Answer. At Ripley, going out, a lady whom I took to be a very intelligent person, Mrs. Faulkner, wife of Colonel Faulkner, of the rebel service, informed me, in a laughing manner, in answer to my question as to where Forrest was, that Forrest had gone away from there with two DIVISIONS to re-enforce Johnston, but had returned again and that we would have plenty to do in a few days. I asked her if she knew of the number of men that Forrest had, and she said he had some 28,000. On my return she had breakfast prepared, and she called me in and I took breakfast with her. She wanted to know if I did not find her words very nearly correct.
Question. Did you inform General Sturgis of this matter?
Answer. I did, on the afternoon of the same day that I heard it. He and I both treated the matter lightly.
Question. What efforts were made, if any, to procure forage during the expedition?
Answer. I never knew of any arrangements being made about forage. What forage we got was picked up by the drivers of the teams, and the quartermaster-sergeant. When we abandoned our teams, there was in our wagons enough forage to feed our horses two nights. At the white house, two miles this side of the battle-ground, I saw plenty of forage. There was plenty also at Stubbs'; old corn, and blades of fodder. Between Ripley and La Fayette there was no forage. There appeared to be plenty between Ripley and the cross-roads.
Question. State any facts not already stated, which in your opinion had an influence in causing the disaster at Brice's Cross-Roads.
Answer. I think the commencement of the disaster was caused by the men being so much exhausted. In the second place, by the commanding officers of the expedition leaving the field without giving any instructions to brigade and regimental commanders. THIRD, if on falling back the infantry had all been notified to form line at the first frame house this side of the cross-roads, and if the cavalry had been halted and used upon the flanks, there would have been an opportunity of saving a portion of the ammunition, and giving the train time to retreat. This line could have been held till dark. The infantry lost a great many prisoners, because they were in the rear, without any ammunition, from Ripley, coming this way. The cavalry were engaged at Ripley, which protected the retreat of the infantry for about a mile from there. The cavalry were then driven by the enemy, and went to the front of the infantry. In consequence of this the rebels charged in on my command, which was a part of the First Brigade, and the men being very much exhausted and out of ammunition, I lost a great many prisoners. I then requested Lieutenant-Colonel Noble, of the THIRD Iowa Cavalry, to station his companies in such manner as to protect my rear, which he accordingly did, and I went and reported this matter to General Sturgis. I asked him who had command of the cavalry that was protecting the rear? He answered that it didn't make much difference; there would be a hell of a stampede soon, or words to that effect. I replied that there was no necessity of a stampede; that I had taken the responsibility of ordering Lieutenant-Colonel Noble, with the THIRD Iowa Cavalry, to protect the rear, which he was then doing. General Sturgis remarked that I must be mistaken, as the THIRD Iowa was in the front. I assured him to the contrary, as I had just placed them in the rear. He then informed me that Colonel Winslow had charge of the rear, and he sent for him, again assuring me that it was not necessary to do anything; that there would be a hell of a stampede, and every man would have to take care of himself. While his messenger was gone for Colonel Winslow, he said, "Colonel, you have no command, and I have no command; I propose that we take the Nineteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and take some by-road and make our escape. " Colonels McMillen, Hoge, and Bouton were there; also Lieutenant-Colonel Eaton. General Sturgis asked Colonel McMillen what he thought about it; to which he replied, that he was willing to do whatever I said. I told him that I didn't consider there was any danger of a stampede if the matter was properly managed, and expressed my determination to stay with my men. When Colonel Winslow reported, General Sturgis said to him, "I thought you were in charge of the rear," to which he replied, that he had been the night before, but didn't understand that he was to be that day. General Sturgis then asked him if any of the cavalry had ammunition; to which he replied, that the Second New Jersey and a part of the Ninth Illinois had. General Sturgis then told him to place those regiments in the rear, which was done, and Colonel Karge's Second New Jersey Cavalry took charge of the rear. After that we had no trouble to speak of, nor any danger of a stampede.