Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/291

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290 Southern Historical Society Papers.

line, across the Burnsville road. I had, at dark, withdrawn my division, except the cavalry under General Wirt Adams, and the skirmish line under Colonel William P. Rogers; and now we lay in the town, with purpose to take part in the attack on Rosecrantz in the morning.

Rosecrantz' s force on the Jacinto road was estimated at over 17,000 men. Our army lay between Grant and Rosecrantz, and if the battle were renewed in the morning, placed as we were, our total destruction seemed inevitable. About two hours after midnight, accompanied by General Armstrong, who commanded our cavalry forces, and who was one of the cleverest of our cavalry commanders, and by Colonel Thomas Snead, General Price's clever Chief of-Staff, I went to the old General's quarters, aroused him from a sound sleep, laid before him the information I had received, and urged upon him the necessity for our carrying out, without delay, the decision we had formed at 10 A. M. that morning, to return to our base on the Mobile and Ohio railroad. The old man was hard to move. He had taken an active personal part in the battle that evening; his Missourians had behaved beautifully under his own direction, the enemy had been so freely driven back, that he could think of nothing but the complete victory he would gain over Rosecrantz in the morning. He seemed to take no account of Grant at all. His only reply to our facts and our arguments, as he sat on the side of his bed in appropriate sleeping costume, was: " We'll wade through him, sir, in the morning; General, you ought to have seen how my boys fought this evening; we drove them a mile, sir." "But," said I, " Grant has come up since then, and since dark you have drawn me from before him; my brigades are lying in the streets, with their backs to Grant, and the whole wagon train is mixed up with us, so that we can't get into position promptly in the morning. Assure as we resume battle, placed as we are, we shall be beaten, and we shall lose every wagon. You can't procure another wagon train like this, not if you were to drain the State of Mississippi of all its teams. We have won the fight this evening. We decided on going back anyhow in the morning to Baldwin, and I don't see that anything that has happened since we published that decision should detain us here any longer." Armstrong and Snead both sustained my views. I think Governor Polk, of Missouri, was occupying the same cham- ber and was present during our interview. After decided opposition General Price admitted the prudence of our executing our return to the railroad, instead of assuming the aggressive in the morning.