War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0593 Chapter XXIX. FORREST'S EXPEDITION INTO W. TENN.

Search Civil War Official Records

Number 20. Reports of Brig. General Nathan B. Forrest, C. S. Army, commanding Expedition, of operations, December 11, 1862-January 3, 1863.

BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS,

Near Union City, Tenn., December 24, 1862.

GENERAL: In accordance with your order I moved with my command from columbia on the 11 th instant, reached the river at Clifton on Sunday, the 13th, and after much difficulty, working night and day, finished crossing on the 15th, encamping that night 8 miles west of the river.

On the 16th [18th] we met the pickets of the enemy near Lexington and attacked their forces at Lexington, consisting of one section of artillery and 800 cavalry. We routed them completely, capturing the two guns and 148 prisoners, including Colonel [R. G.] Ingersoll and Maj.[L. H.] Kerr, of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry. We also captured about 70 horses, which were badly needed and immediately put in service in our batteries. The balance of the Federal cavalry fled in the direction of Trenton and Jackson. We pushed on rapidly to Jackson, and on the evening of the 18th drove in their pickets on all the roads leading out of Jackson. On the same night I sent Colonel [G. G.

Dibrell on the right of Jackson to tear up the railroad track and destroy the telegraph wires. He captured at Webb's Station 101 Federals, destroying their stockade, and tore up the road, switch, &c., at the turn-out. At the same time that Dibrell was sent on the right Colonel [A. A.] Russell. [Fourth Alabama Cavalry], with their commands were sent out on the left to destroy bridges and culverts on the railroads from Jackson to Corinth and Bolivar.

The next morning [December 19] I advanced on Jackson with Colonel [T. G.] Woodward's two companies and Colonel [J. B.] Biffle's battalion of about 400 men, with two pieces of artillery from Freeman's battery. About 4 miles from Jackson skirmishing began with the skirmishers, and the enemy was reported advancing with two regiments of infantry and a battalion of cavalry. We opened on them with the guns, and after a running fight of about an hour drove them into their fortifications. The enemy had heavily re-enforced at Jackson from Corinth, Bolivar, and La Grange, and numbered, from the best information I could obtain, about 9,000 men. I withdrew my forces that evening and moved rapidly on Trenton and Humboldt. Colonel Dibrell's command was sent to destroy the bridge over the Forked Deer River between Humboldt and Jackson. Colonel [J. W.] Starnes was sent to attack Humboldt, Colonel Biffle was sent so as to get in the rear of Trenton, while with Major Cox's command and my body guard, commanded by Captain [M.] Little, and [S. L.] Freeman's [Tennessee] battery. I dashed into town and attacked the enemy at Trenton. They were fortified at the depot, but were without artillery. After a short engagement between their sharpshooters and our cavalry our battery opened on them, and on the third fire from the battery they surrendered.

We lost 2 men killed and 7 wounded; the enemy 2 killed and over 700 prisoners, with a large quantity of stores, arms, ammunition, and provisions, which for want of transportation we were compelled to destroy. We captured several hundred horses, but few of them were of any value; those that were of service we took, and the balance I

38 R R-VOL XVII