War of the Rebellion: Serial 074 Page 1002 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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Numbers 734.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel Philip B. Spence, Twelfth Mississippi Cavalry, of operations June 24.


Near Oxford, Ala., June 30, 1864.

COLONELS: I have the honor to submit the following as my report of the part taken by Armistead's regiment in the attack on La Fayette, Ga., on the 24th instant:

We arrived about 3.30 a. m., one mile and a quarter from the town. Two of my companies (A and C) were here detached from the regiment and acted under the immediate orders of Colonel C. G. Armistead, commanding brigade. I was ordered to dismount the remaining nine companies and form them in rear of the Ninth [Eighth] Alabama Cavalry, commanded by Colonel C. P. Ball. Orders were now given to double-quick. We soon passed over the ground to La Fayette, and hotly engaged the enemy on an eminence of the west side of town. Though my men were much exhausted from the long march and double-quicking, we speedily dislodged the enemy in front of us, driving them to the houses in the center of town. Orders were at this time received to change the direction of my line so that my right would rest on the Chattanooga road and my left toward the road to Dalton. I was then ordered to charge the houses in which the enemy had taken refuge. This was done with great coolness and gallantry by both officers and men, and succeeded in reaching the walls of the jail and other brick buildings occupied by the enemy. The enemy were too strongly posted to be dislodged, and my command was ordered to fall back in rear of the fences and houses within fifty yards of the jail, and to protect themselves from the deadly fire poured upon them by a cowardly and concealed foe. After three other unsuccessful charges, my loss being heavy in each - in the last charge the gallant Lieutenant Bradshaw, Company K, falling mortally wounded, and Lieutenant Charles W. Fulton, Company F, was seriously wounded - I discovered the troops, except my regiment, were falling back from town. I had received no orders to withdraw, and sent to Colonel Neely, who was just leaving with his mounted men, asking what I should do. His reply was, "withdraw to your horses as soon as possible." Just as I was crossing the Chattanooga road with my command we were charged from the direction of Chattanooga by a force of the enemy (mounted), and also fired upon by the enemy in town, who, taking advantage of our retreat, left the houses in which they had been posted. This movement of the enemy threw my command into some confusion. I rallied them under fire poured into both flanks, and drove the enemy back in the direction of Chattanooga. As we fell back in the direction of our horses the enemy again charged us in the open field. Here Lieutenant Lang, Company D, fell into their hands. We reached our horse not without some disorder, but succeeded in forming my me in perfect line, and was ordered to join the column moving off, protected by the Fourteenth Tennessee Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel White.

When all acted so gallantly it is difficult to discriminate, but I cannot forbear mentioning S. T. Sykes, Company C, acting adju-