instant, it marched all night, in spite of a very severe storm, and reached Ripley in the forenoon of the 18th, where it was joined by other detachments, and you taking command of the whole, ordered me to take command of the NINTH. Thence the regiment moved With the column, camping for the night about 6 miles in an easterly direction from Ripley, and reached New Albany at about 2 p. m. of the 19th. Here the pickets of the enemy made some resistance to the crossing of the Tallahatchee, but were soon driven off by our skirmishers. After crossing, you had the whole regiment deployed as skirmishers, and the country explored in every direction; but its line of march on the Pontotoc road until nearly dark, when a short halt was made. Here small parties of the enemy commenced to show themselves in our rear, and attacked and killed an animal of Company D, of the NINTH, then picketing the right flank. The column thence turned off to the right, making for the Pontotoc and Rocky Ford road, marched all night and after crossing an almost impassable swamp, encamped Shortly before daybreak for two hours to feed and rest.
The march having been resumed on the 20th, the column moved briskly and without interruption until nearly 10 a. m. At this time the advance guard reached a swamp, in which several small bridges had been rendered useless, and at the same time the rear guard, composed of the FIFTH Ohio Cavalry, was briskly and energetically attacked and rapidly drive in. You immediately had seven companies of the NINTH Illinois Infantry dismounted, and ordered me to hold a small bridge at the entrance of the swamp. The position on our side being unfavorable, I ordered portions of Companies C, g, and I to recross and from on the other side, and before the other companies could be brought into position, owing to the thickness of the underbrush, the FIFTH Ohio Cavalry was driven across the bridge and an overwhelming force of the enemy prec. The rebels charging the bridge With a large force, a short but fierce conflict ensued, which resulted in our loosing possession of the bridge, in spite of the greatest personal efforts of Lieutenant Hugles and Rollmann, the former of whom was here wounded, and of splendid bravery on the part of the men.
The losses on both sides here were heavy, and the fight nearly hand to hand. It now became evident that the enemy was in largely superior force, outflanking us on both sides. I therefore formed all of the NINTH Illinois who were at my disposal, not exceeding 100, on the left hand side of the road, whole the FIFTH Ohio and a water-course protected the position, indicated by you. Here repeated and determined attacks of that no attempt was made to moles our retreat, when after more than two hour's fighting, your ordered me to rejoin the column.
The force opposed to us I judge to have consisted of several battalions and of a battery or rifled field pieces which was held in check for just so long as you deemed it necessary, by not more than 150 our men.
The enemy's artillery did not do much damage, but our loss by rifle balls was quite severe, as will be seen by the list of casualties which is inclosed. *
On the afternoon of the 20th, a crossing without further loss was
*See Lieutenant-Colonel Philips' report, p. 477.