marching on to strike them on the flank. Before, however, Major McBee concluded to attack the train the enemy's rear guard (consisting of seven regiment of infantry and three regiments of cavalry) came up and formed a line of battle and commenced skirmishing with him; and this force being greatly superior to my whole command and night coming on, I fell back a few miles for water and forage, and early the next day the rear guard of the enemy's column crossed Big Black, and I then fell back to this place in obedience to orders.
My whole loss during the different engagements from February 4 to March 4 was as follows, viz: Killed, wounded, and missing, 49.
I captured and killed 128 Federal officers and men.
Inclosed you will find Lieutenant Harvey's (commanding my scouts) report of operations during the raid.
There were many instances of personal gallantry in the different skirmishers, but the behavior of both officers and men was marked by such courage and determination in holding every position assigned them against overwhelming numbers that I will make no discrimination in this report.
Lieutenant Harvey's report shows that he brought to bear his usual undaunted courage, extraordinary energy, and judgment.
I am, captain, very respectfully,
P. B. STARKE,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Captain GEORGE MOORMAN,
Numbers 69. Reports of Brigadier General Samuel W. Ferguson, C. S. Army, commanding brigade, of operations against expedition to Meridian.
Seven Miles East of Decatur, February 12, 1864-1.30 p.m.
GENERAL: I had a skirmish with the enemy at this point and held him here in check a short time. He flanked my position and I have fallen back 2 miles to another. The force advancing is a heavy infantry column; few cavalry. I will attend to the road you speak of in your dispatch just received.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. W. FERGUSON,
Major General W. W. LORING,
(Forwarded by Loring to Polk.)
February 12, 1864-4.30 p.m.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch of this afternoon (2 p.m.). The enemy has driven me back to this place by flanking every position I took. From the confidence with which he advances I judge there is a large force of infantry moving in this direction, though I have as yet only seen about 600 cavalry. The infantry has been moving along continuously, and skirmished with two squadrons of the Second Alabama Cavalry.