No. 5. Report of Brigadier General Roger A. Pryor, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON THE BLACKWATER, February 4, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the fight at Kelly's Store on the 30th ultimo:
With the design of subsisting my command as largely as possible within the enemy's line, on the 25th ultimo I crossed the Blackwater on a foraging expedition. The detachment consisted of the regiments of Cols. [Robert C.] Trigg, [J. J.] McMahon, and [Thomas] Poage; 150 men of Colonel [W. C.] Claiborne's [Seventh Confederate] Cavalry; [Captain J. C.] Coit's,and a section, respectively, of [Captain S. T.] Wright's and [Captain Louis H.] Webb's batteries. Subsequently I directed Major [S. P.] McConnell to join me with a part of [H. A.] Edmundson's battalion and a section of S. Taylor Martin's battery. The entire force did not exceed 1,800 of all arms.
The evening of the 25th I bivouacked at Somerton. Informed of the presence of the enemy's cavalry at Gatesville, some 12 miles distant, I dispatched Lieutenant Colonel [V. H.] Taliaferro that night with 100 mounted men to beat up their quarters;but they were appraised of his approach, and despite the celerity of his march they continued to escape by a circuitous route to Suffolk.
The 26th I moved from Somerton to Holland's Store, where I was detained three days be inclement weather.
On the 29th I resumed my march, and that evening about 5 o'clock I reached Kelly's Store, on the direct road from Franklin to Suffolk, distant from the former 12 miles, from the latter scarcely 9. Apprehending a probable attack, I disposed my force in such manner as to be prepared for any contingency. I preferred to approach Kelly's by the road from Kinsale Swamp, because it conducted toward the enemy by a direct instead of an oblique march, and because, being covered on either side by an extensive and impenetrable pognosia, it protected me against the possibility of a flank attack, except through certain obscure pathways, which a small force would suffice to block up. At Kelly's the road divides - one fork leading directly to Suffolk, the other turning almost perpendicularly to the left and sweeping around by Ely's and Providence Church. A hundred or two paces from the store both roads are intersected by a swamp, but it oppose scarcely any obstruction to the passage of troops. The stores stands in an open field of considerable extent, inclosed on either side by a thick pine growth reaching to both roads at the point where they traverse the swamp. The wood in rear of the field, about 1 mile from the swamp, I occupied with the regiments of McMahon and Poage, deployed on both sides of the road. One battalion of Trigg's regiment was in the pines on the left, a little in advance of Poage's, the other on the right, a little in advance of McMaHonorable The batteries I destined to sweep the field in case the enemy should cross the swamp. A section of 6-pounders I advanced to within 300 yards of the store, one gun being on either side of the road. Some 400 yards to the rear and on either side of the road I placed a rifled piece and howitzer. This was Coit's battery. Wright's section, consisting of a rifled gun and howitzer, was in position on the left of the road and in line with Coit's rearmost pieces. Edmundson's battalion, with a section of Martin's and a section of Webb's batteries, were held in reserve some three-quarters of a mile in rear of the