war

George Brock Sale (1845 – 1933) and his brother Lieut. Henry T. Sale served in Co. B, 7th Tennessee Cavalry.  “Brock” was severely wounded and disabled at Harrisburg.  A merchant and postmaster who named the town of Munford before moving to Covington.  A writer, Methodist and temperance champion, Brock was the father of prominent Covington physician and land owner Dr. William Wooten Sale.

The night of July 14,1864 was “thrilling” for Tipton’s soldiers in Colonel James J. Neely’s Brigade, according to John Johnston:

“Night came on…lighted with a brilliant moon...Our skirmish line was pushed forward, supporting a reconnoitering party from our Brigade under…(Lieutenant Colonel Raleigh) White.  About midnight our men pushed close on to the enemy’s line, when they opened fire apparently along their whole front.  The roar and crackling of their guns was something terrific and the moonlight air was filled with their thrilling music….This heavy firing was an attack made on the extreme left of their line by Rucker’s Brigade—led by General (N. B.) Forrest in person.  But little damage was done by all this fusillade….The night passed…and we laid down behind our…fortifications and went to sleep, guns in hand.”

Orderly Sergeant James Marshall (1839-1927) of Company C, 12th Tennessee Cavalry, was severely wounded in the thigh, probably in this night skirmish. Confirming Johnston’s account, General Forrest wrote:

“I ordered (E. W.) Rucker’s brigade (with Tipton’s men in the 7th Tennessee) to report to me mounted, and with it I moved to the right…the enemy’s left…By meandering through the woods I approached very near his camp before he discovered my presence.  I ordered my men to open fire upon him, and the first line fell back to their main body.  Then they opened upon me one of the heaviest fires I have heard during the war.  Returning to camp, I ordered General (Abraham) Buford to move to the right with his division… (on the Verona road).”

Union forces began their retreat toward Memphis at noon on the 15th.  Forrest, with about 5,000 men pursued. He caught up with them at 2:00 p.m. near Old Town Creek, four miles from Tupelo.  The brigades of Tyree Bell and Edward Crossland attacked the Federal rearguard.  Forrest, while riding to an advanced position with Rice’s Battery, received a gunshot wound through his right foot. General James Chalmers assumed command of the pursuit.

J. P. Young notes Rucker’s Brigade and the 7th Tennessee were engaged:  “The 15th was spent in constant combat with the enemy…on the 16th the regiment was ordered forward in pursuit, and skirmished lightly for two days to the vicinity of Kelly’s Mills and New Albany.”

Tipton’s men in Neely’s Briagde were active on the 15th.  John Johnston writes:

“Early the next morning, just about the time the sun was rising, Gen. Forrest came walking along our line from the left, waking the boys up, shaking some of them with his foot.  ‘Get up, you lazy rascals,’ I heard him say as he gave the boy just to the left a shake with his foot and passed on by me.  ‘Get up you lazy rascals—You have been over in Alabama so long you have gotten lazy—Get up the Yankees are right over there in the woods.’  This he said in a pleasant tone of voice…

“About the middle of the afternoon our whole line was moved forward, in line of battle, over the field, through the woods and cornfield beyond, expecting at any time to meet the fire of the enemy.  Our line of march carried us some distance south and east of Harrisburg and across the Verona Road.  On reaching the lines of the enemy, we found that they were all gone.  Not a gun was fired.   We had marched for more than a mile, in line of battle and the weather was intensely hot.  Halting down in some woods near Tupelo, a detail was made out to go back to the battlefield to bury the dead…”

Continued next week

Jeff Ireland is The Leader's sports editor. To contact him, call 901-476-7116 or email jireland@covingtonleader.com.​

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