War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0746 KY.,SW. VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N. ALA.,AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

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of the Ninth Illinois Infantry and a section of light artillery,

increasing my force to about 1,250 men. He took position in front

of my center, holding a grove and two or three building on the

east edge of the village. The enemy now opened, presenting a force

of about 4,000 men, with one-third of which he engaged my front,

composed of the Ninth Illinois Infantry and a battalion of the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, while

he skirmished my flanks and covered his own with the remainder of his force. At 2 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips gained possession

of the ten or twelve building composing the town, but was almost

immediately forced to withdraw to the previous position by heavy

flank movements of the enemy, made by his large flank supports above mentioned, the enemy following up and pressing Phillips,

particularly on the flanks, with cavalry charges which were promptly repulsed. I immediately ordered to Phillips's relief, from my reserve position on the ridge spoken of, the section of light

artillery under Lieutenant Hendrew,* and a section of mountain

howitzers under Lieutenant Butler, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, with a

battalion of that regiment, and ordered up the Third and Seventh

Illinois Cavalry, dismounted, in front of my left until they were

on a line with Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips' skirmishers. After one

hour's fighting, and repulsing three cavalry charges in this position, my artillery having fired 140 rounds and dismounted one of the enemy's pieces, the enemy withdrew to long range. During this operation Lieutenant Butler threw from two howitzers 85 rounds in ten minutes. It was now, at 4 p. m., within my power to have

followed up the enemy and driven him out of Salem, but it would

have been my destruction, as I must have sacrificed my superior

position, exposed my flanks, and, moreover, was beginning to feel

the want of ammunition. Such a movement on my part was what the

enemy was trying to induce. My artillery having exhausted its shell

and spherical case, I withdrew it to its position on the ridge and

and drew my skirmishers into a complete line along my front and

extending past my flanks. In this position I engaged the enemy

steadily with musketry and canister for one hour and a half, until

5.30 p. m., hoping for re-enforcements.

At that hour I found that several of my regiments had exhausted

all their ammunition and that my supply averaged only 15 rounds

per man. The arms used being of at least six different calibers

would not admit of an equal division of even what I had. My artillery had nothing but a few rounds of canister. Under these

circumstances I thought it necessary to prepare to retire, which

I did by gradually withdrawing, mounting and playing to the rear

one regiment at a time under cover of a rapid artillery fire. I kept in rear the Ninth Illinois Infantry (dismounted) and the Ninth

Illinois Cavalry (mounted), to bring off the two guns used for the

above purpose. This was done in fine style under a heavy fire. The

enemy did not detect our movement to the rear, which was made over

the brow of the ridge, until my column was in motion, when it was

too late for him to organize an effective pursuit.

At 5.45 p. m., when my rear guard moved, the enemy was in the act

of advancing a dismounted line of skirmishers 1 1/2 miles in extent,

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*Reference is probably to Captain Tannrath, commanding a section of Battery I, First Missouri Light Artillery.

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