Report of Colonel George G. Dibrell, Eighth Tennessee Cavalry.
SPARTA, August 18, 1863.
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[MAJOR:] *On August 17, I started a scout from Company I to go as far as Rock Island in the direction of McMinnville. They went as far as the Eleven-Mile House, and there met Colonel Minty again with a very large cavalry force, said to be seven regiments, or 3,500 men, and with one of my slaves as a guide. They immediately charged our scouts and running fight ensued back to camp just across the Calfkiller River, from where we were encamped before. The 200 re-enforcements under Colonel McLemore had arrived only a day or two before. We rallied our men and repulsed those that pursued our scouts to the river. The enemy at Sparta divided, part going up to our camp 2 miles on each side of the river. I posted Colonel McLemore with his 200 men at our former battle-ground (the mouth of Wild Cat Creek), and took the Eighth Tennessee to Meredith's Mill, above, on the Calfkiller River. The enemy pursued us on to the creek and the river, and from 2 o'clock until dark the skirmish was heavy, and many efforts on their part to charge us and force a crossing was repulsed with heavy loss. We could only defend ourselves, owing to the smallness of our forces. At least half of the Eighth was absent on leave to get up supplies. But we held our ground and punished them severely.
After dark the enemy withdrew a short distance and went into camp, and fearing that [they] intended renewing the attack in the morning, I ordered Colonel McLemore to withdraw his command back to where the Eighth was, and would retire about 2 miles to the top of Cumberland Mountain, on Forster's road, place that we could not be flanked out of. As McLemore was withdrawing his men under Captain McGregor the enemy in his front made a fierce charge on him. Hi men rallied promptly near the barn of the Widow Fisk and repulsed them handsomely, killing 6 men and 6 horses. After that we retired to the top of the mountain, leaving scouts and pickets to watch the enemy.
Early on the morning of the 18th, our scouts reported the enemy moving in the direction of Sparta. Thinking they would attempt to ascend the mountain at Bon Air Springs, we moved rapidly to that place. But upon arriving there we could see the enemy moving in the direction of Pikeville. They were too far off and our force was too small to attempt pursuit.
We returned to our old camp to-day, and find our loss is 2 killed, 6 wounded, and 4 captured. The enemy's loss was heavy as we had every advantage in position, and their men reported to citizens their loss in killed at 40 or 50 and wounded 200 or 300. We have buried 5 dead to-day they left on the field, found in a sink-hole, in [into] which it is supposed they were thrown by negroes they had sent out to gather in. They arrested and carried off a number of citizens, and said there was a general move of Rosecrans' army on Chatta-
*For preceding part of this report, see Action at Sparta, Tenn., August 9, 1863, Series I, Vol. XXIII, Part I, p. 847.