O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XVII/1 [S# 24]
DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863.
Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee.
No. 17.--Report of Lieut. Col. William K. M. Breckenridge,
Sixth Tennessee Cavalry (Union), of skirmish near Clifton, January 1, 1863.
SALTILLO, January 2, 1863.
SIR: I have just received your dispatch of the 1st instant. I sent you a
dispatch on the night of the 31st December, giving you the incidents of that
day. On the morning of the 1st, a very short time after sunrise, our pickets
were driven in by Forrest's advance. We first made an effort to form on a
hill, which is shown in diagram, but the timber was so thick that we could not
get a line to do any execution. I then fell back to the foot of the hill,
leaving some men to skirmish with them until others were formed. About this
time I received information that it was Forrest's whole force. I then changed
position, forming company in the rear of company to get them all off without
exposing our rear. It would have been all right had it not been that one of
the companies that was in the rear did not receive the order to fall back
until they were exposed very much to the enemy's fire. The first orderly
failing to reach them, from some cause that I do not know of, I sent another
order to fall back, which reached the commander of the company while the enemy
were demanding a surrender of the whole command; in the mean time the enemy
were making an attempt to surround the company, which being perceived they
galloped off, losing about 6 men as prisoners. We killed 6 and wounded some
others of the enemy. We made our retreat on the Decaturville road, to the
right of the enemy, getting in their rear to annoy him all we could. We found
that his rear was moving at a very rapid rate and followed them within a short
distance of the river, and found that they had been advised that their rear
was followed. I did not deem it prudent to follow farther. I propose to
reconnoiter the country in the vicinity of Clifton again, and will remain till
I hear from you. If you send the artillery we can use it to good advantage.
The above hasty report is respectfully submitted.
W. K. M. BRECKENRIDGE,