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ed from New Yorcau, Oakfuskee, and Ufauley towns, and were concentrated in a bend of the Talapoosie, near the mouth of a creek called Emuckfau, and on an island below New Yorcau.
On the morning of the 2uth, your letter of the 10th instant, forwarded by M‘Candless, reached me at the Hillibee Creek, and that night I encamped at Enotochopco, a small Hillibee village about twelve miles from Emucfau. Here I began to perceive very plainly how little knowledge my spies had of the country, of the situation of the enemy, or of the distance I was from them. The insubordination of the new troops, and the want of skill in most of their officers, also became more and more apparent. But their ardor to meet the enemy was not diminished; and I had a sure reliance upon the guards, and the company of old volunteer officers, and
upon the spies, in all about 125. My wishes and my duty remained united, and I was determined to effect, if possible, the objects for which the excursion had been principally undertaken.
On the morning of the 21st, I marched from Enotochapco as direct as I could for the bend of the Talapoosie, and about two o'clock P. M. my spies having discovered two of the enemy, endeavoured to overtake them, but failed. In the evening 1 fell in upon a large trail, which led to a new road, much beaten and lately travelled. Knowing that I must have arrived within the neighbourhood of a strong force, and it being late in the day, I determined to encamp, and reconnoitre the country in the night. I chose the best site the country would admit, encamped in a hollow square, sent out my spies and pickets, doubled my sentinels, and made the necessary arrangements before dark, for a night attack. About ten o'clock at night, one of the pickets fired at three of the enemy, and killed one, but he was not found until the next day. At 11 o'clock the spies whom I had sent out returned with information, that there was a large encampment of Indians at the distance of about three miles, who from their whooping and dancing seemed to be apprised of our approach. One of these spies, an Indian in whom I had great contidence, assured me that they were carrying off their women and children, and that the warriors would either make their escape or attack me before day. Being prepared at all points, nothing remained to be done but to await their approach, if they meditated an attack, or to be in readiness, if they did not, to pursue and attack them at day-light. While we were in this state of readiness, the enemy, about
six o'clock in the morning, commenced a vigorous attack on my left flank, which was vigorously met: the action continued to rage on iny left flank, and on the left of my rear for about half an hour. The brave general Coffee, with colonel Sitler, the adjutant general, and colonel Carroll, the inspector general, the moment the firing commenced, mounted their horses and repaired to the line, encouraging and animating the men to the performance of their daty. So soon as it became light enough to pursue, the left wing
having sustained the heat of the action, and being somewhat weakened, was reinforced by captain Ferrill's company of infantry, and was ordered and led on to the charge by general Coffee, who was well supported by colonel Higgins and the inspector general, and by all the officers and privates who composed that line. The enemy was completely routed at every point, and the friendly Indians joining in the pursuit, they were chased about two miles with considerable slaughter.
The chase being over, I immediately detached general Coffee with 400 men and all the Indian force to burn their encaipment; but it was said by some to be fortified. I ordered him in that event not to attack it, until the artillery could be sent forward to reduce it. On viewing the encampment and its strength, the general thought it most prudent to return to my encampment and guard the artillery thither. The wisdom of this step was soon discovered ; in half an hour after his return to camp, a considerable portion of the enemy made its appearance on my right flank, and commenced a brisk fire on a party of men who had been on picket guard the night before, and were then in search of the Indians they had fired upon, some of whom they believe have been killed. General Coffee immediately requested me to let him take 200 men and turn their left flank, which I accordingly ordered ; but through some mistake, which I did not then observe, not more than 54 followed him, among whom were the old volunteer officers. With these, however, he immediately commenced an attack on the left flank of the enemy; at which time I ordered 200 of the friendly Indians to fall in upon the right flank of the enemy and co-operate with the general. This order was promptly obeyed, and in the moment of its execution, what I expected was realized. The enemy had intended the attack on the right as a feint, and, expecting to divert all my attention thither, meant to attack me again with their main force on the left flank, which they had . hoped to find weakened and in disorder. They were disappointed. I had ordered the left flank to remain firm to its place, and the moment the alarm gun was heard in that quarter, I repaired thither, and ordered captain Ferrill, part of my reserve, to support it. The whole line met the approach of the enemy with astonishing intrepidity, and having given a few fires, they forthwitha charged with great vigor. The effect was immediate and inevitable. The enemy fled with precipitation, and were pursued to a considerable distance by the left Hank and the friendly Indians, with a galling and destructive fire. Colonel Carroll, who ordered the charge, led on the pursuit, and colonel Higgins and his regiment again distinguished themselves.
