lieutenant-Colonel Dengler, and Major Ohr, herewith furnished, are referred to for further details of this gallant affair.
The enemy were soon found making movements to flank, and possibly surround, our little force, when Colonel Engelmann withdrew toward Jackson. While doing so the enemy annoyed him severely by discharges of shell from his artillery, posted at Brooks' house, a place notorious as the resort of spies and disloyal citizens. Under this fire, from which some loss was suffered, our forces returned to a secure position within a mile of Jackson.
On the same afternoon, in compliance with General Sullivan's orders, I assumed command of the Forty-third, Fifty-fourth, Sixty-first, Sixty-second and One hundred and twenty-second Regiments Illinois Volunteers, together with the cavalry before mentioned, and having formed in line of battle upon the open plantation of Harvey Brown advanced upon the enemy. Sharp skirmishing took place on each flank as we steadily advanced; and in front covered by timber, and having advantage of a deep and wide ravine, the enemy seemed ready to dispute our progress, our cavalry being disposed in front and on either flank, and our line of skirmishers kept the way clear. The enemy, however, gave way and we reached (still in line of battle and without serious interruption) the elevated ridge at Brooks' farm, from which the enemy's artillery had shelled our small force in the morning. Here we were joined by Vaughn's artillery, and darkness coming on we paused for the night. Pickets and scouts were thrown out, camp fires were built and the men sought repose upon the ground, with their arms ready for instant use. We were not, however, disturbed, the enemy having as since shown, abandoned their position as soon as we advanced in force, moving in the direction of Humboldt and Trenton.
On the following morning the Sixty-second Illinois Volunteers having been detached from my command, and Colonel Lawler, commanding the Second Brigade, having under General Sullivan's order passed to the front, the march was at an early hour resumed in the direction of Lexington. At noon cannonading was heard to the north, indicating an attack on Humboldt or Trenton. The Second Brigade took the road to Spring Creek; mine continued on the road to Lexington, halting for the night within 10 miles of that place. Major Hayes, however, with his command pressed forward to Lexington, finding no enemy.
On the morning of the 21st (Sunday) the whole command returned to Jackson, and on the 22nd I returned, with Captain Vaughn's artillery, to this post, the rest of my command remaining for other duty.
The reports herewith furnished detail the further operations of the Forty-third and Sixty-first Illinois after being severed temporarily from my command.*
The cavalry has doubtless reported to district headquarters. The
*See reports of Engelmann, Dengler and Fry, in Forrest's operations, December 15, 1862-January 3, 1863, in West Tennessee. Ohr's report not found.