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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.m. on the twentieth of February, the position. This was done, the Second New-Jer. whole 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 ad. skirmished 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 moved 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 New rear 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 cay. Okolona, McCrellis's brigade leading, 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 llepburn's brigade, in which the Se- thickets which bounded the southern edge of Iry 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.m., a column of the enemy was seen mov- 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 supcolumn, 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, llepburn'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 enemy, who soon ed in double ranks and under fire, Colonel War. advanced, 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 advanciog 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 ereniny, 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 enSmith 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 deceivedl, 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, manded by General Grierson in person, was sent which fought the enemy from every line of conout 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 mancuvres were thus handsomely checkmated, ready for transportation. The amount destroyed and General Smith soon had the fighting all in
his own way, until he reached Okolona. At this Forrest, in this fight, or series of fights, had place, after the pursuing force had been three four brigades of cavalry and mounted infantry, times repulsed in a most brilliant manner by the reënforced by Gholson's State troops, six hunFourth United States regular infantry alone, a dred strong, and, it is said, a portion of Lee's whole brigade was sent to support the Fourth, command. His total force, when at West-Point, and was thrown into confusion by a stampede of was over five thousand. This did not include the Second Tennessee cavalry, Lieutenant-Col- the troops stretched along the Octibbeha, on the onel Cook, who had fifty men killed in all, and left and front, and the troops back of the Suchawas himself mortally wounded. In the precipi-toncha Swamp on the right. tate flight from the field of this force, a battery Forrest boasted that he had General Smith of small howitzers-six guns of Perkins's Ii- just where he wanted him, and that the people nois battery-were run off of the road into a had no need to fear that he would ever advance ditch, where the carriages were so badly smashed any further South. The latter part of his boast up that they were unable to get them off, and for the present only holds good. they fell into the enemy's hands. All the am- General Smith's expedition returned to Memmunition of the battery was destroyed, all the phis after just fourteen days' absence, having harness cut, carriages destroyed, guns spiked, made a march out and back of about three hunand horses saved.
dred and fifty miles, with the results above set It was with the greatest difficulty that this un-forth. called-for panic could be broken and order restored. Organized forces were thrown to the
REBEL REPORTS AND NARRATIVES, rear as quickly as possible, and the advance of
GENERAL S. D. LEE'S REPORT. the enemy handsomely checked. From crest to crest of the hills the fighting was resumed and
DEMOPOLIS, February 24. continued for over ten miles with the utmost de
HEADQUARTERS, STARKVILLE, Miss., February 22. termination on both sides. Having reached Ivy Lieutenant-General Polk: Farm, a splendid place, it was immediately taken Major-General Forrest reports, at nine A.m., possession of, and a large force deployed, a bat- yesterday evening, two miles south of Pontotoc, tery placed in position, and the whole field clear- we have had severe fighting all day with the ed for action. The enemy advanced into the enemy. The engagement closed about dark. open field, and the whole strength of our artil. We have killed about forty of the enemy and lery was opened upon them at short-range with captured about one hundred prisoners. Our loss killing effect, supported by a full line of carbines is not known, but is not so heavy as that of the firing upon the dismounted troops. When their enemy. The prisoners captured report that two line was shaken, a gallant charge was made upon of their colonels and one lieutenant-colonel was their centre and on the right, by mounted men killed this evening. Colonel Forrest was killed This manoeuvre was performed in handsome this evening. Colonel Barksdale was badly style, the enemy were swept backward at every wounded in the breast. Colonel McCollock was point, and so completely scared, that they made wounded in the head. We have captured four no further attack, in force, upon Smith's men, or five pieces of artillery. General Gholson came though they followed up at a respectful distance, up this evening, and will follow after them, and until he crossed the Tallahatchie.
drive them as far as possible. The fight comGeneral Smith succeeded in bringing off all menced near Okolona late this evening, and was his captured stock, pack-trains, negroes, and obstinate, as the enemy were forced to make reother spoils, having performed a march of over peated stands to hold us in check, and to save sixty miles without rest. Our loss is reported their pack-mules, etc., from a stampede. The as having been light, the heaviest being in the fight closed with a grand cavalry charge of the Fourth Regulars, which lost thirty-five. There enemy's whole force. We repulsed them with were quite a number of our men captured while heavy loss, and completely routed them. straggling, catching chickens, and performing LEONIDAS Polk,
S. D. LEE. acts not legitimately in the line of their duty.
Lieutenant-General. In summing up, General Smith speaks in the highest terms of the conduct of General Grier
ATLANTA CONFEDERACY ACCOUNT. son. Where danger was most imiminent, there
DEMOPOLIS, February 22, 1864. was Grierson. The fighting of the whole Second | News from the front grows stale. The enemy brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hepburn, of having prospected as far south as De Soto, on the Second Iowa cavalry, was excellent. Theirs, the Mobile road, seem to be hesitating as to their with that of the Fourth regulars, under Captain future movements. It seems the Yankees are Bowman, was beyond all praise. The Second by no means sanguine of their future success, brigade is composed of the Second lowa, the and many report that the subordinate officers Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Illinois cavalry. Gen- and men are extremely nervous and appreheneral Smith mentions with gratitude the bravery sive, and swear that Sherman is crazy and of the Seventy-second Indiana, (mounted infan-doomed to destruction. try,) Filth Kentucky cavalry, and Fourth Mis- There is no doubt but that Sherman expected souri cavalry, all of which commands behaved material aid and full coöperation from a column themselves nobly on all occasions.
