Union & Confederate Accounts of the Battle of Booneville, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Booneville, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Battle of Booneville, Mississippi
The Battle of Booneville was found on July 1, 1862, between the Second Iowa and Second Michigan Cavalries
commanded by Union Colonel Phil Sheridan and the First Confederate, First Alabama and Wirt Adams'
Mississippi Regiment of Confederate Cavalry under General James R. Chalmers. Be sure to visit our Main Page
on the Battle of Booneville.
Report of Col. Philip H. Sheridan, Second Michigan Cavalry, commanding Second Brigade, Cavalry Division.
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION
Camp on King’s Creek, Miss., July 2, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to report that in obedience to your instructions, I established my brigade, consisting of the Second
Michigan and Second Iowa Cavalry Regiments, at Booneville, Miss., June 28, and threw out strong pickets on the
numerous roads approaching that place.
On the morning of July 1 a cavalry command of between 4,000 and 5,000 men, under General Chalmers, advanced
toward Booneville on two converging roads. The head of their column on the Booneville and Blackland road came in
contact with my pickets 3 ½ miles southwest of Booneville. This picket, under command of Lieutenant Scranton,
Second Michigan Cavalry, fell back slowly, taking advantage of every tree to fire from, until they came to the point where
the second road on which the enemy was advancing intersected this road. At this point our pickets had a strong
position and good cover, and were presently re-enforced by a second company and subsequently by three companies
more, all of the Second Michigan, under command of Capt. Campbell.
The enemy had up to this time only shown the heads of his columns. At this point our resistance was so great that the
enemy was obliged to deploy two regiments on the right and left of the road. Information was then sent to me that the
enemy was in force. I sent word to Captain Campbell to hold the enemy until I could support him, and if necessary to
fall back slowly. Previous to this time I had stationed one battalion Second Iowa in Booneville. I then directed Colonel
Hatch to leave one company of his regiment in camp and take the balance of his regiment and the battalion in
Booneville, except two saber companies, and form in rear of Captain Campbell, cover his flanks, and support him by a
charge should the enemy break his lines.
While this was being done the enemy attempted to drive Captain Campbell from his position by a charge through the
open field. In this they did not succeed, but were gallantly repulsed with great loss, my men reserving their fire until
they were within 25 or 30 yards, when they opened on them with their Colt’s revolving rifles. They then commenced
turning the flanks of Captain Campbell’s position, when he returned to another strong position in his rear. As soon as
the enemy saw him retiring again they charged him, but he succeeded in repelling them, by collecting his men
together in groups, when a hand-to-hand conflict took place, the men in some cases using the butts of their guns. At
this time Lieutenat-Colonel Hatch, Second Iowa, came up with his supports, and this position was maintained for a
considerable length of time. The enemy again commenced his flanking movements, passing around our left,
crossing the railroad, and approaching the left of our camp. I then determined to turn their left flank, and made a bold
dash at their rear. This was handsomely executed by Captain Alger, Second Michigan, with four saber companies, two
from Second Michigan and two from Second Iowa. The captain passed around their left flank, by a circuitous route,
until he came directly on their rear, on the Blackland road. He then charged the enemy with sabers and drove them
until their overwhelming numbers obliged him to retire.
At the same time that I gave the order to Captain Alger to attack their rear I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Hatch, Second
Iowa, to move a portion of his regiment to their left flank, and if a good opportunity occurred to make a charge. This
movement was finely executed and a dash made successfully at their left flank. The charge of Captain Alger directly in
their rear and the dash made at them on their left by Major Coon, of the Second Iowa, together with the determined
and stubborn resistance of Captain Campbell with his 160 riflemen in front, so much disconcerted the enemy that
they commenced falling back, leaving a large number of their dead and wounded officers and men on the field and
were followed up a distance of 4 miles. At this point the enemy crossed a difficult swamp, and night coming on, the
pursuit was abandoned and our troops ordered to return to camp.
Our loss in this affair was: Killed, 1; wounded, 24; missing 16. Total casualties, 41. The loss of the enemy must have
been severe, as we were occupying good positions all the time and well covered, while they used the open ground for
their deployment. They have taken a number of wagons from the people to carry off their dead and wounded. Among
the wounded that fell into our hands are two lieutenants, who will die.
To Capt. R.O. Selfridge, A.A.G., Cav. Div., Army of the Miss.
Official Records, Series I, Vol. 17, Part One (pp. 19-20).
…I do remember that I was greatly amused at the accounts given of it then and since. The facts are these: General
Withers was ordered to move with his division of infantry from Tupelo to Ripley, Mississippi, and I was ordered to
move with the cavalry to protect his right flank from attack by the enemy, who then held the Mobile and Ohio railroad
from Booneville up to Corinth…In making the attack at Booneville, I used but three regiments, Wirt Adams’ Mississippi
regiment, Clanton’s 1st Alabama, and the 1st Confederate under Col. Wm. Wade. Col. Sheridan made a gallant
resistance, but fell back before us, as our command was largely superior to his in number. When beaten in front, Col.
Sheridan made a spirited attack from our rear, which was repulsed by a squadron of Wirt Adams’ regiment under
Capt. Isaac Harrison of Louisiana…His attack at Blackland, and his resistance against superior numbers at
Booneville, showed the courage and genius of a true soldier. But to say that he with 728 men routed 4,000
Confederate cavalry is simply ridiculous.
James R. Chalmers
Be Sure to Visit our Main Page on the Battle of Booneville, Mississippi
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