charge on foot. He was a gallant officer, and after he fell his command continued to drive the enemy from their position on the right bank, strewing their path with dead and wounded Federals.
I cannot speak in too high terms of all my commanding officers; and the men, considering they were mostly raw recruits, fought well. I have not been able as yet to ascertain our except my ammunition wagons, which, by a mistake of orders, were driven right into the enemy's line. This is seriously to be regretted, as we had captured six wagon loads of it; and when I ordered up one wagon of ammunition and two ambulances, the wagon-master and ordnance officer not knowing exactly what kind was wanted, or misunderstanding the order, brought up all the ammunition, and by the time he reached the point with them where the battle begun that portion of the ground was in possession of the enemy, and the guards, &c., were forced to abandon them.
We have always been short of shot-guns caps, and as we captured nothing but musket-caps, all the men using shot-guns were out, or nearly so, of caps after the action was over. Considering our want of ammunition for small-arms and artillery and the worn-down condition of our men and horses I determined at once to recross the Tennessee River and fit up for a return. Had we been entirely successful in the battle of the 31st I should have attacked Bethel Station on the 2d instant; had already sent a company to cut wires and bridges, and had forage prepared 12 miles south of Lexington for my entire command; but after the fight, and knowing we were followed by Federals in heavy force from Trenton and Huntingdon, and that a force would also move on us from Jackson as soon as they learned I head pushed south of Lexington, I deemed it advisable to cross the Tennessee, which I accomplished yesterday and last night in safety.
Colonel Biffle, who I before mentioned as having been sent to Trenton, or in that direction, returned in time to take part in the battle at Parker's Cross-Roads. He captured and paroled 150 Federals within 6 miles of Trenton.
The captains of the four companies sent to Clarksburg have not yet reached here with their commands. Had they done their duty by advising me of the approach of the enemy I could have terminated the fight by making it short and decisive, when without such advice I was whipping them badly with my artillery, and unless absolutely necessary was not pressing them with my cavalry. I had them entirely surrounded and was driving them before me, and was taking it leisurely and trying as much as possible to save my men. The four companies on the approach of the enemy left for Tennessee River and have not yet reported here.
I do not design this, general, as a regular report, but will make one as soon as I can do so. We crossed the river at three points, and the brigade is not yet together, or reports from the different commands have not come in. We have worked, rode, and fought hard, and I hope accomplished to a considerable extent, if not entirely, the object of our campaign, as we drew from Corinth, Grand Junction, and La Grange about 20,000 Federals. Will send you an additional list of paroles, &c., by next courier.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
Lieutenant Co. GEORGE WILLIAM BRENT,