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a battery of the Second Illinois cavalry, all un- conducted themselves with coolness and bravery der the command of Colonel George E. Waring, the day before in the face of the most furious Jr., of the Fourth Missouri, left Colliersville, attacks of the rebels, were now so panic-stricken Tennessee, destined to coöperate with General as to be beyond all control. The Second brigade Smith. On the seventeenth we formed a junc. and the Seventh Indiana rallied and held the tion at New-Albany, on the Tallahatchie River, rebels in check, falling back from time to time, with the Second brigade, commanded by Gen- and taking new positions, both sides suffering eral Grierson, and the Third, commanded by considerably. At three o'clock, the third batColonel McCrellis. On the nineteenth we talion of the Seventh Indiana formed across the reached Egypt, a station on the Mobile and road in line of battle, to stop, if possible, the Ohio Railroad, in the midst of the finest and wild flight of the Seventh brigade. This was most fertile country I ever saw. In no part of done in good order, under the command of Major the South, outside of the cities, is there found Febbs, and succeeded in stopping, in a measure, more wealth than here. One man owns eight the wild flight of our men, and restoring commiles square of this land, and a poor fellow parative order. Lieutenant-Colonel Brown now who owns but one thousand acres of this land arrived and assumed command, and we were is considered by his neighbors as almost an ordered in force back, and to take a new posiobject of charity. Of course they are the most tion. Here we were assailed furiously by the inveterate rebels. We here, and at other points rebels, and, after holding the position firmly for in this vicinity, destroyed about three million a short time, we were ordered to fall back, bushels of corn, two thousand or three thousand which was done in good order. Just at night bales of cotton, a tannery containing two thou- a position was taken by the First brigade, the sand sides of leather, all belonging to the rebel battery of the Fourth Missouri occupying the government, and capturing about two thousand road, supported by the Fourth Missouri, Second negroes, and three thousand mules and horses, New Jersey, Sixth and Seventh Illinois, and tearing up about thirty miles of the railroad, Seventh Indiana. This line was formed in the burning the bridges and culverts, and rendering immediate rear of the train, and if broken the the rails unserviceable by being heated, thus train would be captured and we hopelessly cutting off their communications with Mobile. defeated. Twilight was fast settling down, All this was done without any interruption, making every thing indistinct. On rushed the although the rebel General Forrest, with a large rebels with the most determined bravery and cavalry force, was near us. On the twentieth coolness. The battery opened with spirit. The we, for the first time, encountered the enemy Sixth and Seventh Illinois delivered a few volin the neighborhood of West-Point, where they leys and fell back, and were soon followed by had taken a strong position, and after a little the Fourth Missouri and Second New Jersey. sharp fighting they were driven back, we en- The sharp flash of the enemy's carbines could camping on the battle-field. On the morning of be seen in the deepening twilight within twenty the twenty-first, having accomplished fully the feet of the guns of the battery; if they should object of the expedition, we commenced our re- be taken, all would be lost. The command was turn, the Second Iowa cavalry and a battalion now given by General Smith: “Seventh Indiana, of the Sixth Illinois cavalry guarding the rear. charge the enemy !" Quick as thought the brave Several times during the day the rebels charged boys of the Seventh drew their sabres, and, with furiously upon the rear, but were as often re- a shout, charged down the slope of the hill, full pulsed by the brave boys of the Second Iowa, in the face of the enemy, driving them like sheep, assisted by detachments from the Sixth, Seventh and inflicting the most dreadful slaughter. The and Ninth Illinois, the rebels suffering great enemy for the first time were completely checkloss, we but little. At ten o'clock at night we ed and driven back; the day was won, and we encamped two miles south-west of Okolona, with were safe. It was not accomplished without almost a certain prospect of a battle the next loss. Companies I and A, the right and left day. On the morning of the twenty-second we companies of the regiment, lost largely, company moved out of camp, the First brigade being A losing their captain (Parmlee) and their first charged with guarding the train, the Seventh lieutenant (Donaho) and twenty men, and comIndiana cavalry being in the rear, and the other pany I lost ten men. We were ordered to fall regiments of the brigade preceding it, the Third back so rapidly that we were forced to leave our brigade occupying the rear of the expedition for dead and wounded on the field. At ten o'clock the day. As we passed through the town of we halted and fed our tired and worn-out horses, Okolona, the rebels were discovered drawn up and cooked supper for our fatigued and famished in line of battle about three fourths of a mile on men, and rested till about four o'clock A.M., when our right, having passed us in the night, but not we again resumed our march; passed through in sufficient force to attack us. About ten the town of Pontotoc just at daylight, and moved o'clock, having been largely reinforced, they on rapidly during the day. The rebels followed made a furious attack upon our rear, and the us, and several times during the day made furiSecond Iowa, having become panic-stricken, ous attacks on our rear, but were as often stampeded the whole of Colonel McCrellis's repulsed. Just at night, we crossed the Tallabrigade. Here followed the wildest scene of hatchie at New-Albany, destroying the bridge disorder that I ever witnessed. Men who had behind us, and we were safe. From here we
