On Thursday, Sept. 10, 1863, while General Forrest was at Lafayette, Ga., he was ordered to Ringgold for the purpose of checking the enemy, reported to be marching in large force in that direction. Picking up about four hundred of his command, he marched off with all the promptitude of his ardent and enthusiastic nature. Here he found Vanclave’s corps, consisting of seventeen thousand infantry and cavalry. Skirmishing immediately commenced, General Forrest fighting them at every step, as he slowly fell back. For two days did the unequal conflict continue, and notwithstanding the disparity of numbers, the loss on either side was about the same. General Forrest retired to Tunnel Hill about four o’clock, and in an hour the enemy was in sight, when one of the most gallant and thrilling incidents of the war occurred. The enemy’s advancing column marched on,–right on,–and the cloud of dust and the huge paraphernalia which they displayed made them look indeed “terrible as an army with banners.” On reaching the apex of the hill, a short pause was perceptible; but skirmishers being thrown out on the right and left, on they came. In every ambush, behind every knoll, and house, and tree, could be seen a blue-coat, slyly, cautiously sneaking up like a hungry wolf in search of its prey. General Forrest levelled his trusty gun at the nearest one. The smoke from his gun seemed only to exasperate the infuriated foe, and to inspire them with anxiety either to capture or destroy the small but defiant squad of Confederates, and for this purpose a hundred guns opened upon them, while a dozen Yankees rushed across the railroad for the purpose of getting still closer. As they crossed the track, General Forrest looked still farther up, and he saw a couple of Confederate soldiers coming down the road, unaware of the approach of the enemy, and the immediate danger that surrounded them. The impudence of the Yankees that had crossed the railroad, and were seen crawling in the woods, together with the peril that surrounded the two Confederate soldiers approaching, was more than General Forrest could stand. Hastily calling to his side five of his escort, he told them that his imperilled soldiers must be rescued, and that the insolent squad that had crossed the road must be captured. With coolness and self-possession, but with a loud and cheering shout, he ordered his little squad to the charge. In the midst of the iron hail that rained upon them, they rushed on. Every man forgot his own danger. The soldier stooped over his musket, or leaned upon his horse, absorbed in the scene. Dressed in a huge duster, General Forrest, as he dashed on in his fierce purpose, looked infernal. There was a sudden pause; then their heads were curtained in by the wreathing smoke of their own guns. The Yankees were seen retreating back across the road, and the Confederate soldiers rescued from death. From the hill-side a volley of musketry was now poured upon the small squad. Having accomplished their purpose, they turned to retreat, but three of the seven were wounded. A ball struck General Forrest near the spine, within an inch of the wound he received at Shiloh, inflicting a painful but not dangerous wound; while two of his escort were wounded–one in the back of the head, the other in the arm.–Marietta Rebel.
Originally posted 2008-11-25 01:10:31.