O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVII/1 [S# 24]
DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863.
Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee.

No. 14.--Report of Col. Cyrus L. Dunham, Fiftieth Indiana Infantry,
of skirmish at Huntingdon, December 30, and engagement at
Parker's Cross-Roads.

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,
Parker's Cross-Roads, near Lexington, Tenn., Dec. 31, 1862.

SIR: In pursuance of your written order of yesterday, the 30th instant, I on that
day at about 2 p.m. left Huntingdon in pursuit of the enemy's forces under General
Forrest, toward Lexington, with the brigade under my command, except the
Seventh Tennessee, which was by your orders left to guard the bridge north of
Huntingdon. My command consisted of parts of two companies (A and E) of the
Eighteenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, mounted, under Captain Davis, 65 men; the
Fiftieth Indiana Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Wells commanding, 525 ; the One
hundred and twenty-second Illinois, Colonel Rinaker, 529; the Thirty-ninth Iowa,
Colonel Cummings, 405, and three pieces of the Seventh Wisconsin Battery, 30
men, under Lieutenant Wheelock--in all, 1,554, rank and file. Notwithstanding all
were weary and worn with toilsome marches and arduous duties already performed
our little force pushed vigorously forward and reached Clarksburg, 12 miles distant,
shortly after dark. As the advance guards (the mounted infantry under Captain Davis)
approached the town they were met and resisted by a company of the enemy. They
promptly dismounted, engaged and repulsed him, killing 3, who were left dead on the
ground. Our column immediately moved forward into and occupied the town without
further resistance. Here we bivouacked for the night.
I ascertained from scouts whom
I sent out that General Forrest with a large force, said to be his whole command, were
bivouacked at Union Church, 4 miles west of Clarksburg, on the road leading from
McLemoresville into the Huntingdon and Lexington road at Parker's Cross. Roads,
5 miles south of Clarksburg. One of his foraging parties represented his forces at
8,000 strong, with twelve pieces of artillery. I immediately (2 a.m.) sent a courier to
you with a dispatch saying, in substance, that he was at the point above designated
in considerable force and that I should try to coax or force a fight out of him in the
morning. My information induced me to believe that he was endeavoring to escape
by way of Lexington, and hence would enter the road to that place at the cross-roads
aforesaid, and I determined to there intercept him. Our little force had breakfasted and
was in motion before day. The mounted infantry having been upon picket through the
night were left as a rear guard, and Company A, Fiftieth Indiana, under Lieutenant Judy,
was thrown forward as an advance guard. As the advance approached Parker's Cross-
Roads it was attacked by the enemy's pickets; immediately deployed as skirmishers
and pushed rapidly forward up the hill, the whole column following. As I got with the
advance to the top of the hill I saw what seemed a large company, or two small ones,
of the enemy retreating along the road to the west, upon whom I opened a brisk fire,
and the retreat became a flight to Dr. Williams' house, upon a hill nearly half a mile
distant, under the shelter of which and the outbuildings and timber about it they rallied.
Desiring to ascertain whether the enemy was there in force two guns were ordered up
and threw a few shells into the surrounding timber, when a farther retreat into the woods
to the northwest followed. Lieutenant-Colonel Wells, with the Fiftieth Indiana, was
ordered forward to occupy the hill upon which the house stood and the woods to the
right, and reconnoiter. He threw three companies (A, D, and F) forward as skirmishers,
following with the remainder of the regiment and soon took the position indicated. No
enemy being found Company F, Lieutenant Jones, was sent across a skirt of woods
to the north to reconnoiter and soon came up with and engaged a company of the
enemy's mounted men at a house a little west of north from that of Dr. Williams' and
drove them back across a large field and up and over the crest of a ridge. The "recall"
was sounded and they returned to the house. Soon the enemy was seen coming down
the hill toward the house. Company F had in the mean time been joined by a part of the
detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois (the mounted infantry before mentioned) and the
two again deployed and drove the enemy back to the top of the ridge. At this juncture
I saw the enemy deploying a line along but behind the brow of the ridge, and the "recall"
was sounded and the skirmishers again rallied at the house. They had barely done so
when the enemy opened upon them with shell from a gun upon his extreme right, and
soon from another considerably farther to the east, and the skirmishing party was with-
drawn to the regiment at Williams' house. Determined to ascertain if possible the force
and disposition of the enemy, two pieces of artillery were ordered forward to the edge of
the wood, supported by four companies of the Fiftieth Indiana, under Major Attkisson.
From these guns a fire was opened upon the enemy along the ridge. He replied with at
least a full battery, and the fire for a little while was intense on both sides. Seeing that
the enemy had put a heavy force in line along and just over the crest of the ridge, and
having accomplished all I desired at that place and time, I ordered our fire to cease and
the forces there to be withdrawn to the main column at the cross-roads. Two or three
of the horses of one gun having been disabled it was gallantly taken out by a detachment
of the Fiftieth under a heavy fire of grape and shell. The whole command was then moved
south, down the Lexington road half a mile, to the Red Mound, and placed in line of battle
along and behind the crest of the ridge, which ran back from the road at an angle of
forty-five degrees about half the length of the line, where it turns still more eastward; the
left rested upon the road; the right upon a thick wood and ravine; the artillery was placed
at the turn in the ridge. This position covered a field to the west, a considerable part of
the road running south from the cross-roads, and also, by our guns, a portion of the road
from the west to the crossroads. The wagon train was placed in a hollow to the rear,
with two companies (one of the Thirty-ninth and one of the One hundred and twenty-
second Illinois beyond) to protect it. These dispositions were scarcely made, indeed the
artillery had not got fully into position, before the enemy in heavy columns was seen
moving from the wood on to the road, near Williams'  house, and along it toward the
cross-roads. Being out of range of our musketry the artillery was ordered to open fire
upon the advancing column, which it did; but from some cause seemingly with but little
effect. Lieutenant-Colonel Wells was also directed to send two companies of his regiment
(the Fiftieth Indiana) toward the cross-roads to watch and check his advance. Company
G, Captain Carothers, immediately moved up the road at double quick, deployed in the
lane, opened a galling fire, and held his position until forced back by overwhelming numbers.
Company B, Lieutenant Davies, also moved forward at the same step and deployed along
the edge of the woods, upon which I afterward changed my line, and did valuable service.
The enemy moved past the cross-roads eastwardly, and appeared as if desirous of
escaping in that direction. Our forces were immediately and rapidly moved to the north
(toward the cross-roads), and a new line formed nearly perpendicular to a prolongation
of the first, along the edge and under coverof the woods, parallel to the enemy's
advancing column, the left resting upon the road and the right upon an open field, with
three companies thrown perpendicular to the rear in the edge of the woods to cover the
right flank, and a vigorous attack was commenced. The disposition of the forces at this
time was, Company G, Fiftieth Indiana, in the lane, who when forced back as afore said
took position on the extreme left; second, the Thirty-ninth Iowa; third, the One hundred
and twenty-second Illinois; fourth, the detachment of the Eighteenth Illinois; fifth, the
Fiftieth Indiana, holding the right; sixth, the companies, one (Company A) of the Thirty-
ninth and one of the One hundred and twenty-second at the house on the mound, to
cover our rear and protect our train yet in the hollow. All had moved into position with
alacrity and with the steadiness of veterans. The artillery had been ordered forward, with
a view to being placed between the Thirty-ninth and One hundred and twenty-second,
where it was thought it could be made most effective upon the enemy's batteries, and be
supported by those regiments; but it had not yet got into position.

