A Confederate Soldier’s Story of the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads

As my last article was a Federal soldier’s account of the Battle of Brice’s  Crossroads, it seems only fitting that my next post should be a Confederate soldiers view of the same battle. I found this article in the Southern Sentinel (Ripley, Mississippi) October 10, 1895:

When the train slowed up to the Ripley Depot one day last week, an old man seated in the rear coach roused up when the trainsman

Photograph of an unidentified Mississippi cavalryman - it was hard fighting men like this that made Forrest's victory at Brice's Crossroads possible - Library of Congress.

Photograph of an unidentified Mississippi cavalryman – it was hard fighting men like this that made Forrest’s victory at Brice’s Crossroads possible – Library of Congress.

called out “Ripley.” “So this is Ripley?” Said he interrogatively “changed up smartly since I came through here with Forrest about 30 years ago; times have changed too. Then there was a rattle of small arms and the smoke of battle going up instead of the peaceful hum of industry.”

“So you were with Forrest in his pursuit of Sturgis? asked a Sentinel reporter who had entered the car during this soliloquy. “Yes, and many other times,” said the old veteran. “I belonged to the —– Kentucky mounted infantry.  It was at first in Buford’s brigade but when he was promoted to major general  was commanded by Gen. Lyons.  Lyons commanded us at Brice’s X roads.  I tell you that was a hot fight.  A time or two I begun to think the tide was going to turn against us, but we had great confidence in old Bedford Forrest. I tell you we tore them Yankees all to pieces that day.  It was the biggest victory I ever had a part in.  We captured scads of wagons, ambulances and so on, and as for guns, why it seems to me we got all they had. We did get all their cannons, capturing the last piece right here in the edge of Ripley. There was a Yankee killed over in that yard,”  said the reporter,  pointing to Mrs.  C. E.  Hines’ yard.

“Oh! t there were Yankees lying all along the road from here to the X roads and beyond here,  for we followed ’em  to Salem,”  said the old veteran.  “I’ve been up to the old Kentucky,”  said he after a pause. I went up to see my brother at Louisville.  It was in the time of the Yankee Grand Army  was there.  I went out the first night to see the fireworks close up to the river.  The machine they had throwing ’em at up exploded and killed three men.  I was right close by myself. I never enjoyed the show after that.  Fact is I don’t like them Yankees much nohow;  fit ’em  too long I reckon.  I try to like ’em,  because it’s all the fashion now to bury the hatchet,  but it’s an uphill business I tell you .”

“I live down in Pontotoc County now,” said he in answer to a question. “Met up with a girl down there during the war that pleased my fancy.  She was foolish enough to think pretty well of me so I come back and married her after the war.  I’ll never go back to Kentucky to live any more.  Twouldn’t  suit me up there anymore;  times have changed awfully and it don’t seem like home to me anymore.”

Unfortunately,  Confederate soldier  that wrote this account  of the Battle of  Brice’s Crossroads  did not  identify himself or give his complete  unit.  We do know from the article that he belonged to a Kentucky mounted infantry  regiment  in Colonel Hyland B. Lyons brigade. There were three Kentucky mounted infantry  regiments  in that brigade:  the 3rd, 7th, and 8th. Our writer belonged to one of these units, but which one will remain a mystery.

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