I immediately ordered the battalion off the cars, and led them out from the train on a road in the direction of the anticipated attack.
When about 100 yards from the train, I saw a flag of truce advancing. I halted the battalion and awaited the result of a conference between the bearer of the flag and Colonel Anthony, Sixty-sixth Indiana Volunteers, commanding post, who was on horseback and had come from the fort to meet the flag. Understanding from the colonel that he had declined to surrender the post as demanded, I formed immediately in line of battle on the right of the road; had two companies deployed as skirmishers on the right and left, and awaited the attack.
Hardly had I got in position, and before the flag had gone but a short distance, when the enemy opened upon me with a battery of five pieces with grape and solid shot, and my pickets that had kept advancing all the while became hotly engaged. Not having any support against artillery at such long range, I withdrew the battalion, except the skirmishers (who were gradually to fall back), to the railroad cut. Maintaining this position for about one hour and a half, the enemy working around to my left, I was compelled by their flank fire, against which my force was too small to contend, to withdraw to the fort and rifle-pits, the enemy in overpowering numbers following me up. As soon as I reached the fort I found that the enemy had driven in the Sixty-sixth Indiana, who were posted on the right of the depot, and had possession of the train, which was being pillaged and on fire. I ordered Lieutenant Griffin, who was in the rifle-pits facing the train, to go and retake it, and save it, if possible. With about 40 men he made a very gallant charge, drove off the enemy, put out the fire, and pushed the train up under cover of the fort.
The convalescents of my battalion, orderlies to the general, and attaches to headquarters were organized into a company at the commencement of the fight, and led by Lieutenant James, Third U. S. Cavalry, aide to General Sherman, against a very large force of the enemy. Lieutenant James was seriously, if not mortally, wounded, and most of my convalescents were taken prisoners.
The conduct of the officers and men was worthy of the name they had won on other fields; each one did his duty nobly and well.
We were engaged about four hours.
The following is a list of casualties: Killed, 9; wounded, 27; missing, 25; total, 61.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. C. SMITH,
Captain Thirteenth Infantry, Comdg. First Battalion.
Captain R. M. SAWYER,
Asst. Adjt. General, Fifteenth Army Corps.
Reports of General Joseph E. Johnston, C. S. Army.
MERIDIAN, October 10, 1863.
General Chalmers repulsed the enemy at Coldwater on the 6th, and routed him at Salem on the 8th; loss, 3 killed, 47 wounded. En-