War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0157 Chapter LI. EXPEDITION INTO MISSISSIPPI.

Search Civil War Official Records

Answer. It was uneven, hardly amounting to what would be called a rough country, and densely wooded for about three-quarters of a mile in front on all the roads, beyond which was an open belt extending across all the roads for about a quarter of a mile. The enemy occupied the wood beyond the open belt and we the wood on this side, so that our position was pretty strong, except that it could be easily turned.

Question. How far from General Grierson's line was the head of your infantry column when you first heard that he was engaged?

Answer. I presume it was four miles and a half from the head of the cavalry column and two miles from its rear when the cavalry was attacked.

Question. In what order was the infantry marching at that time?

Answer. Marching in the usual order; but on that day Colonel Hoge's (the Second) brigade was in the advance; Colonel Wilkin's brigade next; Colonel Bouton's (the colored brigade) was last, and with the wagons. The infantry column and the wagon train I estimated as ordinarily occupying about four miles of road.

Question. How long was the infantry column at the time of the engagement, and was it well closed up?

Answer. My remembrance is that when I asked Colonel McMillen at this time how he was getting along he replied that his column was well closed up and the column occupied about four miles and a half.

Question. What was the character of the ground at the head of the infantry column at the time of the attack?

Answer. It was wooded and level, with open fields occasionally. There were no swamps nor springs in the immediate vicinity.

Question. Were the enemy in motion when the collision first occurred with Grierson, or did he find them waiting for him?

Answer. My impression is that he found them waiting for him, but the reports which I have submitted to-day at headquarters will explain that better than I can.

Question. What was the condition of the roads at that time?

Answer. The roads were heavy on account of the rains, and bad for the wagons. All the low places in the roads being rendered worse by the rains, but for marching they were generally pretty fair.

Question. Were the men brought into action on the double-quick, or in what time did they march into action, and in what condition?

Answer. They did not come into action on the double-quick, and I had specially ordered that they should not come up on the double- quick, because the day was very oppressive, though I repeatedly sent word to Colonel McMillen to make all haste. They marched into action in ordinary time. The infantry looked in good spirits, and we gave three cheers as they came up. I can hardly say how long they had marched without resting. They were two hours or two hours and a half in making the four miles, and I do not know what time was given them for resting.

Question. Did you investigate General Grierson's complaint that he was short of ammunition?

Answer. I did not; there was no possible time for it. I knew subsequently that regiments of cavalry had almost their full number of rounds of ammunition. For instance, the Second New Jersey Cavalry, which had been engaged on the left, the Fourth Missouri, also the THIRD Iowa, which regiments on this account did the principal work in guarding the rear on the retreat.

Question. Did General Grierson retire from the fight with or without your order?

Answer. General Grierson importuned me a great deal, while his cavalry was engaged, to hurry up the infantry, as his men were tired and exhausted, having been fighting since 10 o'clock. I told him repeatedly that we must hold that position; that we could do it, and that the infantry would be up any moment, and that he must have patience. He retired, with my sanction, as soon as replaced by the infantry for the purpose of getting his command together. As I said yesterday, the cavalry on the left (Colonel Waring's) retired. I do not know by whose orders.