Report of Colonel George G. Dibrell, Eighth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry, of operations from December 15, 1862-January 6, 1863.
MOUNT PLEASANT, TENN., January 6, 1863.
In obedience to verbal instructions from General Forrest I herewith submit a report of the action of the Eighth Tennessee Cavalry in his recent expedition into West Tennessee:
On December 18 , 1862, we crossed the Tennessee River at Clifton in a large wood flat-boat.
On the 19th [18th] we advanced on Lexington, Tenn., moving at early dawn. Lexington was occupied by Colonel [I. R.] Hawkins' regiment of United States cavalry, with pickets at Beech River, 6 miles out. The enemy attempted to destroy the bridge at Beech River, but were driven back by the Fourth Alabama, which was in advance and charged into press them into Jackson, which they did, arriving in the suburbs, a distance of 40 miles, soon after dark. About 10 o'clock at night the Eighth Tennessee moved around to the north of Jackson for the purpose of capturing Carroll Station, destroying the railroad track, and preventing re-enforcements coming into Jackson. We had much trouble in securing guides, but reached the vicinity just in time to fire a volley into a passing train on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and then with a yell charged the stockade, which was promptly surrendered with 101 prisoner, a large amount of ammunition, stores, tents, &c. The Eighth was armed in part with 400 flint-lock muskets. We took all of the arms of the enemy, stacked such as we could not carry off in the stockade with a large number of our flint-locks, and burned the stockade and all together; and after tearing up the Mobile and Ohio Railroad track for a considerable distance marched back and joined the main command near Spring Creek.
On the 21st [20th] General Forrest ordered the Eighth Tennessee and one piece of artillery, under Captain Morton, to destroy the stockade and bridge at Forked Deer River, but we were repulsed by a large infantry force that moved out on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, losing several men killed and wounded. We participated in the divide of the large amount of supplies captured by the general at Trenton, and there finished equipping the regiment with good guns, clothing, &c. We also destroyed a very long trestle and several bridges on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad on the Obion River, and, moving back, was in front on the morning of December 31, when our scouts reported a large infantry force in our front near Parker's Cross-Roads. We immediately turned our wagon train to the right and moved on to meet the enemy's advance. A lively skirmish ensued, when Freeman's battery opened upon them with splendid effect, and they retreated back to Parker's Cross-Roads, where Colonel [C. L.] Dunham, U. S. Army, was with a brigade of infantry. We advanced rapidly to the cross-roads, and were ordered by General Forrest to take possession of a hill in a large cotton field, which we did at a double-quick, and then began our first regular battle as cavalry. We had no protection but the top of the hill, while the enemy was sheltered by woods and a fence. They made three efforts to charge us, but the galling fire from our guns and one 12-pounder howitzer, manned by Sergt. Nat. Baxter, of Freeman's battery, drove them back. They had six pieces of artillery and we but one. The battle raged with great fury until we were joined upon our left by