Report of Colonel James J. Neely, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH TENNESSEE CAVALRY, Water Valley, October 18, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the recent operations of the Confederate cavalry in North Mississippi:
After the affair at New Albany, in which the Thirteenth assisted in driving the enemy across the Tallahatchie, being in the advance during the pursuit, we made rapid marches and formed a junction with General Chalmers' command at Salem.
On the 10th, a detachment of 43 men, under command of Captain Thomas and Lieutenants Strayhorn and Hicks, were sent with other detachments, under command of Colonel Marshall, to break the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. The detachment did not again join the regiment until after the attack on Collierville.
On the morning of the 11th instant, we took up the line of march from Byhalia to Collierville, my regiment being in the advance of the whole command. About 10 o'clock Captain (now major) Thurmond, commanding the advance guard, consisting of his own company (G) and Captain Cox's company (A), drove in the enemy's pickets (capturing the most of them) in gallant style.
It had been determined that I should move with my own, Colonel Green's and Colonel Stewart's regiments to the left and rear of the enemy's position.
About the time the picket firing commenced the order of attack was changed, and I was ordered by the colonel commanding to move with my regiment and take possession of the hill to the west of Brown's house and immediately in front of the enemy's fortifications, and hold it until the artillery could come up.
When we reached Abington's house (the picket stand) I moved at double-quick by the right flank up the Holly Springs road about a mile, and then filing to the left charged up the hill spoken of and drew up in line of battle in full view of the depot buildings and fortifications. A train of cars loaded with troops was just halting at the fort as we came in view. After the batteries had come up with other troops I was ordered farther to the left, and took up position in a small skirt of flat woods just to the left of the depot buildings and not far from the rear of the railroad train. I immediately threw out skirmishers and found the enemy posted in strong position behind the railroad embankment in my front and to my left. My troops kept up a brisk fire upon the enemy's position and upon the train. I was not long in advancing my line, and took up a position in an old field about 80 or 100 yards from the railroad. When the whole line was ordered to advance I charged the enemy's position, and advanced my line to within about 40 yards of the enemy's fortifications, taking possession of the railroad train and bringing off 15 or 20 prisoners.
Two pieces of the Buckner Battery came up just here to my support and opened on the enemy retreating to his fortifications. I then sent for a portion of Captain Palmer's battery. When the piece sent reached the position, owing to some unfortunate misunderstanding, the Buckner Battery had fallen back, under the impression that the whole line had retreated. Finding myself entirely unsupported, I withdrew to the woods again. Having learned that Captain Palmer was coming up with his piece, I advanced again and resumed my most advanced position.