HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY, &C.,
Oxford, Ala., June 28, 1864.
MAJOR: In obedience to the orders of the major-general commanding department, I moved with the effective force under my command (being about 1,600 men) on Monday, the 20th instant,toward North georgia, the rear of the enemy's position. My orders contemplated an interruption of the enemy's line of communication with Chattanooga-his base of supplies. Previously to my departure it had rained every day for about twenty days. The consequence was that the roads of the country were almost impracticable for the movements of cavalry, owing to the high waters and deep mud everywhere, except on the ridges and spurs of the mountains. My line of march by Gadsden, blue Pond, Alpine, and Summerville crossed the course of the Coosa and all its tributaries (on the south of that river), which were so swollen with the continuous rains that I was greatly retarded in my advance although I moved without any train. Being satisfied I could to possibly carry even small ordnance train, I did not attempt it. When I reached Little River (a rapid and deep stream forming in Lookout Mountain and running into the coosa north of Blue Pond) I found it impossible to cross the stream until the next day after my arrival. From these causes my march was materially retarded,while my limited amount of subsistence and forage was being consumed. As I approached Summerville, Ga., I ascertained that there were in La Fayette the Fourth, Sixth, and Seventeenth Regiments Kentucky Cavalry. I could not pass this force, leaving it on my flank and rear, with safety to my command. I determined, therefore, to engage it in action, and to surprise it I marched forty-four miles without halting, and attacked the enemy at daylight on Friday morning, the 24th instant. My orders were that Armistead, with his brigade, should attack the town on the west front, and Neely,with his brigade, should attack the south front. It was intended that the attack should be simultaneous by both commands, and should take place at daylight. Armisted's command, however, made the attack first and before Neely had got fully in position. Armistead drove in enemy's pickets at daylight, and in course of twenty minutes he had possession of the entire town with all its approaches and outposts. that portion of the enemy's forces in and near the public square took shelter in the court-house, jail, and hotel, all except the latter being solid brick walls. The doors were closed and barred by sacked corn, the windows were filled with the same, forming loop-holes for enemy's guns, and thus became strong fortresses. Being in possession of the entire town and public square, Colonel Armistead made several efforts to carry by assault these buildings, but was unsuccessful. Subsequently he was captured, afterward escaped and rejoined his command, and returned to the square and renewed the contest until he was finally severely wounded and retired. Colonel Neely's command, having been engaged with a force in his front, reached the square in a short time after Colonel Armistead had withdrawn his men from the square. The assault being renewed, his men combined with Armistead's and occupied all the approaches to the square and the surrounding buildings, forced their way to the court-house, and renewed the efforts to break into the fortified buildings, but it was found impossible to do so without artillery.