War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0160 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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the enemy's cavalry. All of my information led to that conclusion, and General Grierson himself supposed them to be only 600 strong after he had been fighting them some time. So I did not think of forming a line of battle at all, but supposed the cavalry could drive the enemy away without trouble. It was only after receiving the last message from General Grierson, while on the way up to him, asking me for a brigade of infantry, that I thought at all of looking at the ground with a view to taking positions in case we should be driven back. When I made up my mind at Ripley not to return, but to go forward, then I determined to attack the enemy wherever I could find him, because if I stopped I was ruined. My animals would be exhausted, and the only hope was to get as rapidly as possible to Tupelo, where there was corn, and if I formed line of battle, on receiving word from General Grierson, and the enemy had not chosen to attack me, I would have been forced to have er precisely theces, with my animals still more reduced.

Question. When you first came up to General Grierson, from what you could see and from the firing, how many of the enemy did there appear to be in your front?

Answer. I didn't impress me as being a large force, judging from the firing, and I really felt that when the infantry got up we could hold our own with them.

Question. Did you have scouts in front in the course of the expedition, and did you receive information from them concerning the enemy's force and movements?

Answer. The scouts were unable to bring me any information because the enemy were hanging so continually about, so I depended more upon the information I had started with, and keeping my command together and ready for any emergency, than upon any information I could pick up. I was informed before leaving Memphis that I would find no enemy north of Okolona in force, and would encounter no considerable force until I got in the vicinity of Columbus or Macon, if even there. As this information was acquired through regularly organized spies and scouts I felt that it was the best information I could act upon. I therefore acted upon that in the absence of any other.

Question. On what day did you receive from the ladies you mention information that the enemy's force consisted of 20,000 men?

Answer. I think it was at Collierville on the 12th; this was on my return.

Question. What, in your opinion, was the real cause of the disaster at Brice's Cross-Roads?

Answer. I think the disaster was the result of undertaking an altogether impracticable expedition. Whatever number of men make up an expedition the enemy are perfectly acquainted with the details of it in thirty-six hours after it leaves Memphis, and as we have to travel at least 100 miles over a desert we are forced to arrive in a manner broken down and with the animals weakened, to reach a point where the enemy can concentrate as much force as he pleases by railroad, and where he can put himself in position and destroy you in detail in spite of all you can do. If you go forward he will overwhelm you with numbers; if you do not you starve, and if you go back he will destroy you, because you have to retreat over a desert.

The Board then adjourned at 5. 30 o'clock to meet at 2 p. m. Monday, the 4th of July.


Brigadier-General Volunteers, President.


Major and Asst. Adjt. General Volunteers, Recorder.

MEMPHIS, TENN., July 4, 1864.

The Board met pursuant to adjournment.

Present, Brigadier-General Buckland and Colonel Kappner, and the recorder.