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light artillery and light infantry, so far as arms and munitions of war were concerned. In a brief space of time most of the army had come up. But everything was out of joint and in a sad plight. Some men had hats on, and some ha in't. Some rode horses and mules with saddles and bridles, and some didn't. A great many, having exhausted their ammunition the day before, had thrown away their arms and accoutrements, as useless encumbrances in their flight.
The wagon train had all been lost. A caisson having stuck fast, the road was completely obstructed, and all the wagons and ambulances, with commissary stores, ammunition, hospital and medical supplies, and officers' baggage, were necessarily abandoned. The officer in charge of the ambulance train, and the surgeons who were along, exhausted every means in fruitless efforts to bring it forward, but after two hours of toil were compelled to leave it. There in the wilderness, in the darkness and gloom of midnight, our wounded companions were taken out and gently laid upon the bosom of mother earth -the precious trust left to the tender mercies of the pursuing foe! In anticipation of such an event, I had, just before night, addressed a respectful note to the surgeons of the Confederate army, requesting their kind offices in behalf of such of our wounded men as we could not remove, and I have already learned with much satisfaction that these men have received the kindest treatment.
bulance, dressings, medicines, nor instruments. I had "turned over" all my supplies to the "rebs ;" and believing in the philosophy that teaches that "self-preservation is the first law of our nature," I resolved to put it into practice. and so John and I mounted our horses, agreeing we would not stop until we reached Memphis, notwithstanding the distance was seventy-five miles, and our horses had not been fed for twenty-four hours. As we passed rapidly by many a weary footman, and some who were more poorly mounted than we, but one idea seemed to engross their mind-and that was, that salvation depended wholly on works, wholly on getting within our lines before the "rebs" caught them; and I confess I shared largely in this feeling myself, as my poor horse would tes tify, could he speak.
As "birds of a feather flock together," and as "misery loves company," so the stragglers who had managed to mount themselves, from all regiments, and of all complexions, began to consolidate their forces, until we numbered about one hundred and fifty, without counting mules. As good fortune would have it, we were soon overtaken by about an equal number of cavalry, who had been cut off from their main body. They had but two or three rounds of ammunition, and we had neither arms nor ammunition-but it was proposed by us, and accepted by them, that for purposes of mutual protection, we keep together. I was appointed to the command of the "regiment of mounted men without arms," with an imperative order to keep my men from straggling. And so we rode on and on, weary and sleepy, and hungry. One of my darkies fell asleep ou his mule, and then he fell on to his head in the middle of the road. This awoke him, when he
all the night before, and were now entering upon another, and finding it a delusive hope to reach Memphis without stopping, it was concluded to halt for a few hours during the night, and rest ourselves and animals; and on arriving at a place three miles west of LaGrange, at one o'clock at night, having travelled over all the by-roads and cow-paths in the country, we" went into camp." This consisted in lying down without your supper, upon a blanket if you had one, and upon the ground if you hadn't.
We had not long been at Ripley before the pursuing column was upon us. Our cavalry, with a short supply of ammunition, quickly formed in line of battle, while several shattered regiments, without ammunition, hastened to their support. After a vigorous show of re-mounted again and came on. We had travelled sistance, maintained for some time, our dispirited troops slowly fell back. Quite a number of men, with only flesh wounds, had managed, by the aid of horses and mules picked up on the road, to keep along with their friends to this place. But here it became necessary to leave the graver cases, and, acting under an order from the division commander, I detailed two assistant surgeons to remain in charge of them. The citizens to whose houses they were taken gave every assurance that our wounded, whether white or black, should be well cared for-and I have good reasons for believing this promise has been fulfilled. It was here I joined for a brief period my own regiment, from which I had necessarily been separated for a time. I had seen it as it moved unflinchingly into the hottest of the fight, but had heard little of its casualties. I knew not who of my friends and companions had fallen, and great was my joy to meet my Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel, Adjutant, Captain, and Lieutenant, not one missing, though some of them wounded. I need hardly say it was to me an affecting meeting.
