DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863
Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee.

No. 21.--Report of Col. George G. Dibrell, Eighth Tennessee (Confederate) Cavalry,
of operations from December 15, 1862-January 6, 1863.

MOUNT PLEASANT, TENN., January 6, 1863.
In obedience to verbal instructions from General Forrest I
herewith submit a report of the action of the Eighth Tennessee
Cavalry in his recent expedition into West Tennessee:
On December 18 [15], 1862, we crossed the Tennessee River
 at Clifton in a large wood flat-boat.
On the 19th [18th] we advanced on Lexington, Tenn., moving at early dawn.
Lexington was occupied by Col. [I. R.] Hawkins' regiment of United States
cavalry, with pickets at Beech River, 6 miles out. The enemy attempted to
destroy the bridge at Beech River, but were driven back by the Fourth Alabama,
which was in advance and charged into Lexington. The Eighth Tennessee was
ordered to the front and to press them into Jackson, which they did, arriving
in the suburbs, a distance of 40 miles, soon after dark. About 10 o'clock at
night the Eighth Tennessee moved around to the north of Jackson for the
purpose of capturing Carroll Station, destroying the railroad track, and
preventing re-enforcements coming into Jackson. We had much trouble in
securing guides, but reached the vicinity just in time to fire a volley into a
passing train on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and then with a yell charged
the stockade, which was promptly surrendered with 101 prisoners, a large
amount of ammunition, stores, tents, &c. The Eighth was armed in part with 400
flint-lock muskets. We took all of the arms of the enemy, stacked such as we
could not carry off in the stockade with a large number of our flint-locks,
and burned the stockade and all together; and after tearing up the Mobile and
Ohio Railroad track for a considerable distance marched back and joined the
main command near Spring Creek.
On the 21st [20th] General Forrest ordered the Eighth Tennessee and one piece
of artillery, under Captain Morton, to destroy the stockade and bridge at
Forked Deer River, but we were repulsed by a large infantry force that moved
out on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, losing several men killed and wounded. We
participated in the divide of the large amount of supplies captured by the
general at Trenton, and there finished equipping the regiment with good guns,
clothing, &c. We also destroyed a very long trestle and several bridges on the
Mobile and Ohio Railroad on the Obion River, and, moving back, was in front on
the morning of December 31, when our scouts reported a large infantry force in
our front near Parker's Cross-Roads. We immediately turned our wagon train to
the right and moved on to meet the enemy's advance. A lively skirmish ensued,
when Freeman's battery opened upon them with splendid effect, and they
retreated back to Parker's Cross-Roads, where Col. [C. L.] Dunham, U.S. Army,
was with a brigade of infantry. We advanced rapidly to the cross-roads, and
were ordered by General Forrest to take possession of a hill in a large cotton
field, which we did at a double-quick, and then began our first regular battle
as cavalry. We had no protection but the top of the hill, while the enemy was
sheltered by woods and a fence. They made three efforts to charge us, but the
galling fire from our guns and one 12-pounder howitzer, manned by Sergt. Nat.
Baxter, of Freeman's battery, drove them back. They had six pieces of
artillery and we but one. The battle raged with great fury until we were
joined upon our left by Captain Horton with one gun, supported by
Cox's battalion, and on the right by Colonel Napier's battalion and Colonel
Starnes with his regiment, and General Forrest with Russell's Fourth Alabama,
Biffle's Ninth [Nineteenth] Tennessee, and [T. G.] Woodward's Kentucky
battalion got in their rear, and then they fled in confusion, leaving all
their dead and wounded and six pieces of artillery in our possession. The
enemy retreated into the timber and halted to reform. We had about 300
prisoners, and while we were parlying about a surrender the enemy was re-
enforced by General Sullivan with another brigade of infantry, which was
firing upon our horse-holders before we were aware of his approach. General
Forrest then ordered us to retreat, which we did in much confusion, as our
horse-holders were demoralized and many men were captured in trying to get
their horses. We retreated through the large cotton field between a fire from
the re-enforcements and the brigade we had just driven back. In this battle
 the regiment lost 4 killed, 27 wounded, and 122 captured also lost 130 horses.
Early in the morning of January 1, 1863, we were met by Col. [William K. M.]
Breckenridge's regiment United States cavalry, who was between us and the
Tennessee River. After skirmishing a few minutes we charged and routed them,
killing and capturing 15 or 20 of them. We then marched to the Tennessee
River, found our wood boats, left in charge of Capt. [J. M.] Barnes, [Company
H], and Lieutenant-Colonel [F. H.] Daugherty, of the Eighth [Tennessee],
all safe, and we crossed the Tennessee River, the forces under General
 [Jeremiah C.] Sullivan, appearing on the opposite bank on the 3d. Our total loss
during the expedition was 8 killed, 35 wounded, and 130 captured or missing.

Very respectfully,
Colonel Eighth Tennessee Cavalry

Assistant Adjutant-General

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