War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0744 KY.,SW. VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N. ALA.,AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

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HDQRS. SECOND BRIG., CAV. DIV., 16TH ARMY CORPS, La Grange, Tenn., October 17, 1863.

LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to the order of Colonel Hatch, October 4, 1863, I left La Grange at 11 p. m. of said day with the available force of the Third and Ninth Illinois Cavalry Regiment, and moved to Lockhart's Mill, on the Coldwater, arriving there at 4 p. m. of the 5th instant.

Colonel Hurst joined after dark the same evening with about 280 men, making my aggregate force 730 men. Strong pickets were posted on all of the roads leading to camp, and a scout of 20 men sent in the direction of Holly Springs, who captured about 10 o'clock at night and brought into camp a prisoner who gave me the information that General Chalmers had arrived at Holly Springs about 3 o'clock same afternoon with a force of 2,500 men and was moving toward my position, which was on the south side of Coldwater.

Having received further orders from Colonel Hatch to send a strong force to Lamar, I ordered Colonel Hurst to recross the Coldwater on the 6th instant at daybreak, and moved directly to that point with two battalions of the Sixth Tennessee, and prepared my whole command to retire north of the river. While waiting for Colonel Hurst to cross the enemy attacked my pickets, opening a heavy fire of musketry and artillery, and pushed a heavy force rapidly toward the ford. The enemy was held in check by Third Illinois Cavalry (Captain Kirkbride). I ordered one company of the Third Illinois Cavalry to cross over to guard my rear and flanks from any surprise, and the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, under command of Major Gifford, was deployed on the north bank with its battery of mountain howitzers (four pieces), Lieutenant Butler commanding, in position to command the road leading to the ford. I ordered the Sixth Tennessee, under command of Colonel Hurst, soon as crossed to form on the edge of a skirt of timber fronting an open field on the east, protecting the road in my rear, and the Third Illinois Cavalry, under command of Captain Kirkbride, to form on his left. In the meantime, Chalmers' battalion charged in column to gain the ford, but were driven back in great confusion and with considerable loss by a few well-directed shells and the supporting fire of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry. A second charge on the part of the enemy was summarily disposed of in a similar manner, and his third advance in line of skirmishers, supported by one small piece of artillery, was also checked and the piece of artillery compelled to withdraw.

At this time, I received information from my scout that the enemy were moving off in heavy columns, leaving only a small force in front to draw my attention. I then ordered the battery back to the bluff in my rear, leaving one battalion of Ninth Illinois Cavalry, under command of Captain Blackburn (dismounted), to guard the ford. I received further information that Chalmers had already thrown a considerable force across the Coldwater, 3 miles east of Lockhart's Mill, and that there was another ford 3 miles west of me, so that the enemy could concentrate on my rear or move on the railroad, if I continued to hold my position. I, therefore, immediately ordered my command into column and moved back to Mount Pleasant, 7 miles south of La Fayette, selected a good position where the roads fork-one leading to Collierville, the other to La Fayette, protecting both places-made my disposition for a fight, and awaited the attack of the enemy. He did not come. Colonel Hurst, instead of