the ford, that being the only road left open. As soon as the enemy realized that we were leaving the field, he rallied and moved forward in heavy force.
In the mean time Featherston's brigade was put into position to protect the rear of the retreating forces and to cover the falling back of Buford's brigade. This duty was ably and gallantly executed. This latter brigade (Buford's) about this time met a charge of the enemy (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), and repulsed him in splendid style with great slaughter, the heavy fighting being done by the Twelfth Louisiana, a large regiment, under the able and daring [T. M.]Scott. This and the gallant [Edward] Goodwin, thirty-FIFTH Alabama Regiment, had also distinguished themselves in the charge upon the enemy's center, and about this time the brave Alpheus Baker, of the FIFTY-fourth Alabama, was severely wounded in another part of the field.
During this time Tilghman, who had been left with his brigade upon the other road, almost immediately after our parting, met a terrible assault of the enemy, and when we rejoined him was carrying on a deadly and most gallant fight. With less than 1,500 effective men he was attacked by from 6,000 to 8,000 of the enemy with a fine park of artillery; but being advantageously posted, he not only held him in check, but repulsed him on several occasions, and thus kept open the only line of retreat left to the army. The bold stand of these brigade under the lamented hero saved a large portion of the army.
It is befitting that I should speak of the death of the gallant and accomplished [Lloyd] Tilghman. Quick and bold in the execution of his plans, he fell in the midst of a brigade that loved him well, after repulsing a powerful enemy in deadly fight, struck by cannon-shot. A brigade wept over the dying hero; alike beautiful as it was touching.
i had some time before to ascertain how his retreating forces were progressing, but having left the field it was impossible to communicate with him. The officer on his return informed me that he had met General Bowen at the ford, who had requested him to say to me,"For God's sake, hold your position until sundown and save the army". He could hold the ford and the bridge was safe. I had scarcely received this message when General Bowen sent me a written communication, stating that the enemy had crossed the bridge and had outflanked him; that he had ben compelled precipitately to fall back, and that I must do my best to save my DIVISION. I also received a note from Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Thompson to the same import. We at once made a movement toward the ford, there being no other road of retreat. There being none on my left that I could use, and being wholly unacquainted with the country-my only guide having been taken by General Pemberton to direct him to Big Black Bridge-my first determination was to force my way trough by the ford, and rode rapidly to reconnoiter. Arriving there, it was found that our troops were gone, some of whom having been driven back upon us. The enemy's skirmishers were advancing, and a heavy force occupied the commanding ridge across the creek, his artillery playing upon the crossing. The enemy upon our right flank and rear had been re-enforced, so that we enveloped upon three sides, leaving no road to move upon. Not far from my place of observation I met Dr. Williamson, a highly respectable gentleman of Edwards Depot, who said he knew the whole country, and thought he could take me to a ford on Baker's Creek, 3 or 4 miles below.
By this time darkness was approaching. I at once decided upon this