In this sharp encounter several of the enemy were wounded and captured, belonging to Kentucky regiments of the Confederate army. This fact was soon known to the gallant Twenty-first Kentucky. Kentucky loyal was now meeting Kentucky rebel face to face. The enthusiasm it created ran through the lines like an electric thrill. The order to advance and attack the field-works in their front was received with a cheer, and executed with a dash that soon drove the enemy's skirmishers upon their main line,now formed about a quarter of a mile beyond the town to resist our rapid and vigorous advance. A battery posted in the road opened fire,but was soon driven from its position by Battery I, Second Illinois Light Artillery.
The Twenty-first Kentucky, deployed entirely as a skirmish line, was now hotly engaged, and I ordered General Morgan to send another regiment to its support. The Tenth Illinois, commanded by Colonel Tillson, was designated for the duty and moved forward in excellent order. Tillson engaged the enemy in front, thus enabling Price to direct his skirmish attacks, as previously instructed, upon the field-works on our flanks, and into which the enemy's skirmishers had taken refuge.
Tillson gallantly charged the enemy in front, and soon caused him to fall back in great haste. Price's skirmishers after a sharp conflict took the field-works. The enemy retired in the direction of Graysville.
Thus ended a very gallant little fight, which reflected great credit upon the troops engaged in it and resulted in our capturing several cannon, among them two 24-pounder siege pieces. Considerable commissary, quartermaster's, and ordnance stores were also captured and saved, notwithstanding the efforts of the enemy to destroy them.
General Sherman arriving at the head of the column about this time (2 p.m.), directed me to let the troops rest for a short time and then to push forward in pursuit. The advance was soon resumed with the Second Brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Beatty, on the right.
The enemy's cavalry formed their rear guard and made several demonstrations as though they would resist our advance, but were easily driven by our skirmishers when attacked, until the farm known as Mrs. Shepherd's, about 3 miles beyond the station, was reached. Here, when the head of the column had just penetrated a densely wooded swamp, the enemy was found by Beatty's skirmishers in considerable force. A battery opened fire upon the head of the column while the men were much scattered in getting through the bog. Beatty, who was himself in the advance, threw forward his skirmish line and attacked very sharply. This brigade pushed rapidly across the swamp, and deploying into line moved at once on the enemy's position in the open field. The enemy yielded this position after some sharp skirmishing, and fell back across the open fields where his battery was posted. Battery I, Second Illinois Light Artillery, conforming to the movements of the brigade, moved forward and took position on a commanding hill in the open field, and opened fire upon the enemy's battery.
Beatty pushed his brigade to the banks of a small stream running through the fields and formed line of battle. This position brought his line within range of the timber which skirted the open field in his front, and along which the enemy had taken position. Heavy firing was at once commenced and kept up on both sides until long after dark.