marched on rapidly, night and day, without In several instances, it was necessary to build further interruption, and reached Colliersville the boats, and in others, a path through the ice on the evening of the twenty-seventh, and again in the rivers, (which was in layers, separated by went into camp. The expedition accomplished six inches to a foot of water,) had to be chopped all that was intended, and inflicted great damage by axes before the boats could be used. In to the most fertile and productive portion of the places, owing to the rise of the water over the Confederacy. We, however, sustained a good swamp-lands, and cane ridges as well, the brideal of loss. It is estimated that we lost in gade and train were forced to make long detours killed and missing about two hundred and fisty, to avoid miles of low-lying ground, covered with but I think it larger. There was too much of a melting ice and water; or to reach some point disposition to get away, and too little to fight. where a bottom could be found, to be used to Whenever we did fight, it was done to protect cross the command over a slough or river. Even our rear rather than to whip the rebels. A little with this necessary selection of the route, the more determination on the part of all the bri- men were at times dismounted, and the horses gades would have annihilated the army of For-harnessed to the artillery carriages or ammunirest, and made us the complete victors. It was tion-wagons, to draw them for miles through the a dreadful alternative to leave our wounded on half-frozen mud and water. On the eighth of the field in the hands of the enemy. Our ex- February, the First brigade, having marched two perience with rebel surgeons after the battle of hundred and fifteen miles since leaving Union Gettysburgh shows us that they have but little City on the twenty-third of January, 1864, arhumanity when treating their own wounded - rived at Colliersville. they of course will have less when treating ours. The force thus assembled was under the comThe expedition, on the whole, can be considered mand of Brigadier-General W. S. Smith, then a success, but one that has cost us dearly. the Chief of Cavalry in the Division of the Mis
sissippi. Under the orders of General Smith, · ACCOUNT BY A PARTICIPANT.
was Brigadier-General Grierson. Prior to setting
MEMPHIS, March 12, 1864. lout, the commanders of regiments and brigades Editor of the Rebellion Record :
met at the headquarters of General Smith, where While General Sherman was collecting and so much of the plan of march as was deemed organizing part of his forces at Vicksburgh, for proper was explained, advice in the managethe expedition through Mississippi to Meridian, ment of it given, and contentment expressed at orders had issued for that part of the cavalry, the duty before them, and satisfaction with the which was then scattered through West and state of the command and affairs up to that time. Middle Tennessee and North-Mississippi, to con- On the eleventh of February, the whole force centrate at Colliersville, a point on the Charles- began its march in a south-easterly direction, ton and Memphis Railroad, twenty-four miles and on the sixteenth of February, the last of the from Memphis, and to proceed from that place command had crossed the Tallahatchie River at through Mississippi and along the Mobile and New. Albany, without interruption. The attenOhio Railroad to Meridian, there joining the tion of the enemy, who was in small force on the army of General Sherman, and affording that south bank of the river, had been successfully officer the means necessary to carry out his de diverted to Wyatt, a point west, by the pressigns. Accordingly, three brigades of cavalry ence there of a brigade of infantry, under Colwere ordered to meet at Colliersville early in onel McMillen, and by the march in that direcFebruary. The Second brigade, commanded by tion of the advanced troops of the cavalry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, of Second Iowa by attempts to throw a bridge across the river cavalry, and the Third brigade, under the com- at that place. After the river was crossed, the mand of Colonel McCrellis, of Third Illinois cav- march south-eastwardly was continued, and late alry, composed of regiments comparatively near in the day of the eighteenth February, the comthe point of concentration, arrived at Colliers- mand arrived at Okolona, a village and station ville before the First brigade, commanded by on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and