War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0513 Chapter XXIX. MISSISSIPPI CENTRAL RAILROAD.

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point of defense. Our only hope of safety now lay in a saber charge, which appeared to be simultaneously executed on the different parts of our line. Captain Marsh handsomely broke through on the north and passed westwardly, leaving Captain Jones, whose horse was shot under him, and Lieutenant Garrett, wounded, and both were taken prisoners. With the small force around me I broke the rebel line on the west, and with the loss of several of my best men made my way out, chasing a large number of rebels, and in turn being followed by a heavy detachment of the enemy.

On the west side of town I was joined by Captain Marsh, now carrying three wounds, notwithstanding which he continued with me on duty nearly all day. His wounds are severe but not dangerous.

Captain Jones and Higgins ably seconded Lieutenant-Colonel McNeil on the northeast, and passed out with Captain Marsh on the west. The former, as before stated, was taken prisoner; and the latter, passing around to the south to the aid of Major Bush, who forced the rebel lines ont he southeast, and with the aid of many of our officers and men, passed through town and back, fighting at every corner and recapturing our camp and releasing many of our men who were prisoners; thence to Coldwater, where I subsequently joined him and aided Colonel O'Meara in preparations for defending his position, then threatened.

Major Bush's report (inclosed)* will do justice to other officers who were not under my personal observation. I would be doing violence to justice were I do omit to mention Lieutenant Stickel, commanding Company F, as peculiarly worthy of commendation; as well also Lieutenants Weakley and Venard. Lieutenants Hall, Naylor, Moore, and Holt, and Captain Whitaker, I am told, acquitted themselves with honor.

On Sunday morning, under orders of Colonel O'Meara, I came here under flag of truce, and finding the place deserted, and being joined by Lieutenant Stickel with a few men, I took possession of the place and held it until the arrival of Colonel Marsh, at 10 o'clock.

I have to report the loss of 8 men killed (including 1 since dead) and 39 wounded. A few are yet missing, some of whom may be wounded. Somewhere about 70 of my men went to Memphis and are yet there.

The paroled prisoners reported to Major Fullerton, who left with them in my absence, and I am without a list, and cannot report the number, but it is about 100. This loss is heavy, but the odds were great, and any but the most resolute men would have surrendered without attempting to fight or escape.

Our regimental books were saved, but the papers, as well as most of the company books and papers, were destroyed. Our camp and garrison equipage, together with baggage and clothing, were all destroyed, except a few tents, and our men are suffering for want of tents, blankets, clothing, and rubber blankets.

I cannot close this report without expressing the opinion that this disaster is another added to the long list occasioned by the drunkenness or inefficiency of commanding officers. I cannot doubt but that the place could have been successfully defended by even half the force here had suitable precautions been taken and the infantry been concentrated, their officers in camp with them and prepared to fight. This was not done; but on the contrary they were scattered in four or five different sections of the place, their officers quietly sleeping at the houses of rebel citizens, who were no doubt apprised of the advance of the enemy


*Not found.