War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0194 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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Question. State what you learned at Ripley concerning the strength of the enemy at that engagement.

Answer. I learned from the statements of Colonel Faulkner, and other rebel officers and rebel soldiers, with whom I talked, that they had about 8,000 men, of whom about 5,000 were engaged, all of which were cavalry, the infantry not arriving in time. The rebel cavalry in this section are seldom armed with carbines. They are uniformly armed with the rifled musket, and are really mounted infantry, although called cavalry.

At 6 p. m. the Board adjourned to meet at 2 p. m. Thursday, July 21, 1864.

MEMPHIS, TENN., July 21, 1864--2 p. m.

The Board met pursuant to adjournment.

The members of the Board and the recorder present.

The minutes of the preceding session read and approved.

Captain J. A. FITCH duly sworn and examined.


Question. State your name, rank, and regiment; the length of time you have been in the service, and the position you occupied on the late expedition under General Sturgis.

Answer. John A. Fitch; captain Company E, First Illinois Light Artillery; I entered the service in October, 1861; in the late expedition I commanded two sections (four pieces) of my battery.

Question. How were you furnished or supplied with forage on the march out?

Answer. I was instructed to take only sufficient forage to last to La Fayette, but took a wagon-load, which I made to last me until I got to Ripley. After I left there all that we had was what we picked up along the road, which did not amount to a half a feed at any time.

Question. Was the march from La Fayette to Brice's Cross-Roads made in as short a time as it could have been; and, if not, how much more time was consumed than necessary?

Answer. I think it could have been made in two days' less time and just as easily as we made it.

Question. What part did your battery take in the battle of Brice's Cross-Roads?

Answer. In the movement of that day the First Brigade, to which I was attached, was in the rear of the infantry column. While moving, about 12 o'clock on the 10th, a courier came back with the information that there was fighting in front. Shortly after we heard firing. After moving along perhaps three-quarters of an hour word was sent back to move up more rapidly. The entire column commenced moving at an increased pace. Shortly after I noticed many infantry soldiers lying along the road evidently suffering from the effects of the heat. The firing at this time appeared to increase, and the exhausted men by the roadside appeared to accumulate; many of them were suffering from sunstroke. I arrived on the battle- ground, I should think, at 2. 30 o'clock, and was ordered by Colonel McMillen to post my battery in reserve on the left of the road, just near Brice's house, which I did. I was ordered to wait there and hold myself in readiness to go into action at a moment's notice. The infantry were filing past me and taking position. I waited in that position about three-quarters of an hour, I should think; and all at once the firing along the whole line grew very heavy, and I was ordered by an aide of Colonel McMillen, Lieutenant Abel, to move one of my 12-ponder Napoleons right in the crossing of the two roads. I could not see the enemy on account of the brush, which was distant about forty feet from my gun, but judging by the firing of the enemy's position I timed my fuses at a second and a half, which gave me a distance of 450 yards. I continued firing with shell and shrapnel at that distance. In a short time the Ninth Minnesota