In the mean time general Coffee was contending with a superior force of the enemy. The Indians, who I had ordered to his support, and who had set out for this purpose, hearing the fire on the left, had returned to that quarter, and when the enemy were routed there, entered into the chase. That being now over, I
forthwith ordered Jim Fife, who was one of the principal commanders of the friendly Creeks, with 100 of his warriors, to exe. cute my first order. As soon as he reached general Coffee, the charge was made and the enemy routed: they were pursued about three miles, and 45 of them slain, who were found. General Coffee was wounded in the body, and his aid-de-camp, A. Donaldson, killed, together with three others. Having brought in and buried the dead, and dressed the wounded, I ordered my camp to be fortified, to be the better prepared to repel any attack which might be made in the night; deterinined to commence a return march to Fort Strother the following day.
Many causes concurred to make such a measure necessary, as I had not set out prepared, or with a view to make a permanent establishment. I considered it worse than useless to advance and destroy an empty encampment. I had, indeed, hoped to have met the enemy there, but having met and beaten them a little sooner, I did not think it necessary or prudent to proceed any further : not necessary, because I had accomplished all I could expect to effect by marching to their encampment; and because, if it was proper to contend with and weaken their forces still further, this object would be more certainly attained by commencing a return, which, having to them the appearance of a retreat, would inspirit them to pursue me. Not prudent, because of the number of my wounded, of the reinforcements from below which the enemy might be expected to receive; of the starving condition of my horses, they having had neither corn nor cane for two days and nights; of the scarcity of supplies for my men, the Indians who met me at Talladega, having drawn none, and being wholly destitute; and because, if the enemy pursued me, as it was likely they would, the diversion in favour of general Floyd would be the more complete and effectual. Influenced by these considerations I commenced
my return march at half past ten, on the 23d, and was fortunate enough to reach Enotochopco before night, having passed without interruption a dangerous defile, occasioned by a hurricane. I again fortified my camp, and having another defile to pass in the morning, across a deep creek, and between two hills, which I had viewed with attention as I passed on, and where I expected I might be attacked, I determined to pass it at another point, and gave directions to my guide and fatigue men accordingly. My expectation of an attack in the morning was increased by the signs of the niglit, and with it my caution. Before I moved the wounded from the interior of my camp, I had iny front and rear guards formed, as well as my right and left columns, and moved off my centre in regular order, leading down a handsome ridge to Enotochopco creek, at a point where it was clear of reed, except immediately on its margin. I had previously issued a general order, pointing out the manner in which the men should be formed in the event of an attack on the front or rear,
or on the flanks, and had particularly cautioned the officers to halt and form accordingly, the instant the word should be given.