By this time the enemy had got into position and the fire from his batteries had become
intense along our whole line. Our skirmishers had been forced back out of the lane,
which the enemy now occupied, and from which, and a small hill behind which he was
to some extent sheltered, he poured upon our left a galling musketry fire. I looked for
our guns; two only had been brought forward, and they, instead of taking the position
indicated, were being put in position in front of the extreme left. I rode along the line to
 them. When I came up they had opened fire upon the enemy in the lane and upon the
hill last mentioned. I again ordered them to move to the place designated. To my utter
astonishment I was informed by the lieutenant that his ammunition was about exhausted,
and hence it was useless to change position. Directing him to do the best he could with
his pieces I turned away to do the best I could without them. Candor compels me to say
that from some cause our artillery was throughout strikingly inefficient, although both the
officers and men with it exhibited the greatest bravery.

The enemy at this time had one battery on the ridge in front of and parallel to our line;
one on a ridge nearly perpendicular to but beyond our line to the right, so situated as to
enable him to concentrate a fire upon several portions of our line and to enfilade a part of
it, and his fire had become terrible in its intensity. I determined to take his battery at all
hazards--the one on our right. The requisite orders had been given, and I was riding along
the line to see that they were properly understood, when we were suddenly and furiously
attacked from the rear by a heavy dismounted force which had, under the cover of the hills
and woods beyond, turned our right flank, and was moving to the rear of our main line in a
direction nearly parallel to it and between it and that of the two companies left to protect
the train and rear; at the same time a regiment of cavalry charged up the Lexington road
from the south toward the rear of our left. This was the crisis of the day, and nobly did
our gallant men meet it. The main line was faced at once to the rear and drove the enemy
back, inflicting a heavy loss in killed and wounded and taking a large number of prisoners.
The repulse was complete. The Fiftieth Regiment here made a bayonet charge in a style
never surpassed and seldom equaled, forcing their way entirely through the enemy's line.
The cavalry charging up the road was also completely and severely repulsed by the two
companies protecting our rear, who were promptly put in position for that purpose under
the direction of Adjutant Simpson of my staff; but it rallied and made a second charge
upon them and was again repulsed. When the enemy had been repulsed from the rear
of our main line as above described, the Fiftieth Indiana was placed to cover the route by
which he had approached. It had barely got into position when its right was furiously
charged by a heavy cavalry force from the south, before which it staggered and fell slightly
back; but two companies (H, Captain Scott, and C, Captain Marsh) holding the left quickly
changed front and poured into the flank of the charging force a murderous fire, under which
it broke and fled, and the right immediately rallied and resumed its place. This substantially
closed the fighting for the day. The repulse of the attack upon our rear had brought our line
back to Red Mound, where our first had been formed, but at nearly right angles to it, the left
resting where the right of the first had rested. It was in excellent order. I was passing along
it, speaking words of congratulation and encouragement to the men, when a flag of truce,
borne by an aide of General Forrest, approached. I rode forward and demanded his message.
He Answered: "The general understands that you have surrendered." I replied: "The General
is entirely mistaken; we have never thought of surrendering." He said a white flag was hoisted.
I answered: "You are mistaken; or, if not, it was done without my authority or knowledge, and
you will so report to your general." He departed, but shortly returned with his flag of truce and
said, "The general demands an unconditional surrender." I replied: "You will get away with
that flag very quick, and bring me no more such messages. Give my compliments to the
General, and tell him I never surrender. If he thinks he can take me, he can come and try."
He left. In the mean time Commissary Sergeant Thompson, of the Fiftieth Regiment, had
informed me that, when the charge had been made upon the two companies left to protect
the train and our rear, the wagoners had become panic-stricken, had driven the train
northwestwardly into a hollow where it had been captured, and that with a single company
he could retake it. I turned to the Thirty-ninth Iowa and asked, "Will any company volunteer
to retake our wagons?" Company G, Captain Cameron, instantly responded, and was
placed under the command of Major Attkisson, of the Fiftieth Indiana, and recaptured the
train, taking several prisoners, among whom was Major Strange, General Forrest's adjutant-
general; Colonel McKee, his aide, and one or two other officers. This was scarcely
accomplished when I learned that you had arrived from Huntingdon with Colonel Fuller's
brigade, and I soon saw his guns moving into position. It is reported to me by Lieutenant
Colonel Wells, who held our right, that on the repulse of the enemy's cavalry he appeared
to commence withdrawing, under the cover of the wood--his forces passed our right,
southwardly--and that when Fuller's brigade opened fire his retreat in that direction became
a perfect rout. We were not during the entire engagement driven from a single position; but,
on the contrary, whenever an opportunity offered, the enemy was driven before us with
resistless vigor. Only in a single instance did any part of our command get into the slightest
confusion. When our line was ordered to face to the rear and repel the enemy's flanking
column a part of the Thirty-ninth Iowa (some three or four companies of its right) obeyed
most handsomely; but the other part, from not properly receiving or not fully understanding
the orders, seemed to hesitate, became confused, and finally began to break. Seeing this I
rode rapidly to them, hoping to remedy the difficulty. The enemy had seen it also and
concentrated upon them a terrific fire from his musketry in front and the battery on the right,
under which they completely gave way and crossed the road to a skirt of wood a short
distance to the west. Their officers, assisted by my aide, Captain Silence, and Adjutant
Simpson, soon rallied them, and they returned in good order to and resumed their place in
the line in its new position at Red Mound, with their confidence in themselves and mine in
them fully restored. It was one of these companies that, under Major Attkisson, retook our
wagon train. When it is recollected that this is a new regiment, having had little or no
opportunity for drill; that this is not only its first engagement but its first march; that for
nearly two hours it undauntingly maintained its position under the severest fire, and when
I call to mind the terrible ordeal of the moment, the wonder is not that they did no better,
but so well, and all regret for this single mishap is forgotten in admiration of the courage
of these gallant men.

