Numbers 12. Report of Colonel James Gordon, Fourth Mississippi Cavalry.
MARCH 28, 1863.
GENERAL: In pursuance of orders from brigade headquarters to report the part performed by the Fourth Regiment Mississippi Cavalry in the expedition to Brentwood Station, I report as follows, viz:I moved with the division on the 24th instant, under Generals [N. B.] Forrest and [F. C.] Armstrong, and reached the neighborhood of Brentwood about 8 a. m. of the 25th instant. my regiment was left as a rear guard, and I remained a half mile in the rear then the camp of the enemy was attacked. After its surrender, I was ordered to move forward, but to leave a strong rear guard. I left Captain [J. J.] Perry in command of Companies B, C. F, and I, and moved forward at a gallop with Companies D, G, H, and K. I followed the column in front of me, which formed in line of battle on the Franklin pike. General Forrest ordered me to move off by the right flank, and move in rear of a stockade fort which was in front of us. The general led the advance in person, followed by one piece of artillery and my squadrons. I formed in line of battle in rear of the fort. The gun was unlimbered, and, after the firing of one shot, the fort surrendered. I was then ordered by General Forrest to burn the railroad bridge and destroy the enemy's camps, &c. I loaded all the wagons, ambulances, &c., with arms and army stores, and sent them off, under a guard, as rapidly as possible. After everything was removed or destroyed, I moved off, but had not proceeded over a mile when I learned that the enemy were close upon my rear. I halted Company D, command by Lieutenant H. L. P. McGee, and gave the enemy a very effective fire, which emptied a number of saddles and checked them until I could form again on the next hill, and gave them another fire from Captains [John] Gaddis' and [J. T.] Pitts' companies, the latter commanded by Lieutenant [J. Y.] Smith. I then formed Lieutenant McGee's command (on foot) behind a stone fence, and gave them another volley. The enemy here charged me while my guns were empty, and I was forced to make a precipitate retreat. The enemy's fire was very close and severe at this point. I lost 20 men killed, wounded, and captured. How many were killed, if any, I cannot say. There were 5 wounded that I know of, 4 of whom were captured.
Captain [J. B.] Hall, whose company had been sent off in squads with his lieutenants with the wagons, remained himself, with about a dozen men, until he received a painful wound through the foot. Had my full command been present, or if the regiment in front of me had halted and assisted men, I have no doubt but that the enemy might have been easily repulsed. With a handful of men, I gave them three fires, two of which checked them long enough for me to reload and form. And after the third volley, I am mortified to confess, I was forced, by overwhelming numbers, to become a part and parcel of the disgraceful number who stampeded in front of me without ever firing a gun.
My thanks are due Lieutenant McGee for the coolness and skill displayed by himself and command under the most disadvantageous circumstances. My thanks are also due to Captain Swingley (I believe), of [N. N.] Cox's regiment, who in vain attempted to assist me, but could not stop his men, although my regiment contested every inch of ground until pressed by the foe and not a loaded gun left. The censure, by other commands, of stampeding, falls heavily upon it. With a consciousness of having performed my duty, and confident that justice will