War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0398 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

principal roads that my scouts were all in my rear. The most reliable information from citizens and scouts led me to believe that a great change had taken place in the locality of the enemy since the time my orders were issued. I pressed forward as rapidly as possible to Lamar, having secured as many sledge-hammers and crowbars as could be obtained. I had dispatched another scout from Salem in the direction of Holly Springs, a man who knew the country entirely. We reached Lamar and commenced work, when a party of sixty Yankee cavalry struck my advance in flank by a road which the guide had not advised them of. I was but a short distance in rear of the advance when firing commenced, trying to get information of the enemy and of our locality. As the enemy advanced, supposing them to be my advance, I fell in with them and ordered them to move slowly and in better order, which order they promptly obeyed, rallying on me. The moon shining out a little move brightly, when I was within forty steps of my own line I saw the orderly sergeant near me was a Yankee. I shot him, and as he fell ordered the battalion to charge. Major Allin's mule became ungovernable, and the battalion, not knowing friend from foe, was thrown into momentary confusion. So soon as I reached them and they discovered the locality of the foe, they promptly poured in their fire and the Yankees broke in every direction. I ordered a company in pursuit, but no guide could be found. The enemy report their loss as 9 killed. We captured 1 prisoner and 3 horses. Lost 1 mortally wounded and 3 severely. Work on the road was ordered to recommence, and search instituted for the guides. Information had now reached me that a brigade of cavalry (Colonel Karge) was in Holly Springs. My own scout informed me that between 300 and 400 (equaling my force) were encamped at Goodman's Mills, in my rear; that a heavy column of cavalry had passed from Holly Springs in the direction of Coldwater. My own scouts failed to report. My guides now, when found, could give no information about the neighboring trestle. the citizens refused to give information of any kind for fear of the Yankees. Not having been placed originally in command of the expedition, and finding that the circumstances around me were different from those anticipated by the major-general commanding, I asked for the opinion of the accompanying field officers. they agreed that we could do no injury to the railroad at Lamar; that the enemy could repair more rapidly than we could destroy, as the fencing was destroyed, and there was nothing to burn the iron with. The country was open, admitting of attack from every side. Major Allin and Lieutenant-Colonel Taylor both thought it best to withdraw, as the retreating enemy would in a few hours report our position to superior forces of the enemy to our rear. We were informed after moving back a few miles by a courier from Holly Springs that we were reported about sunset at Holly Springs, and a brigade of cavalry immediately commenced preparation to intercept us. We awaited orders at New Albany. Reached Oxford with men worn out and horses unfit for duty. The following day was ordered by Colonel Wade to the front. Spent the day in the saddle. The ensuing day again in front skirmishing with the enemy for several hours in a heavy rain. We could only fire guns in the command, but remained snapping caps and bursting tubes in the enemy's front until ordered to retire. Lost 1 man wounded. The following evening Major Allin, with seventy men (all remaining fit for duty after the numerous details had been made), picketed the mouth of Tippah road. I learned that the enemy were advancing, and went to the front early in the morning. Found the command with-