it advanced. Just to the right of the battery the Fourth Missouri Cavalry [and six companies of the Seventh Indiana Cavalry*] were formed, and mounted for a saber charge, and the Third Tennessee Cavalry (mounted) was sent to the extreme right with orders to charge in flank when the troops made the direct charge in front.
While these disposition were being made the enemy pressed our rear guard, that was well posted, very heavily, and were sorely handled. The rear guard was at last called off rapidly, and the rebel column let into the space prepared for them, when the battery opened upon them in very handsome style, and the dismounted troops poured volley into them. They pressed their attack with great determination, but at last fell back. Just as they began to retire they were charged very handsomely by the Fourth Missouri and Seventh Indiana in front and by the Third Tennessee in flank. This completely routed them, and they were driven from the field with heavy loss.
It was reported that Colonel Forrest, brother to the general, commander of a brigade, and Colonel Barksdale fell, and McCulloch, another commander of a brigade, and Colonel Barteau were severely wounded in this affair.
Strong detachment s were thrown out upon our flanks at every vulnerable point, and every attempt to cut our column by a flank attack was met and thwarted. Our march was so rapid that the enemy could not outstrip and intercept us, which he constantly endeavored to do.
No heavy fighting occurred after we passed the Ivey farm, though skirmishing continued as far as Pontotoc. I then moved back to Memphis with everything that we had captured, content with the very great injury we had inflicted upon them, and feeling that everything had been achieved that was at all practicable under the circumstances.
My orders from General Sherman were so comprehensive as to embrace everything that it would be possible for me to do, and I could not regard them as imperative that I should make a junction with his forces at all hazards, but on the contrary, he expressly stated that he could get along without me if I found it impossible to get through.
Returning, I drew the enemy after me and inflicted heavy losses upon him, and saved my command, with all our captured stock and prisoners and rescued negroes, with very trifling losses except in stragglers captured.
Attempting to cut through to Sherman I would have lost my entire command, and of course could have rendered him no assistance.
The conduct of the entire Second Brigade, under Colonel Hepburn, was worthy of all praise. This brigade consists of the Second Iowa Cavalry, Major Coon commanding; Sixth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Starr commanding; Seventh Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Trafton commanding, [and Ninth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Burgh commanding*]. All these officers acquitted themselves most creditably. The Fourth Missouri Cavalry, Major Heinrichs commanding; the Third Tennessee Cavalry, Major Minnis commanding, and the Seventh Indiana Cavalry, Colonel Shanks commanding, also made brilliant charges, while the Fourth
* According to report of April 3.