War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0758 KY.,SW. VA.,TENN.,MISS.,N. ALA.,AND N. GA. Chapter XLII.

Search Civil War Official Records

and attack them at daylight the next morning. The Seventh Tennessee (Lieutenant-Colonel Duckworth) and Third Mississippi State Cavalry (Colonel McGuirk) and the rifled gun, under command of Lieutenant Richards, of McLendon's battery, were ordered to attack the enemy in front at the same time. These dispositions were well carried out by the different commanders. The Eighteenth Mississippi Battalion, which had succeeded in reaching the enemy's rear, charged gallantry upon them, driving them from their camps and across the creek. But, unfortunately, a premature shot of one piece of artillery, which was mistaken by Major Chalmers for the signal for attack, and induced him to commence it before the other troops could be brought into action, also gave the enemy notice of our presence and enabled them to effect their escape.

Our loss in this skirmish was 1 man slightly wounded; that of the enemy was 3 men wounded.

Finding that pursuit could not be successful, I moved toward Salem, in accordance with my original plan, and encamped near that place. While on the march I was joined by the Second Missouri Cavalry (Lieutenant Colonel R. A. McCulloch) and the First Regiment Mississippi Partisans (Lieutenant-Colonel Hovis).

On the morning of the 8th, the enemy supposing that we would move farther east, sent Colonel McGrillis from La Grange with the Third and Ninth Illinois and Sixth Tennessee Cavalry, with three pieces of artillery, to McDonald's Store, 10 miles east of Salem, where they were joined by the Seventh Kansas, Hawkins' Tennessee cavalry, and Ninth Regiment Illinois Mounted Infantry and three pieces of artillery, who were then returning from New Albany, near which place they had been repulsed by Colonel Richardson on the 5th instant.

After waiting for some hours in Salem, on the morning of the 8th, to ascertain the position and movements of the enemy, and thinking it probable, from the best information I could obtain, that he would await our coming in his chosen position on the Ripley road, I moved off with the main body of my command toward Collierville, leaving Lieutenant-Colonel Hovis with the First Mississippi Partisans to watch the movements of the enemy, with instructions to fall back and join me that night.

We had proceeded about 10 miles, when I was informed by Colonel Hovis that the enemy had driven him out of the town, and were then pursuing him upon the road upon which we were moving. I immediately ordered the Third Regiment Mississippi State Cavalry to return, and re-enforce Colonel Hovis, and hold the enemy in check, while I, with the remainder of the command, could return by a parallel road and gain their rear.

On approaching Salem, however, I found that the main body of the enemy had not pursued Colonel Hovis, but was drawn up in line of battle in a strong position immediately west of the town, with a line of skirmishers in the town itself, where they were protected by the houses and the rugged nature of the ground, which rendered all approaches difficult. We were thus compelled to attack them in front, which we did at once, and after three hours' hard fighting drove them from every position. They retreated in disorder to La Grange, but the darkness of the night, which came on before the fighting had entirely ceased, prevented and active pursuit.

In this affair the Second Missouri Cavalry (Lieutenant-Colonel McCulloch), Third Regiment Mississippi State Cavalry (Colonel