On the 12th instant, being in command-General C[halmers] having gone to visit his family-with 900 men I fought 1,500 of the enemy at Byhalia, or Red Bank Creek, two and one-half hours, when, my ammunition about to be exhausted, and the enemy about to flank me, I retired slowly and in perfect order, bringing off every body and thing except my own saddle-horse, killed on the battle-field. My loss, 1 man severely and 1 slightly wounded. The enemy's loss, not certainly known; stated to be 5 killed and about 10 wounded. I skirmished from this field to Wyatt with the enemy-about 25 miles.
On the 13th instant, General C[halmers] still being absent, I fought the enemy at Wyatt with all my force-about 2,000 strong-he being 4,000 strong of mounted men, supported by 2,000 infantry and artillery. My ammunition for small-arms and artillery was nearly exhausted at the beginning of the fight, and quite so at the end. I had about an average of 10 rounds for small-arms per man, and only 40 canisters for artillery at the commencement. My artillery soon exhausted its stock and retired from the field. I had two 6-pounders and two Buckner guns. The enemy had nine pieces of artillery. I cautioned my officers and men to economize in the use of ammunition, which they did, firing slowly and with deliberation. The enemy poured upon us a merciless storm of bullets and shells and grape, and the heavens poured out upon us a tempest of rain, thunder, lightning, and wind. My brave officers and men held their ground firmly and obstinately until darkness fell upon us, after some confusion on my right wing at the early stage of the action.
My loss was about 5 killed and 10 wounded. The enemy's loss was 43 killed and about 100 wounded, according to the reports of citizens of Wyatt.
General Chalmers returned to the command on the morning of the 14th instant. My detailed report to General C[halmers] will give a fuller account of these engagements.
It is known to you that my Tennessee troops were raised for service in West Tennessee, and that I have special powers conferred on me by the Secretary of War, Colonel Blake, commandant of conscripts, and General Pillow with reference to West Tennessee. The design of all of which was to enable me to raise as large a mounted force as possible in West Tennessee for the defense of that region as long and when it was practical.
I collected together parts of three regiments in August last, and came through the lines to this neighborhood to arm and equip my men; then to return to West Tennessee, collect the balance of my three regiments (in all about 2,000 men), and add to the force. Through a misapprehension, I was denied equipments until everybody else called for the same things, then I was unceremoniously sat down on a back seat and made to wait until others were equipped.
After awhile, General Johnston, misunderstanding my powers and plans, procured to be issued from Adjutant-General Cooper an order assigning me to General Lee's command. Although not equipped and fully armed, I was ordered to the front, and with my men half naked and half starved, I have earnestly endeavored to serve the country in the late campaign. I was placed in command of the Northeast District of Mississippi, and under the orders of Brigadier-General Chalmers, and now I am back here. My men, nearly destitute, have deserted and are deserting me to go home and get clothing and bedding. Colonel Inge's regiment has been taken from me.