Fourth Regulars and stragglers, who broke his line, and he had to fall back after giving the enemy a momentary check, who passed on his flank to cut his regiment off from the rest of the command.
I then passed on to the head of the disorganized regiments, and found General Grierson and part of his staff officers trying to check the column, and with their aid and part of my own staff and several officers of the Fourth Regulars, Captain Bowman, Lieutenants Sullivan, Davis, and others, and found it only partially practicable. Here Captain Bowman, of the Fourth Regulars, soon extricated most of his command from the Second and Third Tennessee and stragglers, and rendered efficient service and assistance in checking the advance of the enemy.
Here I sent a staff officer, Captain Booth, with a request to General Grierson, who had gone forward, that he form a line of battle of the Second Brigade and let the disorganized regiments and stragglers pass through that they might reorganize, and immediately received word he had already done so, and to pass the regiments to the front, where they soon reorganized.
The Seventy-second Indiana, Fifth Kentucky, Fourth Tennessee, and Third Illinois acted the whole day with the coolness and courage and discipline not excelled by any troops, and never left any position ordered into by the commanding general or myself until outflanked or ordered back.
Had it not been for the detention caused by the accident happening to the battery, I am confident that we should have been able to have secured our column from the heavy flanking forces, which were endeavoring to cut off some of the regiments in the rear, without any confusion or disorganization of the Second and Third Tennessee and Fourth Regulars. Lieutenant Curtis, commanding the battery, did all that energy and courage could do under adverse circumstances.
I earnestly and respectfully recommend to your consideration, and through you to the Governors of the several States where the troops were raised, and Secretary of War, the promotion of Major C. T. Cheek, commanding Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, for bravery in action and skill in handling his men under trying circumstances, and for the same reasons Major H. M. Carr, Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry; Captain A. B. Kirkbride, commanding Third Illinois Cavalry; Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Thornburgh, Fourth Tennessee Cavalry; Major Prosser, Second Tennessee, and Major Minnis, Third Tennessee Cavalry.
I cannot too highly commend the conduct of my staff officers to your attention, who, with experience and judgment, used every exertion to aid in the repulse of the enemy, and earnestly and respectfully recommend them for promotion as capable and gallant officers, of often-tried courage and military skill; and the public service requires their promotion for meritorious conduct on many a battle-field.
On the 23rd, about 4 miles north of Pontotoc, Colonel Hepburn sent word his column was hard pressed in the rear, and General Grierson ordered me to leave two regiments and send one to the right to protect the right flank. I accordingly formed the Fifth Kentucky and Third Illinois, one on each side of the road, and sent the Third Tennessee to hold a road running parallel with the one over which our column was passing, and which led into the main road, about 5 miles south of New Albany, and ordered Major Minnis
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