General Davidson sent me word he was endeavoring to form a fresh line with Scott's brigade to support me, and instructed me to use my own discretion in the rear. The enemy, finding himself determinedly resisted, brought up three pieces of artillery and commenced shelling my line. I could only reply with two mountain howitzers, and was compelled to fall back, forming fresh lines at intervals of about a quarter of a mile; each of these he desperately charged, and upon being repulsed, commenced extending his flanks, which his numerical superiority enabled him to do, compelling me to form fresh lines in the rear and withdraw those he was enveloping.
For five hours and a half, over 7 miles of country, the unequal contest continued. My gallant brigade was cut to pieces and slaughtered. I had informed the officers and men that the sacrifice of their lives was necessary and they manfully made the sacrifice.
General Davidson could do nothing with the fugitives. I received no supports, and at 3 o'clock, when, with my bleeding and almost annihilated command, I had formed my last line, the welcome order came from General Wheeler to fall back, as he was in position a quarter of a mile in rear with re-enforcements. I passed at 4 o'clock through his lines into Farmington, but only to resume the retreat; when, at 5, the division he had placed in position was charged and broken by the enemy. Though much of my brigade with its cannon reached and crossed the Tennessee River at Muscle Shoals on the 9th of October, one-third of my brigade had been destroyed. I have lost many of my best, gallant, and efficient officers.
All behaved with a devoted gallantry which entitles them to the gratitude of their country. I am particularly indebted to my assistant adjutant-general, Captain Hope, who remained with me aiding me courageously and earnestly in forming and fighting the different lines of battle. I desire to return also my thanks to Lieutenant Waller Bullock, my aide-de-camp, and Lieutenant Weir, my inspector-general. Major Tenney, Captain Rowan, Major McConnell were conspicuous in leading their battalions. Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson, commanding on the left wing, did his duty well and bravely. Lieutenants Logan and Deyerle, of the battery, did terrible execution with their guns on the enemy, and merit my thanks. Lieutenant McAfee, commanding my guard, and Adjutant Brother, of Johnson's battalion, rendered me efficient service in acting as my aides.
GEO. R. HODGE,
Colonel, Comdg. Cavalry Brigade.
[P. S.]-I have received no report from Colonel Clay as yet. So soon as that gallant officer is sufficiently recovered from his wounds to make out his report, I will forward it.
Report of Brigadier General Philip D. Roddey, C. S. Army, commanding Cavalry Brigade.
HEADQUARTERS, Rogersville, Ala., October 21, 1863.
GENERAL: Yours of 17th instant, through General Wheeler, calling for a report of my movements, is received.