Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/689

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

this little force was not equal to the task of breaking the Federal lines. Among the Confederates wounded was General Gholson. The total loss of the Federals was 220.

About the time that Sherman and Johnston were maneuvering on the Chattahoochee, Grant was attacking Lee at Petersburg, and Early was making his dash at the United States capital, Gen. A. J. Smith's expedition set out from La Grange to enter "Forrest's country," as northern Mississippi had come to be called in the Federal camps. Smith had with him two infantry divisions: Grierson's cavalry division, and a brigade of negro troops, in all about 14,000 men. He advanced without much opposition in two columns, ravaging the country as he moved, until Pontotoc was closely approached, when his advance was checked by General Chalmers, Forrest meanwhile making preparations for a battle near Okolona. Gen. S. D. Lee was also with the forces, and assumed general command. Three attempts of the enemy to advance were checked by Lyon, McCulloch and Duff, on various roads, and on July 12th the Federal column turned off toward Tupelo. General Lee then moved with the divisions of Chalmers and Buford to attack the enemy's flank, while Forrest with Mabry's Mississippi brigade, the escort and his old regiment, assailed the rear. A running fight was kept up for ten miles, but without any considerable advantage to either side except a brilliant dash made upon the Federal wagon train by General Chalmers with Rucker's brigade, near Bartram's shop. He had possession of the train for a time, and killed the mules, so that the enemy was compelled to abandon and bum seven wagons, a caisson and two ambulances, but superior numbers soon compelled him to retire. On the morning of the 14th the enemy had taken a strong position at Harrisburg and intrenched. But General Lee formed his little army in line of battle, Roddey's Alabamians on the right, Mabry's Mississippians on the left, and the Kentuckians under General Crossland in the center.