War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0693 Chapter XXXVI. ACTION AT KING'S CREEK, MISS.

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was then no reliable account of an advance of the enemy, as rumored down the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, but in the evening of the 4th instant I learned that a mounted force of the enemy (strength not known) had reached Baldwyn that morning, and was marching rapidly in this direction. I considered I only a reconnoitering party, and made no immediate report; but at 12 o'clock the same day the enemy drove in the pickets at Guntown and advanced toward Saltillo. The lieutenant in charge of scouts at Guntown reported the force to be three regiments with artillery, and a prisoner whom he had captured and sent in stated that the force would not exceed 900.

Late in the evening of the 4th [instant], scouts from Inge's battalion were fired upon between Tupelo and Saltillo, east side of the railroad. That night the enemy advanced to Priceville, and by daylight on the 5th passed that place toward Plantersville, with the evident intention of moving down between Town Creek and Tombigbee River, to cross at Camargo, threatening Aberdeen, on Mobile and Ohio Railroad below Okolona; but by the delay of the enemy near Miller's Mills, north of Plantersville, I was led to apprehend that his intention was to cross Town Creek at Reece's Bridge, and immediately ordered Inge's battalion to that point, to destroy the bridge and prevent his crossing. Upon arriving at Reece's Bridge, Inge's battalion was confronted by a force of the enemy which it could not successfully contend with, and fell back to Thomasson's farm, 1 1/4 miles from the bridge.

In the mean time Lieutenant-Colonel [James] Cunninghamn arrived at Verona and assumed command of all the troops. Received an order from Major-General [S. J.] Gholson, of the State service, to join him at Tupelo. Started with his command by the most direct route, and ordered me, with SECOND Tennessee Cavalry, to go by way of Reece's Bridge. I arrived near the bridge; found that the enemy had crossed, and that Inge's battalion had fallen back. Moved then to Thomasson's farm, where I rejoined Colonel Cunningham, en route for Tupelo, and followed his column with Inge's battalion in rear of my regiment. Colonel Cunningham moved immediately forward without (so far as my knowledge extends) reconnoitering or sending out flankers; passed into the thick woods and swamp south of tupelo, and encountered the enemy in ambush just before arriving at the Tupelo and Pontotoc road. A few shots from the enemy announced his presence, and he reserved his heavy fire until the column had passed nearly half way through, and then opened with small-arms and artillery upon both flanks, cutting off two companies of the SECOND Alabama, with Hewlett's battalion and my own command, consisting of SECOND Tennessee Regiment and Inge's battalion. The advanced portion of Colonel Cunningham's command (probably consisting of 400 men) passed between the two fries of the enemy and moved to his rear. The enemy then immediately closed in upon the front of the advancing column and poured a rapid fire upon us from three directions. The fire was so severe that all of Hewlett's battalion could not form and dismount, as directed; hence it gave way with the exception of two companies, which, having received their position remained upon the ground immediately in front and fought gallantly. I at once ordered the SECOND Tennessee into line and to dismount, which was executed promptly and in good order, and the horses sent to the rear out of reach of the enemy's fire. By keeping the men close to the ground and behind trees, taking deliberate aim at the enemy, we succeeded in the course of FIFTEEN or twenty minutes in driving the enemy some 500 yards beyond the Tupelo and Pontotoc road. The number of killed of the enemy has been reported by prisoners who es-