the northColonel G. E. Waring, Jr., of the Fourth Missouri ern point of the succession of very fertile plains, cavalry. This brigade was stationed at Union which continue southward for nearly sixty miles, City, Tennessee, on the north-western boundary intersected by the railroad, and known as the of West-Tennessee, when orders reached it to Prairie. Within a short distance from Okolona, march southward. Without delay, the command IIepburn's and Waring's brigades encamped, a was put in motion, through a district of coun- part of the latter having fallen in with and driven try rendered barren of forage and provisions by a small patrol of the enemy. During the night, a two years of campaigning, in which not a bridge detachment of the First brigade was sent to was standing over the many deep streams which Egypt Station, distant about five miles, to descrossed the line of march, and where the rains, troy the stores of corn and provisions belonging snow, and ice of the preceding month had swol- to the Confederacy, the railroad, bridges, and len the river, overflowing the low lands and bot- station-house'; this was done, and on the morntoms, and rendering the roads through them ing of the nineteenth, Waring's brigade was morheavy, and in places impassable for the artillery ed southward along the line of the railroad ; Mcand trains. These rivers were crossed by rope Crellis's a few miles to the west, and in the same ferry-boats, carrying but ten horses at a time. I direction ; and Hepburn's to the east, toward and through Aberdeen, at Prairie Station, where a routed troops, without control and in great disnumber of cars and pens of corn were destroyed 'order. The enemy were held in check for a time, on the night of the day the command was united. and the First brigade ordered to take up another At three p.. on the twentieth of February, the position. This was done, the Second New-Jerwhole force arrived near West-Point Station. 'sey cavalry and a battalion of the Second Illinois Hepburn's brigade, which was in the advance, cavalry checking the enemy with loss as he adskirinished with the enemy, and with but little vanced. From this, the First brigade was ordereffort drove him over the Octibbeha River. The ed to retire within the lines of the Second bridivision encamped in line of battle; the men were gade, which had taken advantage of some defiles in excellent spirits, and the horses had been in and ridges to hold the enemy, until the negroes proving in condition during the past two days, and train, that had been in great confusion, could on the unlimited supply of forage which the be parked in an open field on the left of the road. plains through which they marched contained. About a mile to the rear of this point, Colonel Through much of this region the United States Waring formed his brigade on a hill known as troops had never passed; the plantations had Ivy Farm, and while so doing, the pack animals, been undisturbed, and the slaves hitherto had negroes, and many stragglers moved to the rear, not been interrupted in their tillage. As the in a solid body and with irresistible force, over troops noved by cluster after cluster of huts, the road and through part of the field, carrying the young and able-bodied negroes joined the with them the largest portion of the Second Newrear of the column on horses and mules, to Jersey cavalry and Second Illinois cavalry, which the number of about one thousand eight hun were moving to their several positions. Shortly dred. These, with the long train of pack animals after the Second brigade began to retire in the and led-horses, were now in rear of the division. direction of Ivy Hill, the enemy appeared at a On the morning of the twenty-first, the whole turn in the road commanded by a battery of force was ordered by General Smith to return to howitzers belonging to the Fourth Missouri cayOkolona, McCrellis's brigade leadiny, followed alry, and firing at once began. The enemy disby the negroes and pack train, after'which was mounted, and in large force, as skirmishers, pressWaring's brigade, and in the rear Hepburn's. ed forward and on the flank, toward the road, This movement at once became the object of con- which, like all the surrounding country, exceptstant inquiry on the part of the troops; this was ing the field where the brigade was formed, was followed by an uneasy feeling, increased as came heavily wooded. In the wood, on the side tofirst news of constant skirmishing, and then the ward the road, dismounted skirmishers had been sound of small arms and cannon in the rear. placed; and these, with the firing of the battery, The enemy, on finding a retreat had begun, press- caused the enemy to halt. Soon after, a body of ed forward with great vigor, but were constantly their skirmishers commenced moving from the checked by Hepburn's brigade, in which the Se-thickets which bounded the southern edge of Ivy cond lowa cavalry and Ninth Illinois cavalry were Farm, threatening the right flank of Waring's manævred with great bravery and skill. About brigade. Under cover of this, a large force was three P. ., a column of the enemy was seen mor- massed opposite the battery, which force, preing parallel with the retreating force, about a ceded by a line of skirmishers, moved rapidly mile on the right flank, and