War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0476 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

Search Civil War Official Records

My command was less than 600 men. My train consisted of our wagons and two ambulances. After this force had untied, I moved to a point east of the poor-house of Tippah Country Mississippi, about miles east of Ripley. A party of between 200 and 300 rebels had passed south a few hours in advance of me, having been on a reconnoitering expedition toward Pocahontas, and I sent a squadron of cavalry to reported to me about 2 a. m. of the 19th. I marched at 3. 30 a. m. Passing through Ripley, and moving on the New Albany road. Some little skirmishing occurred on the road, until we arrived at New Albany, when a party of 200 or 300 strong attempted to check our progress, but were driven back 1 mile beyond New Albany. The enemy made another stand, and were agin driven from their position and separated, the several parties taking different roads. I moved rapidly on the Pontotoc road, some 12 miles farther, when I found a force in my front greatly superior in numbers and in position. I halted a short time, and some little picket skirmish ensued. At dark I moved on a cross-road west, toward the Pontotoc and Rocky Ford road; but, through the ignorance or treachery of a guide, was led into Octohatchie Swamp, and, after great difficulty, got through at 3 a. m. halted two hours, and arrived on the Rocky Ford road, and soon entered the Mud Creed Bottom, which is intersected by two or three creeks very difficult of crossing, and over two of which crossings were made by using axes and spades.

Soon after striking Mud Creek Bottom very impetuous and fierce attack was made on the battalion FIFTH Ohio Cavalry, which was the rear guard, by a large force of rebels. I at once ordered the NINTH Illinois Infantry to dismount, and sent four companies to the rear to support the FIFTH Ohio, and ordered my skirmishers to fall back to the first creek With we struck after entering the bottom, and to hold that position until us, but their efforts failed.

Information was brought me that a large party of rebel cavalry was moving on my right flank. I sent an order to Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon that he should move forward and get possession of the cross-roads 3 miles north, and should reconnoiter toward Rocky Ford, as I was satisfied that I should have to retreat.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sheldon moved With all but two companies of his command, and sent me information that he had accomplished his object. We had been repelling the force and repeated attacks of the enemy for nearly two hours. I had placed one gun in position, which fired With great accuracy. The enemy had been firing three of four pieces of artillery, one a rifled gun, but their firing was, for the greater part of the time, very inaccurate. Owing to the breaking of the pintle-hook, I repeated efforts were made to bring my train through I was compelled to abandon the hind part of one caisson, and, although repeated efforts were made to bring my train through, I was compelled to abandon my wagons four in number and one ambulance; this, however, I did after setting fire to and cutting them to pieces, and after having thrown their contents in the head of the creek. The ammunition in the caisson-boxes, in that part of the caisson which was abandoned, was also destroyed. The enemy had compelled me to fall back slowly, and to abandon my train at this time, after working nearly three hours, was a matter of necessity. I drew my skirmishers across Mud Creek, and held this point some time, then fell back; took a position With my artillery on high ground, 1,200 yards therefore. I ordered my skirmishers to fall back, and I