H. B. Lyon, opened fire in return. Very soon the fire extended toward our right, along the Twenty-third Mississippi, under Lieutenant Colonel Moses McCarley, and the Twenty-sixth Mississippi, under Major T. F. Parker. The order to press the enemy was fully carried out. They were not allowed time to breathe, and though making two gallant stands in the first mile they were driven from their positions without our men faltering for a moment. The tactics of the enemy did them great credit. Their whole force consisted of mounted infantry armed with Colt's, Smith's, and Sharps most approved weapons, with two pieces of artillery. The country over which they had to pass was an alternate wood and field. On being driven to the edge of a field they mounted and retreated across it, dismounting and sending their horses to the rear. They had all the advantage of position, being covered by the woodland while our men advanced across the open field. At these points the fire of the enemy was terrific,m but nothing could stop the onward movement, and our men moved forward without slackening their pace in the least.
Having driven the enemy for more than a mile it occurred to me that should the troops of General [Albert] Rust's command not have moved to their left far enough to guard my right flank, I might run some risk of being outflanked. to guard against this I detached Lieutenant [J. G.] Barbour, commanding my body guard, with a portion of his men, with orders to move at full speed to my extreme right and take position with his men well extended and watch my right flank. No sooner had he reached the point and commenced moving up with our main line than he was fired upon by the enemy. Lieutenant Barbour immediately sent a courier informing me of the fact, when I ordered the Fourteenth Mississippi, under Major [W. L.] Doss, to move at double-quick by the right flank until he reached the point occupied by Lieutenant Barbour, then to assume his original front and press them again.
During all this time the enemy were uninterruptedly driven from every position and forced back to a point 3 miles from Coffeeville, when on reaching a commanding position they opened fire from their artillery, again supported by the severest fire of musketry we had yet encountered. The heaviest fire was encountered by the Ninth Arkansas and the Eighth Kentucky Regiments. Their efforts were, however, useless; nothing could check the advance of our men, and the position was carried without a moment's delay just at dark.
It occurred to me a few moments before this that a dash of our cavalry might have secured the piece of artillery in its last position, but it would have involved a heavy loss of life, not warranted under the circumstances, and I did not give the order.
Having already driven the enemy much farther than was ordered by a message from General [M.] Lovell, I gave the order to halt and cease firing, very much to the chagrin of both officers and men, who, notwithstanding the severe duties and deprivations of the last week, seemed to forget everything but the desire showed by all to repay the injuries suffered by them during their long and barbarous imprisonment at the North.
The Fourteenth Mississippi, Major Doss commanding, toward the close became too far separated from the main command, but was abundantly able to take care of itself, and drove back the enemy in their front, killing and wounding a number, among them Lieutenant-Colonel [William] McCullough, who was shot dead within twenty paces of our line. This regiment also captured 17 prisoners, with al their horses, arms, and accouterments.
The loss on our part, as stated in my note to Major-General Lovell of