near the railroad. forward, and at once seized a gully running in A portion of Waring's brigade was at once mov- front of and somewhat obliquely to the line formed to that flank, and after the exchange of a few ed by the brigade. General Smith, who had arshots, the enemy moved forward and to the rived on the field a short time before, at once right of the railroad. General Grierson, with assumed command, and ordered the Fourth MisHepburn's brigade, had now closed up to the souri cavalry, which was on the left of and sup. column, and the whole encamped three iniles porting its battery, to dismount, and prevent the south from Okolona. At nine o'clock on the enemy's further advance. The order was scarcemorning of the twenty-second of February, the ly executed, when the enemy's skirmishers in entire force was placed on the narrow, hilly road the wood skirting the road, began to gain on leading to Pontotoc, Hepburn's brigade leading, those thrown forward by the brigade, rendering followed by the train, and Waring's and McCrel- the position of the battery, as well as of its dislis's brigades. In passing Okolona, the Seventh mounted support, dangerous. The General at Indiana cavalry, of Waring's brigade, was ordered once ordered the Fourth Missouri cavalry to by General Grierson to the support of the Fourth mount and charge the advancing force. Quickly United States cavalry, which was protecting the the three squadrons of that regiment were formright flank and confronting the enerny, who soon ed in double ranks and under fire, Colonel Waradvanced, and heavy skirmishing began with ing commanding, and leading the charge in perthese two regiments. This was kept up for sey- son. With tactical precision, the squadrons eral miles, when the Fourth United States and moved forward, with drawn sabres, at a trot. As Seventh Indiana cavalry were obliged to retreat, they moved down that slope and came under in some disorder, upon the Third brigade, which the closer fire from the wood and fence on the was at once broken, and retreated to the main left, and from the gully in front, the wounded column in great confusion, losing a battery of drifted after the advancing line. The squadrons, six howitzers. The First brigade was imme- : however, now galloping, and preserving their diately formed in line, through which came the front and alignment with the precision of troops on review, rushed forward in solid charge. The near Selma. Up to the morning when General enemy's skirmishers fell hastily back, although W. S. Smith's command was bivouacked near it was impossible to reach him either in front, West-Point Station. It had been both fortunate owing to the gully, or in the road, bounded as it and successful in the advance. The dreary barwas by a high worm-fence. At this charge, loud rens of North-Mississippi had been passed, the hurrahs came from the troops in line, and the marching had not been severe, the horses were skirmishers again advanced. The Fourth Mis- improving on the abundant forage found on the souri cavalry wheeled and retreated toward the rich plains bordering the Mobile and Ohio Railleft, to their original position near the battery. road, the men were in excellent spirits, and when The enemy vow brought a section of artillery into the enemy had been mét it was in very small action, and moved forward as before. Slowly force and he had been easily repulsed, with scarce and doggerily the skirmish-line of the brigade any loss to the United States troops. The dewas forced back, the enemy gaining tree after termination on the part of the General to retreat tree on the left, and nearing the battery, which was reached and acted upon without resort to was ordered to fall back; as it did so, the enemy the usual and proper means of finding the nummoved forward, but were met by two charges bers and disposition of the enemy. No scoutfrom a squadron of the Fourth Missouri cavalry, ing party or reconnoissance was thrown across and an impetuous rush from the Seventh Indi- the Octibbeha River; no attempt to divert his ana cavalry, which fell upon them, and, fighting attention at one point while the command was hand to hand with great bravery, stopped their crossed elsewhere; and no movement with a advance until the battery could be removed. In view to cover the main column. The whole force this movement the shaft of one of the gun-car- was placed for retreat on the one road on which riages broke, three of the four horses attached the advance had been made, and which was now to it were killed, and the gun was spiked and waste and desolate from the supplies legitimately abandoned; the rest of the battery was safely taken a few days before, and the criminal and withdrawn. The sun had now set; the firing wanton destruction of every species of property had become less heavy, and the brigade was or- which had been permitted, without punishment dered to retire, which it did in good order, pass- and almost without rebuke, from the General ing through the lines of part of the Third bri- (ominanding gade, having been in action over two hours, and The troops could ill understand the reason for having checked the enemy, who stopped the pur- a movement so disheartening, and which every suit for that night, and encamped on the battle-hour became less a retreat and more nearly a field.
