War of the Rebellion: Serial 051 Page 0787 Chapter XLII. CHALMERS' RAID.

Search Civil War Official Records

have been counted upon the field, and 9 wagons and 3 ambulance loads of wounded are reported by reliable authority to have been carried by them from the field.

At 11 o'clock at night, after this battle, I called my colonels together in council, and learned from them that their ammunition was well nigh exhausted. The next question was, what shall be done? If the enemy undertakes to cross the Tallahatchie we cannot prevent it. If he pursues us we have scarcely enough ammunition to protect us in a retreat. The council was unanimous for an immediate retreat. The next question was, where shall we go? The answer was, where we can get ammunition. We were informed that there was but little to be had at Oxford or Grenada. It was therefore unanimously agreed that we ought to retreat toward Okolona, so that we could draw ammunition by the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.

I had ordered on the morning of the 11th a dispatch sent to Colonel George, at Wyatt, to collect all the available ammunition by the time I should get there; but he reported that night that nothing of consequence had been or could be gotten in time to relieve us if the enemy pressed us. I therefore determined to retreat by Oxford to Okolona, if necessary, until I got ammunition, and as soon as I could get it to turn upon the enemy. Accordingly, I ordered the trains to start at 12 o'clock and the command at 2 o'clock that night, the 13th instant, in retreat toward Oxford, determined to stop if I met ammunition; if not, to retreat until I could get it.

On our retreat, near Chulahoma, Captain B. Palmer, acting chief of artillery, became intoxicated, as I am informed and believe, and although he knew the enemy was pursuing us, skirmishing with our rear guard, he straggled to the rear and was captured by the enemy. His drunkenness at this time and capture I regard as disgraceful and criminal.

Captain J. Slaught Caruthers, commanding Company H, Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry, was also captured while scouting about the enemy. He has written me a letter from Colonel Hatch's camp saying Colonel Hatch had consented to exchange him for Captain Hodgman, captured at Wyatt by us. Captain Hodgman has since died. Captain Caruthers is a good officer, and if you have any captain among our prisoners not held as hostages I would be glad if you would send him under flag of truce to Memphis to exchange for Captain Caruthers.

I am, most respectfully, yours, &c.,

R. V. RICHARDSON,

Colonel, Commanding Northeast Mississippi.

Brigadier General JAMES R. CHALMERS,

Commanding North Mississippi.

HEADQUARTERS, New Albany, Miss., October 28, 1863.

SIR: I have returned to this vicinity with my command from our recent campaign in Northeast Mississippi.

On the 5th instant, the enemy attacked me near this place. I fought them three hours and drove them back. My loss, 2 men slightly wounded; theirs, 35 killed and wounded.

On the 11th instant, I fought under General Chalmers' orders at Collierville.