but late in the evening of the 8th received a dispatch from General Williams stating that he was en route for Sparta, and requested we should join him, which we did next day. Great anxiety was felt by all the command not to leave Tennessee if there was any possible chance to join the major-general, and frequent consultations were had, scouts sent out, &c., of which I presume Brigadier-General Williams and Robertson will report.
I cannot close this without adding a word in regard to the battle of Saltville on the 2nd instant. I am fully convinced that the presence of Brigadier-General Williams' command saved the salt-works. My brigade, consisting of the Eighth [Thirteenth] Tennessee, six companies of Colonel McLemore's Fourth Tennessee, and Colonel Paul Anderson's Fourth [Eighth] Tennessee occupied the extreme right and fought about 2,500 Yankees and negroes, making a most desperate fight, killing in front of our lines over 200 and wounding a great many. Thirty minutes of the last of the fight by the Eighth [Thirteenth] was with their pistols, their ammunition having failed. General Robertson's right, which rested upon our left, having been withdrawn, left a gap through which the enemy passed and got into our rear, compelling us to retire (in good order and at our leisure) to the fortifications in our rear, where we turned and drove the enemy back. The conduct of the entire brigade was such as any veteran soldier might be proud of, and won the applause of all who witnessed the fight and went over the battle-field the next morning and saw the effects of their hard fighting. I feel very certain that my command killed and wounded more than we had in the fight, and more than two-THIRDs of the whole; captured all the prisoners taken and five stand of colors.
G. G. DIBRELL,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Major E. S. BURFORD,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Wheeler's Corps.
SEPTEMBER 6, 1864. -Skirmish near the Eight-Mile Post, on the Natchez and Liberty Road, Miss.
Report of Captain Harvey H. Merriman, Fourth Illinois Cavalry.
HDQRS. COMPANY L, FOURTH Illinois CAVALRY,
Natchez, Miss., September 6, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report in conformity with your orders detailing me and FIFTY to move east on the Liberty road to find out the whereabouts of the enemy. I found their pickets at the Eight- Mile Post, moved on them slowly for two miles, skirmishing all the time. I was fearful of an ambuscade. As they were stubborn in their retreat, I ordered a charge, and the running fight ensued for three miles, ending in the capture of 1 prisoners and 6 horses and mules and equipments, and 4 stand of arms, scattering the remaining force all over the country. I could hear of no formidable force this side of the Homochitto,
32 R R-VOL XXXIX, PT I