Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVIII.
BATTLE OF SALTVILLE -- (Continued) -- CAPTAIN JENKINS IN THE FEDERAL REAR -- ARRIVAL OF GENERALS BRECKINRIDGE AND ECHOLS--DUKE'S, COSBY'S AND VAUGHN'S BRIGADES--KILLING THE NEGROES.

ACTIVE firing ceased at 5 P. M. Really the enemy had been hopelessly defeated early in the afternoon, but dared not retreat, as we commanded the road through Hayters Gap, which was the hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle, the road from Saltville to Laurel Gap being the perpendicular, and the road thence to Kentucky the base. Given an even start with the enemy we could easily cut them off by taking the Hayters Gap Road, as they would be compelled to retreat by way of the perpendicular and base of the right- angled triangle. They contented themselves as best they could by simply holding their position, a mile from the Saltworks, until night.

Our artillery had been well served--solid shot and shrieking bombs doing horrible execution in the dense assaulting columns. One rifled cannon near the church was especially well trained, fired rapidly, and was very effective against the column that attacked Trimble at the ford. One shot killed a major and a captain. At another time a few well-directed shots stampeded a Federal line advancing around the end of Chestnut Ridge.

It will be remembered that Captains Bart Jenkins and T. M. Barrett had been sent to Jeffersonville to guard our flank before the enemy had reached the plantation of General Bowen. Captain Barrett succeeded in returning to the command before the enemy passed the Jeffersonville Road, but Captain Jenkins was cut off. As the sequel proved it would have been to our advantage had Captain Barrett been forced to remain with Jenkins. There would then have been an annoying force in the enemy's rear. The genius, celerity and daring of Jenkins and the cool imperturbability

-204-

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