My duties to others, which hitherto had called me everywhere, appeared now to be wholly at au end. I had now at my command neither am
At dawn of day, having been perfectly refreshed by a hard shower, we started off on our march, without " surgeon's call," and without breakfast. At Moscow, we crossed Wolf river where it divides into two branches, making an island. The branch nearest us was bridged; we passed over it to the island and pulled it up after us—the bridge, not the branch-in order that we might bridge the other. This was a better philosophy than the Irishman's, whose blanket being too short at the bottom, lengthened it with a piece cut from the top. It was now nine o'clock A. M., and we still had twenty-four miles to make before reaching our lines at Collierville. But we were encouraged. We felt sure we had outstripped every body else in this race for dear
life and liberty, and if any were saved we should difficulty you constantly encountered in obtainbe of the number. I had very little doubt my-ing information concerning roads and the crossself but I should "live to fight another day," if not "to run away."
About the middle of the afternoon we came in sight of our picket lines, and truly glad were we. It had, however, all along been a troublesome question to me as to the reason I should assign for having left the wounded behind, and, in fact, everybody else. The truth is, my friend, I couldn't repress the feeling that I had acted very cowardly, and I almost wished myself back again, even at the price of my liberty. But on arriving at the station at Collierville, what was my astonishment and relief to see hundreds of infantry and thousands of cavalry, who had arrived before us; and to settle all questions of cowardice, here were two Brigadiers, a score of Colonels and Lieutenant-Colonels, including my own, and other commissioned officers without number, all of whom had eclipsed us in this extraordinary race.
You know, Chaplain, I keep a fast horse, and am a pretty fast man, but I am compelled to admit that both horse and rider were distanced I am, dear sir,
Very truly yours,
COLONEL MCMILLEN'S LETTER. HEADQUARTERS, FIRST BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, SIXTEENTH
ARMY CORPS, Moscow, TENN., June 24, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the twenty-second instant, requesting me to give you a statement in writing, setting forth my views of the causes of our defeat at Brice's cross-roads, my knowledge of your general management of the campaign, and whether or not, in my opinion, you were to blame for the failure of the expedition, and if so, to what extent.
I respectfully submit the following ment:
First-As to the causes of the defeat. In my opinion, they are to be sought in the nature of the campaign you were charged with conducting. The expedition consisted of five thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry, with a train of more than two hundred wagons, making some four thousand six hundred animals to be subsisted. Rations for the same were transported in the wagons; but, after leaving Lafayette, you were entirely dependent on the country for forage. The line of march was through a country devastated by the war, and containing little or no forage, rendering it extremely difficult, and for the greater portion of the time impossible, to maintain the animals in a serviceable condition. The roads were narrow, leading through dense forests, and over streams rendered almost impassable by the heavy rains which fell daily, from the time we left Memphis until our return. The country was new to you, and I know the
ing of streams. Almost every man and woman along the line of march is an enemy, eager to communicate information of our force and movements, but professing entire ignorance as to the position or number of the enemy. Laboring under all these disadvantages, you moved against an enemy who possessed long lines of railroad with which to concentrate troops and supplies at any point you might threaten. It only had to await your arrival near the railroad, and, with a superior force, overpower your army, and drive it back with a heavy loss in men and material. Either you were obliged to abandon the object of the expedition before reaching the immediate presence of the enemy, or overpower him with that portion of your army which could be spared from guarding the long line of wagons. The latter you attempted, but failed in, from the simple fact that the enemy developed a heavier force than you could bring into action.
The engagement itself was, as far as I know, managed as well as circumstances would permit ; was fought with spirit, even desperation, and and with no loss of consequence in material or men (except the killed and wounded).
You were, however, defeated and obliged to retreat over an impassable road, during a dark night and with exhausted animals and men. Under these circumstances, trains and artillery were abandoned in order to save a heavier loss in
Second-As to your management of the campaign. I have never known greater efforts to be made by any commanding officer to conduct a column of troops in an orderly and compact manner, than were made by you. I know that you were extremely anxious that the troops should be kept well in hand, ready for any emergency, and that every precaution was taken to prevent surprise. I also know that every means was taken by you to obtain information as to the movements of the enemy and its strength, and that your efforts in this line were extremely unsatisfactory. On the day of the battle, the column was as well closed up as the nature of the road over which we were moving would permit, and the troops were put into position as fast as they could come up.
Before closing, General, I desire to bear testimony to the important fact, that, when we reached Ripley, your judgment and the judg ment of officers high in command, would have turned you back, had it not been that your orders to proceed were positive, and for the reason that only a short time before you had conducted another expedition to near the same point, and had returned because you considered further progress extremely hazardous, if not impracticable. In the face of this decision, you were sent through the same country, encumbered with a heavy train, without, so far as I know, discretionary powers, and you went on to meet the disaster your better judgment told you was