Ten miles from Pontotoc they made a last and final effort to check pursuit, and from their preparations, numbers, and advantageous position no doubt indulged the hope of success. They had formed in three lines across a large field on the left of the road, but which a turn in the road made it directly in our front. Their line were at intervals of several hundred paces, and the rear and second lines longer than the first. As the advance of my column moved up they opened on us with artillery. My ammunition was nearly exhausted, and I knew that if we faltered they would in turn become the attacking party, and that disaster, might follow. Many of my men were broken down and exhausted with clambering the hills on foot and fighting almost constantly for the last 9 miles. I determined, therefore, relying upon the bravery and courage of the new men I had up, to advance to the attack. As we moved up, the whole force charged down at a gallop, and I am proud to say that my men did not disappoint me. Standing firm, they repulsed the grandest cavalry charge I ever witnessed. The Second and Seventh Tennessee drove back the advance line, and as it wheeled in retreat poured upon them a destructive fire. Each successive line of the enemy shared the same fate and fled the field in dismay and confusion, and losing another piece of artillery, and leaving it strewn with dead and wounded men and horses.
Half of my command were out of ammunition, the men and horses exhausted and worn down with two days' hard riding and fighting, night was at hand, and further pursuit impossible.
Major-General Gholson arrived during the night. His command was small, but comparatively fresh. I ordered him to follow on the next morning and press them across the Tallahatchie. Having received no official report from him, I cannot give any details of his pursuit after them.
Considering the disparity in numbers and equipments, I regard the defeat of this force, consisting as it did of the best cavalry in the Federal army, as a victory of which all engaged in it may justly feel proud. It has given, for a time at least, peace and security to a large scope of rich country whose inhabitants anticipated and expected to be overrun, devastated and laid waste, and its moral effect upon the raw, undisciplined and undrilled troop of this command is in value incalculable. It has inspired them with courage and given them confidence in themselves and their commanders. Although many of them were but recently organized, they fought with a courage and daring worthy of veterans.
I herewith transmit you a list of casualties, which, under all the circumstances, is small, and especially so when, compared with that of the enemy.
The killed and wounded of the enemy who fell into our hands amounts to over 100. We captured 6 pieces of artillery, 3 stand of colors, and 162 prisoners. By pressing every horse, buggy, carriage, and vehicle along the road they were enabled to take off all their wounded, except those severely or mortally wounded, and it is but reasonable to suppose and a low estimate to place their loss in killed, wounded, and missing at 800.
My force in the fight did not exceed, 2,500 men, while that of the enemy was twenty-seven regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, estimated at 7,000 strong.
I regret the loss of some gallant officers. The loss of my brother, Colonel J. E. Forrest, is deeply felt by his brigade as well as myself and it is but just to say that for sobriety, ability, prudence, and