rout, without any information or apparent cause The whole force marched forward during the for it. They imagined the pursuers to be in overnight, until it reached a large open space near whelming force, to be on both flanks as well as Pontotoc, where several hours were spent in ar- in advance. This feeling grew, and on the second ranging, as far as possible, the disorganized regi- day, when Okolona was passed, and its great ments. Hepburn's brigade was placed in the open plain, so well suited to the movements of rear and the march toward New-Albany con- cavalry, was left behind, the hope that here a tinued, skirmishing going on with a body of the stand would be made and a battle fought, (which enemy who continued the pursuit. On arriving had been the wish of all on the previous day,) at New-Albany, General Grierson ordered War- passed, and the undisciplined and more timid ing's brigade to hold the enemy in check and thought only of fight toward Memphis. From cover the crossing of the Tallahatchie River. the twenty-second February, excepting the halt This was successfully done. The Second and for the battle of Ivy Farm, the column was Third brigades then moved on the Holly Spring steadily hurried northward over the long reach road, and the First brigade, with the entire train of barren oak and pine hills which lay between and the negroes, marched on the Beck Spring Okolona and the Tennessee boundary. Sleep road. On the twenty-fourth February the entire was not allowed the men, and the horses was force had crossed the Tippah River. McCrellis's without rest or forage. The line of retreat be. and Hepburn's brigades marched to German came marked by great numbers of the lame and town, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, broken-down horses, and the sides of the road fourteen miles from Memphis, and Waring's bri- by long files of dismounted troopers, plodding gade crossed the Wolf River near Colliersville, wearily forward, and striving to keep pace with and moved slowly toward Memphis, where it ar- their mounted comrades. rived on twenty-seventh February, again cross- When at length the vicinity of Memphis was ing the Wolf River at Shelby's Ferry. The loss' reached, the seven thousand men who two weeks of the entire command in men killed, wounded, before had set out with brave hopes, were now and missing was about three hundred and fifty; worn down, one third dismounted, many without in horses, nearly three thousand.
arms, most with scanty clothing, and, saddest of By this retreat General Sherman was deprived all, the daring spirit, the morale of the command, of the large force of cavalry, without which his was impaired, and gloom and despondency in its expedition was unable to follow the army of place, which was not relieved when it became Lieutenant-General Polk, which was retreating known that at West-Point the enemy had but from Meridian, or to move eastward into Alabama three thousand men, and that his whole force, and destroy the arms, arsenals, and stores at or which was commanded by Major-General Forrest,
did not exceed six thousand, many of whom could not be much less than two million bushels, were State militiamen.
and was possibly much greater. Two thousand
bales of cotton were also devoted to the flames. ANOTHER ACCOUNT.
