War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0222 KY. SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

and 1,000 from the DIVISION of Brigadier-General Roddey, commanding cavalry of North Alabama, and two batteries of artillery, for the purpose of destroying the railroad from Nashville and breaking up the lines of communications connecting that point with Sherman's army in Northern Georgia. In pursuance of that order I left Tupelo on the 1st day of June with Buford's DIVISION and Morton's and Rice's batteries. Prior to leaving Tupelo I dispatched my aide-de-camp, Captain Charles W. Anderson, and Captain John G. Mann, of the engineer department, to make all necessary arrangements for crossing the Tennessee River, which they did through Brigadier- General Roddey.

On the morning of the 3rd a dispatch reached me at Russellville from Major-General Lee, stating that the enemy were moving in force from Memphis in the direction of Tupelo, and ordering my immediate return. The order was promptly obeyed, and the column reached Tupelo on the 5th, at which time the enemy were reported at Salem, FIFTY miles from this place, west.

On the 7th my scouts reported the enemy moving in the direction of Ruckersville, and to meet him I moved with Buford's DIVISION to Baldwyn, and on the morning of the 8th from thence to Booneville. Major-General Lee had ordered Colonel Rucker, commanding Sixth Brigade of my command, to move to my assistance, and in pursuance of the order he had joined me at Booneville on the evening of the 9th. Major-General Lee had also dispatched Brigadier-General Roddey to leave a small force in the valley near Decatur, and re-enforce me with the balance of his command. I received a dispatch from General Roddey stating that Colonel W. A. Johnson, commanding brigade, was moving and ordered to report to me at Tupelo; also informing me that the balance of his command was then between Decatur and Rome on the flank of a force of the enemy moving from Decatur to Sherman's army. Johnson's brigade reached Baldwyn on the 9th, and was ordered to join me at Booneville. The enemy had endeavored to cross the Hatchie River in the direction of Rienzi, but owing to high water had only succeeded in throwing forward about 500 cavalry, which entered Rienzi on the morning of the 7th and attempted the destruction of the railroad, but left hastily after burning the depot and destroying a few yards of the railroad track. Supposing the main body would move in that direction, General Buford was ordered on the 9th to send Bell's brigade to Rienzi, holding Lyon's brigade, with two batteries of artillery, to await further developments.

On the night of the 9th I received dispatches reporting the enemy, in full force, encamped twelve miles east of Ripley on the Guntown road, having abandoned the upper route as impracticable.

Orders were issued to move at 4 o'clock on the following morning (10th instant). General Buford was also directed to order the immediate return of Bell's brigade from Rienzi to Booneville. The wagon train of my entire command, in charge of Major C. S. Severson, chief quartermaster, was ordered to the rear and southward from Booneville, east of the railroad to Verona. I moved as rapidly as the jaded condition of my horses would justify, intending, if possible, to reach Brice's Cross-Roads in advance of the enemy. On arrival at Old Carrollville, in advance of the command, I received intelligence that the enemy's cavalry were within four miles of the cross-roads. I immediately sent forward Lieutenant Black, temporarily attached to my staff, with a few men from the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, who soon reported that he had met the advance of the enemy one mile and a half north of the cross-roads, and was then skirmishing with them. I ordered Colonel