The Mississippi in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Kings Creek
In Response To: Re: Kings Creek ()


JUNE 13-22, 1863.--Operations in Northeastern Mississippi, including skirmishes (19th) at New Albany and (20th) at Mud Creek.

No. 6.--Report of Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles, C. S. Army.

Headquarters in the Field, Okolona, Miss., June 25, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to state, for the information of the general commanding the department, that on the 4th instant I received official notice that Governor [John J.] Pettus had ordered Col. J. F. Smith's regiment and Maj. T. W. Ham's battalion Mississippi State troops to be turned over to the Confederate authorities, and an inspector was immediately ordered to inspect them preparatory to their reception. Only 35 men of Ham's battalion could be assembled, and Smith's entire regiment, which had been stationed near New Albany, disbanded on the 9th or 10th before any inspection could be made.

To cover the country and reassure the people, on the 13th instant I marched a portion of my troops, with two sections of J. A. Owens' light battery and four prairie pieces, to the locality previously occupied by Smith's State troops. Arriving at Pontotoc myself after dark of that day, I very soon had information that the enemy, with a force variously estimated at from 500 to 1,500 men, with artillery, had advanced to New Albany, 19 miles distant, and burned all the business houses, church, and some private dwellings late in the evening of the same day. At midnight I left for New Albany, reaching the place about 9 o'clock the next morning with the force brought from near Okolona, except Owens' artillery, which had not come up. Ascertaining that the enemy numbered only some 500 men, with two guns, I sent Col. William Boyles, with 400 men, and Col. W. C. Falkner (of General J. R. Chalmers' command, who had for some time been near, and who joined me at New Albany), with some 200 men, in pursuit, accompanied by Col. John M. Sandidge (one of my staff officers), with instructions to press the enemy and attack him wherever found. The enemy having retreated in the direction of Ripley, the troops of Colonels Boyles and Falkner pursued by different routes to that place, as instructed, with the hope of overtaking him there.

Arriving at 2 p.m. the 14th, Col. William Boyles found the enemy had left at 9 a.m., going in the direction of Pocahontas. Colonel Boyles immediately continued the pursuit, leaving a message for Colonel Falkner (who had not arrived) to join him at a feeding place 12 miles out, intending, if he could not overtake the enemy during the night, to attack him at Pocahontas at daylight the next morning. At 11 o'clock in the night, being informed that Colonel Falkner could not for some reason proceed beyond Ripley, and that the enemy was already at Pocahontas, Colonel Boyles reluctantly, and with the concurrence of my staff officer, abandoned the pursuit and purpose of attacking Pocahontas, returning to New Albany the next day.

It is believed that with the co-operation o£ Colonel Falkner the expedition would have resulted most successfully.

Remaining at and near New Albany until the 17th, Capt. Thomas Puryear, of Colonel [C. R.] Barteau's Second Tennessee Regiment, with a detachment of 125 selected men, accompanied by the staff officer already mentioned, was instructed to penetrate the enemy's lines, if practicable, near Chewalla, and, passing north of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, break up the enemy's communications on all the railroads in that section. As the success of this expedition depended very greatly, if not entirely, upon its passing some distance beyond the enemy's lines without being observed during the night of the 17th, it was found that, after a march of 42 miles during the day, there was still 20 miles to be passed over before reaching Chewalla. Heavy rains late in the evening and at night, with total darkness, made it impossible to accomplish the desired object, and the troops were halted about midnight, and the next morning (the 18th) turned eastwardly to scour the country in front of the enemy's lines, so as to unite with the main body of my forces, which had been marched the day before from New Albany in the direction of Guntown, to watch and harass the threatened raid on Atlanta, if made.

After a short march, Captain Puryear got into the rear of a party of the enemy's cavalry moving from the east westwardly, in the direction of Ripley, and I was informed that Captain Puryear, having failed in his first object, would follow after the enemy, then three hours in advance. At 2 p.m., when within 4 miles of Ripley, Captain Puryear ascertained that the enemy he had been pursuing had united with a much larger force at Ripley, who came out from Chewalla and Pocahontas with artillery.
Maneuvering upon two or three roads near Ripley in such manner as to induce the enemy to believe a large force was approaching against him, he retreated from the place, and Captain Puryear's command encamped for the night 6 miles distant, on the road leading to New Albany. Ascertaining, as is supposed, the real strength of our weak force which had deluded him, the enemy moved forward the next morning (the 19th), and at 2 p.m. a lively skirmish commenced at New Albany, Captain Puryear's rear guard, in command of Lieut. A. H. French, with 20 men, holding them in check for three hours, killing and wounding several, as was subsequently ascertained.
The conspicuous gallantry of this lieutenant, as well on that as the succeeding day, when he was wounded, entitles him to special commendation.

Sergt. J. D. Carr, of Company D, and Private W. W. Thurmond, Company G, Second Tennessee Regiment, also deserve special praise for gallant conduct at New Albany.

