Saturday, December 21, 2013

Fight at Monticello, Kentucky May 1, 1863


  Early on the morning of the first instant, Colonel Morrison, then commanding our brigade at Albany, Kentucky, received despatches from Colonel Chenault, at Monticello, to the effect that he was holding the enemy in check, that their force consisted of only three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry, including four pieces of artillery, and if he, Colonel Morrison, would come to their assistance they could capture the entire command, or run them into the river. Colonel Morrison immediately ordered the brigade in the direction of Monticello in quick-time. Though Chenault had long since retreated from every position he held, from Monticello back to where the Albany road leaves the Jamestown road, had fallen back nine miles, thus cutting off all communication with Colonel Morrison and the force on the Jamestown road. Captain Day's battalion was the advance. He, true to the instincts of a cautious commander, ordered two advance- guards. Lieutenant Gibson, commanding the first, was cut off and made his way to Chenault. The second was fired into, when the battalion was about-faced, and, whilst forming in a field adjacent that one in which they were marching, the Yankees made an attempt to charge their line, which was responded to by a volley of Minie-balls, when the order was given by the valiant and chivalrous Day to charge their advancing column, which they did in magnificent style. If ever blue bellies took to their heels, they did. They never stopped until they got to a woodland one mile distant.
  Colonel Morrison ordered back to the left Day's battalion and moved forward the artillery, Hincel's battery. The lines of the enemy were then within four hundred yards of our lines. Lieutenant Ramsey opened on them with deadly effect ~ every shot penetrated their lines. They soon left the field, followed by bombs of cool and intrepid Ramsey.
  The artillery in connection with Day's battalion forced the enemy back on their right and from our left, when they attempted to turn our right flank. Major Cobb had been sent to protect our right, but found the enemy occupying the hills commanding the road, and was forced to take position some distance from the road. The enemy coming up on our centre, Major Cobb was ordered to hold his position, as that was considered the only safe way to take out our artillery. But before the despatch was received by the Major, he was forced from his position with the enemy following him. Colonel Morrison was then completely flanked, though he was prepared to drive back the enemy on the centre, should they continue to advance. The battery occupied in eminence commanding the road for some distance. The First Georgia, Major Davis was in front Colonel Carter was ordered up, but did not hare time to take his position; Day's battalion was on the extreme left. Colonel Morrison, under the circumstances, was ordered to fall back in the direction of Travisville, as the enemy were crossing the river at Greary Creek, only a few miles below, with two regiments of infantry, two of cavalry, and a heavy battery of artillery.
  During the evening, Chenault sent a despatch to Colonel Morrison, requesting reinforcements, as the enemy were pressing him. Colonel Carter was detached and ordered to his relief. He came to Travisville, and lo Chenault had sent Major Coff's command and the First Louisiana to that point, whilst he and Cluke struck a "bee line" in the direction of Middle Tennessee ~ without notifying Colonel Morrison or the reenforcements of his having left the position he had been holding that evening.
  Our brigade came through from the Albany road to Travisville unmolested but not whipped, for we had maintained our position and forced the enemy from theirs. Stragglers who were prejudiced against Colonel Morrison, and were too cowardly to remain in the field, skulked off to East-Tennessee to tell the tales of disaster and scandal.
  Our loss was two killed, nine wounded, and three prisoners. The loss of the enemy most have been from fifteen to twenty killed, aside from many wounded. Though the enemy shelled the brigade with four pieces of artillery for near an hour, they never forced back the brigade. Their entire force must have consisted of six or seven thousand, mostly mounted infantry, as there was a heavy force on both roads.
   At Hernden's we met the long looked for Pegram, who would have been greeted with many cheers but for the timidity of the men. All hearts seemed buoyed up by his arrival.
  He carries with him confidence wherever he goes. His appearance inspires his command with a feeling of confidence and success. He don t aspire for a commander of superior skill and ability. He has just returned from an arduous trip to Richmond, where he has been procuring arms and ammunition for his brigade. He will soon have his command the best armed of any in the confederate army.

Memphis Appeal

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