JANUARY 30, 1863. -Skirmish at Dyersburg, Tenn.
Report of Colonel Oliver Wood, Twenty-SECOND Ohio Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES FORCES,
Trenton, Tenn., February 4, 1863.
SIR: I respectfully send you the following report of the skirmish at Dyersburg, of the forces under my command, with [W. A.] Dawson's guerrilla band:
The expedition, consisting of 100 of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under Captains Burbridge and Moffitt, and 38 of the Twenty-SECOND Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under Lieutenant Whitehead, left this place at 2 p. m. January 30, in three detachments-the right, under Captain Burbridge, taking the Newbern road; the center, Captain Moffitt, the Dyersburg road; the left, Lieutenant Whitehead, with mounted infantry, taking the Chestnut Bluff road-with orders to concentrate at Dyersburg as soon as possible.
Captain Moffitt was the first to arrive at Dyersburg, and found the enemy posted in a house at the WEST end of the bridge across the Forked Deer River. The rebels had been in this position for some time during the day, skirmishing with a detachment of the THIRD Michigan Cavalry, under Captain Quackenbush, to prevent them form crossing the bridge. It was near midnight when Captain Moffitt arrived, and, finding where the enemy was posted, ordered his men to charge, which they did in gallant style, Captain Moffitt leading the advance, completely routed them, killing 2, wounding 4, and capturing 17, when the rebels broke and fled in every direction. Captain Moffitt was severely wounded in the thigh. This was the only casualty on our side. Captains Burbridge and Quackenbush and Lieutenant Whitehead arrived soon after with their commands, and were sent in different directions in pursuit of the fugitives. The country was completely scoured for several miles in every direction, and every ferry destroyed on the Obion and Forked Deer Rivers that could be found. The search was kept up for three days, when I ordered it discontinued, the men and horses being nearly worn down from hard service and exposure. We captured in all 30
prisoners, 25 horses, and 28 guns, of all kinds, calibers, and descriptions. Every officer and man did his duty faithfully and with alacrity. Were I to personate, duty would compel me to name every officer and man of the command. One incident will illustrate the temper of the men. Lieutenant Whitehead, commanding the mounted infantry, swam his command across a branch of the Forked Deer rather than march 2 miles to a ford, fearing that he would be behind time. Many of the horses failed on the march, and I allowed the men to take the captured horses and remount. I have taken charge of the horses that had given out on the march and brought them to this place.
I regret to state that Lieutenant Neeley, THIRD M was accidentally, and, I fear, mortally, wounded in the thigh. The surgeon thinks there is but little hope of his recovery. I left three companies of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, under the command of Captain Burbridge, at Dyersburg, to watch the movements of the rebels and report to me. If Dawson shows himself, we will soon be on his track.
Captain T. H. HARRIS, Asst. Adjt. General, District of Jackson.