that the movement of the invaders would be in the direction of Talladega and the Coosa River bridge, I represented to General Clanton the necessity for my immediate return to one or the other of these points, according to circumstances, and obtained his consent, he proposing to follow next morning in case there should be no movement upon Oxford or blue Mountain during the night.
It was after midnight on the morning of the 15th before I could obtain transportation. Arriving at Talladega between 2 and 3 o'clock, I found that the enemy were within a few miles off, to have stopped would have been to expose my handful of raw infantry to inevitable defeat and capture or dispersion. I therefore did not permit them to leave the train. Remained only an hour to gather up a few men who had been left and endeavor to save some stores, and proceeded to the bridge. Captain, D, assistant quartermaster, was left to bring off the wagons and whatever stores could be removed in them,with orders to make his way to the bridge as rapidly as possible. Two or three hours more of time might have been obtained but for the impossibility of obtaining a single mounted man at Talladega to go out and reconnoiter. To avoid, therefore, the risk of a surprise with the men crowded in box-cars, I was obliged to move off about daybreak.
The enemy entered Talladega about 7 a. m. and remained several hours. They acted with unusual forbearance. No damage was done to private property except in one or two exceptional cases. Safeguards were furnished to various families who applied for them. The railroad station house was burned, but pains were taken by them to save at least a portion of the private property that happened to be stored in it. No effort was made to tear up the track. The post-office was ransacked, and the letters remaining in it scattered or carried off.
The reports of the quartermaster and commissary of the post, herewith inclosed,* will exhibit the losses in their respective departments. None of these articles were burned. The subsistence stores were distributed to the inhabitants, and two hogsheads of sugar turned over to our own hospital. A small portion of these stores has been recovered. Some tents, corn, &c., belonging to the quartermaster's department were not injured or interfered with. The Camp of Instruction, within a mile of the center of the village, was not destroyed nor even visited, so far as I can learned. Two or three detached buildings had been fired just before their arrival, for the purpose of destroying the carriages of three old United States 6-pounders, which could not be removed for lack of horses and of cars, and which I would have been unable to use in an emergency for lack of officers and men to work them, those whom I had caused to be instructed for that purpose having been taken away. The smoke of these buildings perhaps led the enemy to suppose that the whole camp was on fire. Twenty Mississippi rifles which had been overlooked and a small quantity of ammunition and having were destroyed. This, I believe, is the extent of the loss to public property. The wagons and teams were all saved by the coolness and activity of Captain he. No officers or men were captured, except the sick and wounded in the hospital. Two iron manufactories