Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/686

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197
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

A. T. Johnson's brigade of Roddey's Alabama cavalry. As soon as Forrest at Booneville was definitely advised that the enemy was advancing, not toward Corinth but on the Guntown road from Ripley, he hastened to seize Brice's cross-roads and concentrate his forces immediately in the enemy's front.

A small detachment reached the cross-roads and skirmished with the Federal advance until Lyon's brigade could come up. Bell's brigade and the artillery were hastened forward as rapidly as possible, while Lyon made hasty fortifications of logs and rails to hold his position. Lyon and Rucker fought mostly dismounted, holding back the Federal cavalry under Grierson, who with artillery and fighting as infantry endeavored to push back the Confederate lines. The Federal infantry did not come up until about two o'clock in the afternoon; but before that Forrest had brought up Bell's brigade and his artillery and was getting Grierson in condition to retire. At one o'clock Forrest ordered an assault, taking Bell's brigade and his escort to the Guntown and Ripley road to form the left of his line. Owing to the density of the undergrowth Bell was compelled to advance within thirty yards of the enemy before charging. "In a few seconds," Forrest reported, "the engagement became general, and on the left raged with great fury." The enemy having three lines of battle, the left was being heavily pressed. "I sent a staff officer to General Buford to move Lyon's and Johnson's brigades forward and press the enemy on the right. Newsom's regiment was suffering severely and had given way. Colonel Duff and my escort, dismounted, were ordered to charge the enemy's position in front of Newsom's regiment, and succeeded in driving the enemy to his second line, enabling the regiment to rally, re-form and move forward to a less exposed position. Fearing my order to General Buford had miscarried I moved forward rapidly along the lines, encouraging my men, until I reached Buford on the Blackland