War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0466 Chapter XXXVI. Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC.

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Rolling Fork. In the course of that night I received a dispatch from some citizens, informing me that about 30 Yankees were at Watson's place, on Deer Creek, about 15 miles below Rolling Fork. I at once ordered 30 of the cavalry to oppose them, but the party had but just started when another express from the citizens informed me that five gunboats had entered Deer Creek from Black Bayou, and were rapidly making their way to Rolling Fork. I instantly ordered the rest of the cavalry by forced march to the latter place, to obstruct the creek and keep the enemy in check as long as possible. I hurried the artillery and infantry on the steamer which had brought the latter, and proceeded with all dispatch to the mouth of Rolling Fork, which I fortunately reached before the enemy, on the afternoon of the 19th. Here the prospect was gloomy enough; a pile of saw-dust the only landing place, and the first half mile of the road was overflowed, with two bridges afloat.

By the morning of the 20th, I succeeded in getting one section of artillery to the dry land, and at once attacked the enemy and drove them in on their gunboats, at that time detained in Deer Creek, about one-quarter of a mile below Rolling Fork, by some trees that had been cut by the cavalry. The attack was pushed with success until the ammunition failed, when the forces were withdrawn from range of the gunboats' shells. As soon as the rest of the guns could be brought up and the limbers replenished, the attack was renewed with the same result and discontinued for the same cause.

Just at this time Major [H. W.] Bridges reported to take command of the sharpshooters, and informed me that General Featherston was near with re-enforcements. Turning over the command of the field to him, I hastened to meet General Featherston, to inform him of the condition of things, and to urge him to hurry up and attack. On his arrival on the field, it was agreed that the artillery should open on the boats and keep up a brisk fire until his infantry should debouch from the woods on our left and rather in rear of the enemy, when a rush should be made for the boats. The artillery opened fire as directed; my sharpshooters drove in the enemy, and one section of my artillery, from an enfilading position, drove their howitzers and men in confusion to the boats. Still, none of General Featherston's infantry appeared, and the artillery fire was continued until darkness put an end to the conflict. During the night I was informed by General Featherston that his regiments were in rear of the enemy, close to the creek bank, and that in case the enemy attempted to retreat during the night they would attack at once; other-wise that we would all attack at daylight.

In compliance with this, I made an attack early on the 21st, drove the enemy back, and, after exhausting all my artillery ammunition, continued to pursue and harass him with sharpshooters, expecting at every moment to hear General Featherston's regiments open; but after I had been engaged for three hours or more, and had driven the boats back about 2 miles, I saw the forces of General Featherston in rear of the position they had held the previous afternoon, entering the woods. My sharpshooters continued to harass the enemy until dark. The latter, after reaching a position on the plantation of Dr. Moore, halted till after dark, and during the day burned every building on the place except one small stable.

On the following day it was discovered that they had during the night continued their retreat, although re-enforced by one regiment, and they were still getting out of the way as rapidly as possible. General Featherston ordered my sharpshooters to press them on the right bank, two regiments to gain their rear and then attack, while the artillery and the