During this portion of the march negroes flocked
Carro, Feb. 29, 1864. to General Smith by hundreds and thousands, Some particulars of the late expedition of Gen-mounted on their masters' horses and mules, with eral William S. Smith, lately returned to Mem- briddles and saddles of the most primitive dephis, have already been published. General scription. They welcomed General Smith as Smith, in person, arrived here last evening. His their deliverer whenever he met them. “God official report to the military authorities will set bless ye! Has yer come at last? We've been forth the following facts :
lookin' for you for a long time, and had almost The expedition moved from Memphis on Thurs- done gone give it up!" was the cry of many. day, the eleventh instant, some seven thousand They bade farewell to their wives and children, strong, Brigadier-General William S. Smith in and marched in the van. command, the purpose being to clear the country Hearing that the enemy was concentrated in of straggling rebel forces, and, if possible, create heavy force at West-Point, the brigade of Abera diversion in favor of General Sherman, with deen was called over by a forced march to the whose rear it was thought the cavalry expedition line on the railroad, at a station fifteen miles might in due season communicate. It was stated north of West-Point, while the main force moved that the enemy were posted in force beyond the down upon West-Point. Two miles north of that Tallahatchie, and that they would determinedly place, Smith came upon a brigade of the enemy, resist the Federal advance. After two days' drawn up in line of battle, to receive him. This heavy marching, the expedition reached the Tal- was on Wednesday, the seventeenth instant, at lahatchie. A brigade of infantry, temporarily about three P.m. Our forces charged it in a'galattached to the expedition, under command of lant style, and after a sharp engagement of some Colonel McMillen, was sent forward and threat- fifteen minutes' duration, drove the enemy back ened Panola, and afterward to Wyatt, for a sim- through the town into the Suchatoncha Swamp, ilar purpose. The move was successful. The on the right. Skirmishing continued on the infantry attracted the attention and the forces of border of the swamp during the remainder of the the enemy to these points, when General Smith evening, until dark. Meanwhile the whole Fedswung his cavalry around and to New-Albany, eral force was being brought forward into posiwhence he crossed without firing a shot. He tion. Through his scouts, General Smith ascerthen pushed boldly forward to a point near the tained that the enemy was upon his front in Pontotoc, in the vicinity of Houston, where he powerful force, that he held every one of the encountered some State confederate troops, under crossings of the swamp on his right, and on the the command of Gholson, numbering near six line of the Octibbeha in the front. He was conthousand. They stampeded at his approach, fined on the left by the Tombigbee, which it was throwing away their arms as they ran. General impossible to cross. His force was heavily en. Smith pursued them hotly and until he reached cumbered with the pack-trains, horses, mules Houlka Swamp, where he found the enemy con- captured, to the number of full three throusand, centrated in heavy force, holding a corduroy and an equal number of negroes. These he felt road, the only one across the swamp. This could obliged to protect, and it took such a heavy not be turned either to the right or to the left, guard force, as to reduce the effective fighting so Smith's whole force was moved rapidly to the force nearly one half, leaving him powerless to eastward, while a heavy demonstration was made drive the enemy, so strong in numbers, before on the front, as though he intended to force a him, and who had taken up a strong position, passage over the road. The enemy were again that he could better defend with musketry and deceivel, and our forces fell back upon Okolona. riflemen, than Smith could attack with only light This was on Monday, the fifteenth instant. The carbines, his horses being useless on the marshy attack upon Okolona was so little expected that ground occupied. There was little time for speseveral confederate officers, at home on visit to culation. The position was imminent. General their families, were captured. Some of them Smith did the best he could under the circumwere finely mounted. The Ninth Illinois regi- stances. He made a strong demonstration upon ment of cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Burgh com- the rebel centre, and while sharp fighting was manding, was then sent out to Sheridan, to en-going on, drew all his incumbrances and the main deavor to secure a crossing of the Tombigbee. portion of his force rapidly back toward OkoloOn the next morning, Hepburn's brigade, com- na, covering his rear with a well-organized force, mander by General Grierson in person, was sent which fought the enemy from every line of conont to support the Ninth regiment, and at Aber- cealment that offered on their backward march. deen, with directions to threaten Columbus The enemy pursued in force, and made desperstrongly. With the remaining two brigades, Gen- ate attempts to overwhelm the rear-guard, but eral Smith swept down the railroad toward West- without success. They also failed in attacking Point, tearing up the railroad completely as he the main force in flank, which they several times advanced, and also burning all the corn he found. essayed, but were as often foiled. All their best There were vast quantities of this, cribbed and manoeuvres were thus handsomely checkmated, ready for transportation. The amount destroyed, and General Smith soon had the fighting all in