War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0556 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

the Sixty-first, and Lieutenant-Colonel Dengler, of the Forty-third, it was considered most advisable to take position with the infantry half a mile back toward Jackson, in the outskirts of the timber, at Salem Cemetery. The Sixty-first was assigned to the left and the Forty-third to the right of the road. The Fifth Ohio Cavalry was posted on the extreme left, with instructions to send patrols to the Spring Creek road. One battalion of the Eleventh Illinois and the Second West Tennessee Cavalry were assigned to the right flank, with orders to send patrols to the old Lexington road, while the balance of the Eleventh was to show itself in the front and center, and, without exposing its men to any loss, should attempt to provoke the enemy to an attack, by means of which it might be got under the fire of the infantry.

At daybreak the enemy advanced, with heavy columns of cavalry on either flank, in advance of the main body in the road. Our cavalry retired slowly before the enemy, and took position at the point marked A on the accompanying plat, it being on the western bluff of the branch passing through the Brooks farm. It was the intention of Major Funke, commanding this portion of the Eleventh Illinois, to await the enemy in this position, give it an effective volley from the carbines of his men, and then fall back to the place marked B, where he could again rally his men, under the cover of the ridge, near the center of the open fields, between the Brooks farm and Salem Cemetery, where he proposed giving them a second fire. The enemy, however, very leisurely reconnoitered the position of our cavalry, rarely exposing itself to a long-range shot from our carbines, and only firing occasional rifle-shots at us, with the evident intention of provoking our fire, the better to be able to ascertain our position. Having succeeded to his satisfaction, the enemy brought batteries into position. Having succeeded to his satisfaction, the enemy brought batteries into position, from one-fourth to one-third of a mile, to both sides of the road, on the high ground opposite our cavalry, and opened a well-directed cross-fire upon it. The position at A became untenable and Major Funke fell back to B. It was, however, not long before the enemy's artillery also got range of this position, and his cavalry showing itself at the same time at A, our own again fell back,partly to the left of our lines and partly to our center, where it exhibited itself to the enemy, while the infantry was well concealed. The enemy's artillery now changed position, some occupying the road in front of Brooks' house; another piece was planted on the high ground to the north and on this side of the branch, while one piece still occupied the rise beyond and to the south. The latter piece continued its fire with but little intermission, while the other pieces, as soon as they attained their new position, opened a well-directed fire toward our center and flanks, where portions of our cavalry were in view. At this time information was received that a large body of the enemy's cavalry was passing at the distance of a mile to the south around my right flank. A messenger was dispatched to General Sullivan, requesting that some troops might be sent to oppose the enemy on my right flank and that others be sent to my rear as a reserve. At this time the cavalry, both on my right and left flanks, weary from the hardships to which they had been exposed during the two preceding days, and now under fire from the enemy's batteries, fell back about 1 mile toward Jackson without having first obtained any orders from me to that effect. Soon a heavy column of the enemy advanced slowly down the road, over the high point at B, first at a trot walk, then at a trot, and then at full speed. With loud cheers they charged upon my center. As they approached they were received by a well-directed fire, some of the foremost horses falling and obstructing the road, those immediately