War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0210 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

I was hard pressed and that I thought I would not be able to hold the position unless I could have some assistance on my left, and informing him that the enemy appeared to be in force superior to that portion of my troops that were engaged, the negro brigade being back with the train. General Sturgis replied in substance that he had nothing he could send me, and I must do the best I could under the circumstances. I then went to work with a renewed determination to hold the position. I had ammunition brought up for the troops; kept up a rapid effective artillery fire; sought to encourage and animate the men by every means possible, but to no purpose. The men, owing to the excessive heat of the day and the rapid march that they had made to reach the field and the impression which was universal on the field that the enemy was in largely superior numbers, were exhausted and dispirited, and it was impossible to move them to the front. I sent another messenger to General Sturgis again requesting assistance, and again stating that I must abandon the position if not relieved soon. My messenger returned after some time with the statement that he could not find the general. Finding that the enemy were getting possession of the road in my rear, and that it was impossible to hold the position at the cross-roads, I determined to retire, preserving my organization as much as possible, which I did by extending the line of the Seventy-second Ohio along a ridge in an open field on the right of the Guntown road and to the rear of the Pontotoc road, placing the Ninety-fifth Ohio and a detachment of the Tenth Missouri Cavalry, commanded by Captain Curry, who reported to me on the field for orders, in this position. I then withdrew the Ninety-THIRD Indiana and Ninth Minnesota to the Pontotoc road and directed them to move by the right flank around the right and to the rear of this new line, directing the other regiments to follow these two regiments by the right flank in the order in which they stood in line in this retrograde movement, keeping the artillery in its original position and directing them to fire on the enemy rapidly until all the infantry had got behind the new line. The artillery was then directed to withdraw and take the road in the rear of the train until another position could be selected and taken up.

At 6 p. m. the Board adjourned till 2 p. m. to-morrow.

MEMPHIS, TENN., July 27, 1864-2 p. m.

The Board met pursuant to adjournment.

The members of the Board and the recorder present.

The minutes of the preceding meeting were read and approved.

Examination of Colonel W. L. McMillen continued.

By the PRESIDENT:

Question. Proceed in your statement of the events of June 10 and 11.

Answer. I rode along this new line directing officers and men to hold it till the troops and artillery could be retired, and then to fall back across the creek with as little confusion as possible. I then rode across the creek, and in the road near the crossing first met a regiment of U. S. Colored Infantry (the FIFTY-fifth), Major Lowe commanding. I placed it in position on the left-hand side of the road, near the creek, with instructions to hold the bridge and cover the retreat of the troops then engaged on the other side; I then rode back a short distance farther, when I met Colonel Bouton, who informed me that he had the other regiment of his brigade and his section of artillery in a good position on the right-hand side of the road, and he thought if he could be furnished with ammunition that he could hold the enemy at bay at that place. I was delighted to meet with some one who expressed a determination to try and do something, and gave the necessary orders to secure the necessary ammunition. I rode over to where his troops were in position, and remained there until Major Lowe's regiment had retired to that point, which I again placed in position on the left of Colonel Bouton's line, directing Colonel Bouton to hold that position as long as possible, and informing him that a new line would be formed as soon as we came to suitable ground, and what I would notify him of its establishment. During this time the cavalry, infantry, and train were moving to the rear in considerable confusion, but as rapidly as possible. Seeing Colonel Bouton in position I turned my attention to getting the train long. I worked my way back to a point about one and a half or two miles back from the cross-roads, where I found General Sturgis and General Grierson. The greater portion of the train and all the artillery succeeded in passing this point. A few of the wagons, however, in the rear of the train, had been passed destroyed by my orders. A new line was formed here of such