On the morning of the 15th I was ordered to move forward toward Tupelo. When within two miles and a half thereof the brigade was dismounted and formed in line, Bell's brigade being on my left and Rucker's on my right. I moved forward the position of the enemy (his left flank) and drove his skirmishers upon his main line. Still advancing, I soon encountered his main force and fought him over one hour, doing good execution and driving him back into the woods. The firing then ceased on both sides except skirmishing. After a short time I was ordered to remount and follow Bell's brigade, as the enemy were retreating on the Ellistown road. Rapidly moving, at Old Town Creek I found Bell's brigade engaging the enemydismounted and placed in position and then moved forward to from the field, the command devolving on Lieutenant Colonel A. R. Shacklett, Eighth Kentucky Regiment. Here fell the modest and gallant Lieutenant Colonel L. J. Sherrill, Seventh Kentucky, than whom the country had no braver defender. He fell in the front rank, and fills a Christian soldier's grave. The heroic Major Hale, Seventh Kentucky, was also severely wounded at this place. This regiment was thus deprived of its field officers. Colonel Holt, THIRD Kentucky, had been prostrated by sunstroke and removed from the field, and the THIRD Kentucky was without a field officer.
The action on the 14th was the most severe and destructive ever encountered by the troops of this brigade, who are veterans in the service. Their loss was unprecedented. Nobly each man did his duty; none failed to respond to the charge; there was no laggard there, no coward; every one was alive to the interest he had personally in our great contest for freedom and the measure required at his hands.
I would mention as worthy of all commendation for their activity, their bravery, and the manner in which they maneuvered their commands, Colonel W. W. Faulkner; Lieutenant Colonel A. R. Shacklett, Eight Kentucky; Colonel G. A. C. Holt, THIRD Kentucky; Major H. S. Hale Seventh Kentucky, and Major T. S. Tate, Faulkner's Kentucky regiment. This mention is no mere customary adulation. These officers deserve the highest credit for their actions, and should receive the most honorable notice at the hands of their superiors and their Government. A braver, more active, more untiring set of line officers than those of the several regiments of the THIRD Brigade are not to be found in the army. Where one and all are truly it is invidious to draw distinctions.
My loss was 297 killed and wounded in less than 800. A list* is herewith appended.
To the officers on my staff-Captain C. L. Randle, Company A, Seventh Kentucky, Lieutenant James A. Turk, acting assistant inspector-general; Major J. R. Smith, commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenant Galbraith, acting aide-de-camp my thanks are due for their activity, obedience, and gallantry in conveying all orders.
I would mention the very valuable assistance afforded me during the second day's fight by Major Hale, of the Seventh Kentucky. This officer has few superiors in the service, and is entitled to special mention for his distinguished bravery.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Colonel Seventh Kentucky, Commanding THIRD Brigade.
Captain Thomas M. CROWDER, Assistant Adjutant-General.
* Not found, but see Buford's return, p. 335.
22 R R-VOL XXXIX, PT I