War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0342 KY., SW., VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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Numbers 53. Report of Major Thomas S. Tate, Jr., Twenty Kentucky Cavalry.


Camp, Near Pikeville, Miss., July 20, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to herewith forward the following official report of the operations of my command in the late engagements with the enemy.

I moved from Tupelo on the morning of the 9th and halted near Ellistown until night, when in company with the brigade I marched all night, reaching Pontotoc the next morning. Here I detached Captain Tyler, with 100 picked men, to report to Brigadier-General Buford for special service. (See report of Captain Tyler made direct to DIVISION headquarters for the operations of the detachment. *) My force by the detachment was reduced to 280 men. We moved toward Okolona and encamped eight miles from town (Pontotoc). The next morning I moved back toward Pontotoc and took my position in line of battle with the brigade, my regiment occupying the second line of breast-works, which had been hastily made of rails, logs, &c. We remained there until night, when we returned to our old camp.

Daylight on the 12th found me in line near my old position of yesterday. I staid there all day, but the enemy no advance on my position. At night I took my command back to its old camp. Colonel Faulkner arrived then and took command.

We moved at daylight on the 13th to our old breast-works, but very soon after we had taken position we received orders to mount and move in the direction of Pontotoc. This we did, and found the enemy moving to Tupelo. We moved on a road parallel to his line of march and headed him at Calhoun's Cross-Roads. As soon as skirmishing began in front Brigadier-General Buford ordered Colonel Faulkner to the front at full speed. We moved very rapidly for several miles and reported to Brigadier-General Buford. We found that General Bell's brigade was being rapidly driven back and was in great confusion. We dismounted and took position, covering a brigade, with orders to cover the retreat of Bell's brigade. Colonel Faulkner threw out skirmishers, but just as they became with the advance of the enemy Mabry's brigade attacked the enemy in flank and drove him toward Tupelo. We then moved forward several hundred yards until halted by Lieutenant-General Lee. We were then ordered to move with the brigade. This was done, and we took position as right center of the brigade near the town of Harrisburg, throwing out skirmishers and scouts to ascertain the position of the enemy. Everything remained quiet during the night, but at daylight the enemy opened a brisk fire on our skirmishers. This was vigorously returned and kept up for more than an hour, when the enemy retired. We then moved forward with the brigade. Very soon our advance skirmishers became warmly engaged, and the whole brigade moved forward at a double-quick. We moved through a dense thicket, the men cheering at every step. Colonel Faulkner ordered his bugler to sound the charge just as we entered the thicket. The enemy a heavy fire of artillery in the direction of the cheering. Nearly every shot fired took effect. On coming out of the woods we found ourselves in full view of the enemy's line, behind breast-works and distant about 800 yards. We commenced charging,

See p. 344.