I designed to join and plant upon a hill commanding the works on the south the section of the Reneau Battery and the Buckner Battery, supporting them by Colonel Inge. This was the plan of attack formed at a distance of 12 or 15 miles from the scene of action-of course to be modified as circumstances night indicate.
I moved out of camp at the time indicated, but lost at the Coldwater Creek about one hour in repairing the bridge, so as to pass over the artillery. Colonel Neely moved at the head of the column and threw out in advance, as skirmishers, flankers, and advance guard, two companies under command of Captain Thurmond. The captain performed his duties well, and made so impetuous a dash upon the enemy's outer picket post as to capture 16 out of the 18 men and officers on duty. Failing to capture the entire post, stationed about 1 mile from Collierville, and fearing the enemy might take possession of the hill commanding the works, Colonel Neely being at the head of the column, I directed him to dash forward, take, and hold that point as the key to the place. I ordered Colonels Green and Stewart to follow and support Colonel Neely. They dashed forward at a gallop, and, mistaking the hill I had indicated, took possession of a ridge east of Collierville and drew up in line of battle.
When I reached the ground I found out the mistake and saw Collierville to the west instead of north, as I had expected, with a thin skirt of woods intervening held by the enemy's sharpshooters. I had ordered Colonel Inge to dismount farther west, which threw him in position south of Collierville. He now commenced to move in line of battle across the old fields in a direction sweeping the skirt of timber with the right wing of his regiment. Just at this time Captain Duncan, of Falkner's regiment of Partisan Rangers, made a gallant and spirited dash down the road into the skirt of woods held by the enemy's sharpshooters and drove them out, capturing 15. Colonel McGuirk moved rapidly to the east and in rear of Collierville with his own and Falkner's regiment, attacked in a spirited manner the camp of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, captured it, with a large number of prisoners, about 40 wagons, 5 banners, $12,000 or $15,000 worth of quartermaster's stores, and routed and dispersed all that were not captured. A portion of his men stopped the chase to engage in the appropriation of the rich spoils of the camps, and the gallant colonel wisely and cautiously destroyed by fire all his booty except about 12 wagons and teams, &c., to prevent the demoralization of his men.
While this was going on in the rear, I rapidly advanced Colonels Neely, Green, and Stewart and the two batteries through the woodland held by the enemy's sharpshooters, and obtained a position to the southeast of the works in easy range for artillery. Colonel Inge had taken possession of Hart's house, yard, and premises within 300 yards of the fort. Colonel Neely was moving to the west to execute the original plan, when you, general, sent forward Captain Goodman with a flag of truce demanding a surrender. We ceased all movements on our side, but the enemy used the respite given in making dispositions for the defense of the place.
General Sherman and two other generals had just reached Collierville on the cars, with the Thirteenth U. S. Regulars, en route for Corinth, which was a timely re-enforcement to the garrison, the whole estimated at 1,000 men. These generals could not afford to surrender, and knowing that other re-enforcements were near by, after a