On reception of the information communicated the morning of the 18th by my staff officer with Captain Puryear, that they were in pursuit of an enemy moving toward Ripley, I retraced my steps from near Guntown, sending the Second Alabama Regiment, under Captain [R. G.] Earle, to New Albany, and with the remainder of my troops and guns took the road to Plenitude, to be in position to meet the enemy and cover Pontotoc, should he advance in force. Near Plenitude Captain Puryear's detachment rejoined the command, and ascertaining that the enemy, leaving New Albany at 6 p.m., were encamped on the Pontotoc road, 5 miles from the latter and 3 miles from the former place, my troops were moved to the right during the night to be in communication with the Second Alabama, and in the enemy's rear, purposing to strike him at daylight. The enemy, it seems, ascertaining in some way the proximity of a larger force than he expected to encounter, left his camp during the night (not withdrawing his pickets), taking the direction of Rocky Ford, on the Tallahatchee River. He was overtaken by the advance of my troops, under Col. C. R. Barteau and Capt. R. G. Earle (who marched all night), and attacked in the canebrake swamp of the Ultchehubby-pathan before reaching the Tallahatchee. Arriving on the field with the main body, and after a conflict of three hours, the enemy was entirely routed and driven from an exceedingly strong position in dense swamps and behind almost impassable creeks.Nearly 50 of his killed have been found in these thickets; a few are prisoners; the remainder fled in confusion, barely saving their artillery, losing caissons and nearly all of his baggage and ammunition train. The pursuit was continued to the Tallahatchee, at Rocky Ford.
Colonel [Jesse J.] Phillips, in command of the enemy's troops, had with him the Ninth Illinois, Tenth and Eleventh Missouri, and Fifth Ohio Regiments, with two companies Tories (mounted infantry and cavalry, numbering over 1,000 men), one Parrott gun, and one 12-pounder howitzer, and had moved out to cooperate with other forces of the enemy near the Central Railroad.

I was much gratified with the conduct of officers and men, who engaged the enemy with vigor and determination, and, after final dispositions were made, gave evidence of their ability to drive greater numbers than were then opposed to them from the field.

Col. C. R. Barteau's Second Tennessee, Col. William Boyles' First Alabama, and Capt. R. G. Earle's Second Alabama Regiments of cavalry vied with each other in pressing the enemy home, while Capt. J. A. Owens' light battery and First Lieut. H. C. Holt's Williams' guns swept the canebrakes and jungles with marked effect.

But for the difficulty in obtaining guides in the dense thicket extending some miles, a flank movement would have been made to the right by which the enemy's rear might have been gained, resulting, unquestionably, in the destruction or capture of his entire force.

We have to regret the loss of 2 killed and 17 wounded in this day's conflict.

My thanks are especially due to Maj. F. P. Beck, chief quartermaster; Capt. L. D. Sandidge, district inspector and acting assistant adjutant-general; Maj. Beverly Matthews, inspector of cavalry; Col. John M. Sandidge, volunteer aide-de-camp; Second Lieut. A.B. De Saulles, engineer, C. S. Army, and First Lieut. M. B. Ruggles, aide-de-camp, for services most promptly rendered on the field of battle.

Your dispatch of the 19th, from Canton, notifying me that 3,000 of the enemy's mounted troops were moving against General Chalmers, was received on the battleground at 1.30 p.m. the 20th, and I immediately sent off scouts to report the actual position, &c., of the enemy, with the view of assisting in his expulsion, but the defeat of one of their columns by the troops of General J. R. Chalmers, and the retreat of the other, as was subsequently ascertained, made it inexpedient to march my troops westwardly from their base line of operations.

Before leaving the neighborhood of Guntown on the 18th, Maj. W. M. Inge was ordered from Tupelo, with 125 select men, to be joined by Capt. J. G. Warren, who had been sent with an equal number to scout along the enemy's line eastwardly from Camp Davis, with instructions to repel a small raid of the enemy reported moving toward Fulton, which was done by him after some slight skirmishing, capturing 2 wagons, an ambulance, and 8 horses, the enemy destroying another wagon, in which were forty or fifty long-range guns and 3,000 rounds of ammunition taken out by them to arm some Tories.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Brigadier-General, Commanding District.

Col. B. S. EWELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Jackson, Miss


OKOLONA, May 5, 1863.

Lieutenant-General PEMBERTON:

Ordered Burner, with detachment Third Kentucky, to Jackson. Major Boyles' Alabama cavalry cannot be spared. Country cannot be defended and supplies obtained without increased force. My cavalry near Verona. General Chalmers not here. Your dispatch forwarded.

OR V24 Pt. 3, p. 837

Messages In This Thread

Kings Creek
Re: Kings Creek
Re: Kings Creek
Re: Kings Creek
Re: Kings Creek
Re: Kings Creek