The front guard had crossed with part of the flank çolumns, the wounded were over, and the artillery in the act of entering the creek, when an alarm gun was heard in the rear. I heard it without surprise, and even with pleasure; calculating with the utmost confidence on the firmness of my troops, from the manner in which I had seen them act on the 22d. I had placed colonel Carroll at the head of the centre column of the rear guard ; its right column was commanded by colonel Perkins, and its left by colonel Stump. Having chosen the ground, I expected there to have entirely cut off the enemy by wheeling the right and left columns on their pivot, re-crossing the creek above and below, and falling in upon their flanks and rear. But to my astonishment and mortification, when the word was given by colonel Carroll to halt and form, and a few guns had been fired, I beheld the right and left columns of the rear guard precipitately give way. This shameful retreat was disastrous in the extreme; it drew along with it the greatest part of the centre column, leaving not more than 25 men, who being formed by colonel Carroll, maintained their ground as long as it was possible to maintain it, and it brought consternation and confusion into the centre of the army, a consternation which was not easily removed, and a confusion which could not soon be restored to order. There was then left to repulse the enemy, the few who remained of the rear guard, the artillery company and captain Russell's company of spies. They, however, realized and exceeded iny highest expectations. Lieutenant Armstrong, who commanded the artillery company in the absence of captain Deadrick (confined by sickness), ordered them to form and advanced to the top of the hill, whilst he and a few others dragged up the six pounder. Never was more bravery displayed than on this occasion. Amidst the most galling fire from the enemy, more than ten times their number, they ascended the hill and maintained their position, until their piece was hauled up, when, having levelled it, they poured upon the enemy a fire of grape, re-loaded and fired again, charged and repulsed them.
l'he most deliberate bravery was displayed by Constantine Perkins and Craven Jackson of the artillery, acting as gunners. In the hurry of the moment in separating the gun from the limbers, the rammer and picker of the cannon were left tied to the limber : no sooner was this discovered, than Jackson, amidst the galling fire of the enemy, pulled out the ramrod of his musket, and used it as a picker; primed with a cartridge and fired the cannon. Perkins having pulled off his bayonet, used his musket as a' rammer, drove down the cartridge ; and Jackson, using his former plan, again discharged her. The brave lieutenant Armstrong, just after the first fire of the cannon, with captain Hamilton, of East Tennessee, Bradford and McGavock, all fell, the lieutenant exclaiming as he lay," my brave fellows, sonie of you
may fall, but you must save the cannon.” About this time, a number crossed the creek and entered into the chase. The brave captain Gordon of the spies, who rushed from the front, endeavored to turn the left fank of the enemy, in which he partially succeeded, and colonel Carroll, colonel Higgins and captains Elliot and Pipkins pursued the enemy for more than two miles, who fled in consternation, throwing away their packs, and leaving twenty-six of their warriors dead on the field. This last defeat was decisive, and we were no more disturbed by their yells. I should do injustice to my feelings if I omitted to mention that the venerable judge Cocke, at the age of sixty-five, entered into the engagement, continued the pursuit of the enemy with youthful ardor, and saved the life of a fellow soldier by killing his savage antagonist.
Our loss in this affair was killed and wounded ; among the forner was the brave captain Hamilton, of East Tennessee, who had, with his aged father and two others of his company, after the period of his engagement had expired, volunteered his services for this excursion, and attached himself to the artillery company. No man ever fought more bravely or fell more gloriously; and by his side fell with equal bravery and glory, Bird Evans of the same company. Captain Quarles, who commanded the centre column of the rear guard, preferring death to abandoning his post, having taken a firm stand in which he was followed by twenty-five of his men, received a wound in his head of which he has since died.
In these several engagements our loss was twenty killed and seventy-five wounded, four of whom have since died. The loss of the enemy cannot be accurately ascertained ; one hundred and eighty-nine of their warriors were found dead; but this must fall considerably short of the number really killed. Their wounded can only be guessed at.
Had it not been for the unfortunate retreat of the rear guard in the afair of the 24th instant, I think I could safely have said that no army of militia ever acted with more cool and deliberate bravery. Undisciplined and inexperienced as they were, their conduct in the several engagements of the 22d could not have been surpassed by regulars. No men ever met the approach of an enemy with more intrepidity, or repulsed them with more energy. On the 24th, after the retreat of the rear guard, they seemed to have lost all collectedness, and were more difficult to be restored to order than any troops I had ever seen. But this was no doubt owing in a great measure, or altogether, to that very retreat, and ought rather to be ascribed to the want of conduct in many of their officers than to any cowardice in the men, who on every occasion have manifested a willingness to perform their duty so far as they knew it.
All the effects which were designed to be produced by this escursion, it is believed have been produced. If an attack was