Lieutenant-Colonel Redfield and Captain Cameron of this regiment were especially conspicuous
for their coolness and energy at this time. The former, although severely and dangerously
wounded, seemed entirely forgetful of his own sufferings in his efforts to rally his men. Color-
Corporal Armstrong also attracted particular attention, for although his companion had fallen at
his side, pierced by several balls, yet he was ready at every command to put down his flag as
a rallying point. With the exception of this single incident my entire command throughout the
day manifested the greatest enthusiasm and the most perfect confidence in their success,
and at no time more than the moment before your arrival with the other brigade. The One
hundred and twenty-second Illinois deserves especial notice. It is a comparatively new regiment
and a part of it was at one time more exposed to the enemy's fire than any other; at any rate it
suffered more in killed and wounded. Its gallant colonel fell severely wounded, yet its courage
never flagged and it met every duty and every danger with unwavering resolution. The detachment
of the Eighteenth acted for the most part with it and deserves the same commendation. To the
Fiftieth Indiana, because of its greater experience, being an older regiment, was assigned the
most responsible position of the field, and it is only necessary to say that under its vigilant and
brave commander it so did its duties as to show that the trust was worthily confided. I should also
especially mention Captain Silence and Adjutant Simpson. By their vigilance and energy in
observing and reporting every movement, by their promptness in conveying orders and in seeing
to and aiding in their execution, and in many other ways were they of the greatest service to me.
In the discharge of their duties they were often exposed to the enemy's hottest fire. Captain Silence
had two horses shot under him. My mounted orderly, Fred. L. Prow, of the Fiftieth Indiana, also did
good service in conveying orders. I should also acknowledge my personal obligation to him. When
my own horse was shot under me he rode forward under a terrible fire, dismounted, and gave me his.
I hope to be pardoned also for mentioning a gallant little feat of Private E. A. Topliff, of the battery.
As our line faced about and pressed back in their engagement of the enemy at our rear one of the
guns of the battery was left behind in the edge of the wood. All the horses belonging to it had been
killed but two. After everybody had passed and left it, he, fearing that the enemy might capture it,
alone, under a smart fire, disengaged the two horses, hitched them to the piece, and took it out
safely.

The losses of my command are: Killed, 23; wounded, 139; missing, 58. Total, 220. Many of the
wounds (probably one-half) are slight. Among those taken prisoners are Captain Hungate, Quarter-
master Adams, of the Fiftieth Indiana, and Lieutenant -----, of the --------, acting temporarily as my
aide. Captain Hungate had been very unwell for two or three days, but had with great resolution kept
with his company. The night previous he became and continued very sick, and was with the assistant
surgeon of his regiment at the rear, where he had established his hospital. Lieutenant Adams was
assisting in arranging the hospital and in making provision for the wounded already being brought in.
They, and also Assistant Surgeon Hervey and the hospital steward, were captured by the enemy's
cavalry in the charge upon our rear. Dr. Hervey and the hospital steward were detained for two hours,
our wounded in the mean time being left to suffer for want of their attention. Lieut. D. S. Scott, of the
Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, was suddenly surrounded and taken while zealously discharging his duties.
The enemy's losses and the fruits of the complete and overwhelming victory which your timely aid
secured to us are more fully within your own knowledge, and it is therefore unnecessary for me to
make any statement in regard to them.

Respectfully submitted.

C. L. DUNHAM, 
Colonel, Commanding Brigade

Brig. Gen. J. C. SULLIVAN, 
Commanding Division

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