order, not an officer or soldier being out of his place. The greatest
difficulty was found in recrossing the bayou or swamp in our rear, and in it
were caught most of the artillery and train of the army. Arriving at
Stubbs" plantation, on our camping ground of the night previous, we rested
from about 11 P.M. to 2 A.M., when we again moved toward Ripley, holding the
rear. After daylight, two squadrons were sent by me a mile to the rear, and a
line formed by battalion to support them, when the few infantry who had not
already passed us were brought up and sent forward. But after this the enemy
began to assail us with great determination, and it was only by the greatest
energy and courage that my squadrons, Companies L, M and A, united under Captain
Brown, and Company B, under Captain DeRuff, were able to hold the bridge leading
to Ripley. They did so, however, until relieved by the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, who
now took the rear .... My regiment now accompant General Grierson to Ripley by
his own personal orders. Arriving a Ripley.... I was notified that the enemy was
about to attack on the left, and to prepare for him I formed in a column of
squadrons, faced to the rear immediately, and at the same time was ordered to
support the Fourth Iowa Cavalry then in action
..... My advance in line was under sever fire, and over fields broken by high
fences and deep ditches ..... The enemy was checked, and the
position held until, his object obtained, General Greirson ordered me to retire.
To retire at this point was a matter of no little difficulty, for the enemy,
having no resistance elsewhere, were flanking as well as pressing from the rear.
Their fire was redoubled as we moved
again upon the road. In this stand we lost Lieutenant Miller, of Company D, who fell wounded,bravely fighting and facing the foe; also Corporal Gilchrist, Company C, was killed, and others wounded.... I have the satisfaction of knowing that the enemy did not escape without punishment; his flag was seen to fall three times under our fire, and many of his men were killed and wounded. To hold the rear of a rapidly retreating column against a superior and assailing enemy now became the task of my regiment, and resulted in considerable loss to us. Companies I and K were thrown to the rear, under the command of Major Jones. A column of the enemy, advancing through the surrounding thickets, came upon them while they were gallantly holding another regiment at bay, and charging them suddenly, after much resistance, by overpowering numbers captured most of those who are reported in the accompanying tables ..... Platoon after platoon was thrown out right and left along our road, and, facing to the rear, presented front to the rebels.
... This method of defense was continued throughout the morning and afternoon. A cavalry force of our men and an infantry command now gave my regiment temporary relief. But the enemy still pressing, the cavalry failed to hold their place and a portion of the infantry was thrown into confusion and captured.... I immediately formed another battalion line, supporting it with squadrons placed at advantageous points, the infantry left passed through my line, and I was once more contending with the advance of the enemy. The duty was severe, and, in view of what had already been performed, somewhat unexpected; but, as it had been assigned to help others, it was persevered in without complaint as long as strength was left to resist. I was finally relieved by the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, and they by the Second New Jersey. After this my command was not again under fire. The rest of the day the column advanced without food or rest, except a short halt at evening, when, the enemy approaching, the column was again put in motion, and the march
continued through the night and next morning to LaFayette....
Colonel Noble concludes his report by a description of the remainder of the march to Memphis. This was the most unfortunate expedition in which the regiment participated during its long term of service. That it maintained its well won reputation as a fighting organization and demonstrated most completely