that was to come down through North-Mississippi. So entirely was this support relied upon, this war. We have conversed with gentlemen that the Federal commander has openly boasted recently from that section, whose accounts all that "General Smith would be in Columbus by concur in the main facts of that almost marvel. the fifteenth." It is confidently believed here, lous exploit. The enemy's reports fully confirm that the Federal force now moving in that direc-' these accounts, but they do not state the exact tion will fall in with some obstacles little dreamed 'force by which these results were accomplished. of in their philosophy, which will very seriously Owing to the exhanstion of his horses, the want interfere with their arrangements.
of arms and munitions and other causes, Forrest General Forrest, who is already confronting could array a force of only two thousand four them, has been amply reënforced, and strong hopes hundred men to confront Srnith and Grierson's are entertained that very few will reach General column of seven thousand of the best equipped Sherman, and those will hardly improve his al-cavalry the Yankees have ever put in the field. ready partially demoralized army. This Northern Forrest's men, too, were mostly new and untried, Mississippi raid, it seems, consists of from seven especially in the cavalry service. He had recentto ten thousand men, cavalry and infantry com- ly recruited them them in West-Tennessee. It bined, with six pieces of artillery. This raid is seemed the extreme of rashness and recklessness abundantly provided for. Our cavalry have been to attempt with such a force to arrest the march doing splendid work. I have heard Wirt Adams's of a column of seven thousand splendidly mountold regiment more particularly mentioned. I had ed and equipped men, led by experienced officers, begun to fear the “forty wagons" affair was a whose march thus far had been uninterrupted, “reliable contraband" story, but to-day I learned who were buoyant and confident, and were the particulars from a participant in the affair. charged with such an important mission. The
Two squadrons from Wirt Adams's old regi- junction of this cavalry force with Sherman at ment, led by Colonel Wood, (now commanding Meridian was the key of the whole scheme of the that gallant corps,) and supported by a small Yankee plan for the occupation and subjugation force of dismounted men under Colonel Dumon- of the South-West. If successful, Sherman would tielle, charged across a small field, along the op- have been in a condition to advance upon Demoposite side of which the enemy's wagon train polis and Selma, or Mobile; and these important was passing, heavily guarded by a line of infan- points, as well as the rich countries adjacent, try on either side.
would have been at the mercy of the enemy. The charge was so sudden, so wild, so gallant, They could have been driven back only at the that the wretches felt their doom was sealed and enormous risk of weakening Johnston's army, so fied in wild confusion. On dashed the avenging as to open Northern Georgia and Rome and At"rebels," and while the mules and drivers strug- ! lanta to Grant's army. General Polk, with his gled in confusion and dismay, they shot drivers scant infantry force, quickly perceived the mo. and mules as they swept like whirlwind down the mentous issue which depended upon the result line of struggling, crushed, and disorderly Yan- of the cavalry movement from Memphis, and kees, and poured a perfect shower of balls into after securing his small army on the east side of them, and then, coming to a heavy line of infan- the Tombigbee, and removing all his supplies try drawn up to receive them, they wheeled off and munitions, and returning to Mobile the and dashed again out of sight and reach. We troops he had borrowed from General Maury, lost six men and some few horses in the affair; sent imperative orders to Lee and Forrest to and among them a very gallant fellow, Sergeant unite their forces, and at every cost to crush and Gibson, who was wounded, and afterward killed drive back Smith and Grierson's cavalry. in cold blood by the cowardly wretches who had Lee did not receive these orders in time to fied on the first sight of our men.
reach Forrest with his force, wbich was already It is of course not prudent to mention what is greatly exhausted by the continual skirmishing now transpiring hereabouts, but all weak-kneed with Sherman's column. Forrest was therefore people had as well take heart, and not cry left alone with his two thousand four hundred in Wolf!" too soon.
men to perform this immense undertaking. ConThere is no little probability that the adven- fronting the enemy on the broad prairies near turous Yankees will pay dearly for their grand West-Point, on the Tibbee River, he prepared raid. All apprehensions of an attack on Mobile for action. The enemy formed in a long and or Selma are now dissipated. It turns out that most imposing live, outflanking Forrest, and there is no considerable force at Pascagoula, or threatening the instant demolition of his small in that vicinity, and if General Polk had only and imperfectly organized force. The charge been reënforced at the critical point, at Meridian, was given, and the Yankees advanced with great for instance, the whole Yankee force would have l boldness and an air of certain victory. Great been incontinently “gobbled up.”
| was their surprise when, as they approached
Forrest's line, they observed his men slip from RICHMOND DESPATCH ACCOUNT.
their horses, and converting themselves into inRICHMOND, VA., March 9, 1864. fantry, each man taking the most favorable posiThe recent victory of General Forrest in North- tion, availing themselves of every advantage the ern Mississippi, by which the grand plan of the ground afforded, and awaiting with the utmost Yankees in the West was so effectually defeated, coolness the impetuous charge of the Yankee was one of the most remarkable achievements of chivalry. On came the splendidly mounted dra