162 Rossí Texas Brigade

In the progress of the fight with McCook, Lieutenant

T. J. Towles, of Company G, Third Texas Cavalry, was

dangerously wounded, and remained, for some time,

within the lines of the enemy. Says Lieutenant Towles:

"As I was sitting, with my back to a tree for support,

my clothing saturated with blood, from the loss of which I

was very faint and weak, General McCook, accompanied

by some members of his staff, halted in front of me, and

the General remarked: 'Major, you appear to be suffering.'

I replied that I thought I was mortally wounded, and

requested surgical aid. The General replied that he could

not even give his own wounded the necessary attention,

and said, apologetically: 'You have been a soldier long

enough to know how these things are, and you must not

think hard of me.' He wished to know what forces were

opposing him on the immediate field. I replied that he

could form as correct an estimate of their numerical

strength as I could, as the divisions of Jackson, Wheeler,

and Roddy were present; whereupon, he remarked to his

staff: 'We must get out of this!' and immediately rode

away."

This revelation of Lieutenant Towles explains the

panic with which McCook's men were seized, when

General Ross, soon after, bore down upon them in the

headlong charge which routed and dispersed them. Too

much praise can not be accorded this brave officer for his

fortitude and loyal devotion to his country's cause, though

suffering from excruciating pains that amounted to agony.

Captain Towles is now a prosperous merchant of Camden,

Van Zandt county, Texas, and is worthy the homage of all

Rossí Texas Brigade 163

who love the true, the noble, and the brave. Long may his

voyage of life be fanned by the breezes of prosperity, is the

wish of his friend, the author. Lieutenant T. J. Towles was

long the brave, vigilant, and efficient commander of the

brigade scouts, and a such, was the eyes and ears of the

command. In the discharge of this hazardous service, he

won the confidence of his commanding general, and we

always slept with a sense of security when the faithful

Towles was on duty. Lieutenant Dan. H. Alley performed

a similar duty for the division commander, General W. H.

Jackson, and was always equal to any emergency that

might arise. Of him we have spoken elsewhere.

 

 

 

154 Rossí Texas Brigade

The lines of Sherman were now fast closing around

Atlanta, yet the wily old chief of the Confederates

disputed, stubbornly, each inch of ground, and every

advance of the Northern army was dearly paid for.

Sherman became impatient, or doubted the eventual

success of his movements in front, and had recourse to

cavalry raids in the rear of the Confederate position, with a

view to cutting their lines of communication. General

McCook, with an expeditionary force of cavalry

numbering about 5,000, passed the left flank of the

Confederate position, and gained the rear; but so closely

was he pursued by the Texas Brigade and the Eighth Texas

Cavalry (the Terry Rangers), that but little opportunity

was allowed him to destroy the railroad. Finally, he was

brought to bay near Jonesboro, and attacked so vigorously,

that his forces were demoralized, many were captured,

and the remainder put to flight.1 Not being fully satisfied

with the result of McCook's failure, General Sherman

dispatched General Kilpatrick on a similar mission.

The Legion was on picket. This brave old regiment,

handled by its gallant Colonel, John H. Broocks, contested

the ground to the last, but was compelled to yield to

overwhelming numbers, and Kilpatrick turned the flank of

the Confederate position, and proceeded to the rear; but

the vigilant Ross soon had his men in the saddle and in

pursuit. A little after daylight, Ross struck the enemy in

the flank, and inflicted considerable loss on him. But the

innumerable attacks made on this raiding column by Ross'

Brigade, are now impossible of description. Suffice it to

say, that no opportunity for attack was allowed to go

unimproved. Finally, Kilpatrick attempted to enter

Rossí Texas Brigade 155

Lovejoy Station, and finding a division of infantry there,

retired. General Ross had formed his brigade in the

enemy's rear, expecting to be supported by the brigades of

Cosby and Ferguson-neither of which put in an

appearance. Finding the infantry too strong for him, and

meeting with an unexpected attack from Ross in the rear,

Kilpatrick attempted to intimidate the Texans by a furious

shelling, and then charged through the line-a feat by no

means remarkable, when we consider that Ross did not

have exceeding five hundred men, and Kilpatrick as many

thousands. Add to this the fact that the Texans were

dismounted, and armed with short guns-not having a

bayonet in the brigade-and it will not be wondered at that

they did not repulse a cavalry charge of ten times their

number. Ross lost two or three men killed and wounded,

and about thirty prisoners, many of whom escaped the

first night.

Scarcely had the charging column passed the line,

when the indomitable Ross had his bugler to sound the

rally, and, in an incredibly short space, renewed his

unceasing attacks upon the enemy's rear. From this time

on, Kilpatrick found no rest, and, evidently, was bent upon

the sole plan of making the best of his way out of a bad

scrape. He was somewhat more fortunate than his

predecessor, McCook, and made Sherman's lines in pretty

good order. As the author was captured in the charge at

Lovejoy Station, the remainder of the narrative is told as it

was told to him. Nothing like a minute description has

been attempted in the hasty tracing of the Georgia

campaign. Each day was a battle, without characteristics to

distinguish it from the battle of the day before, or that of

156 Rossí Texas Brigade

the next day; and that campaign, being, as it was, one

series of contests, will always defy the efforts of the

conscientious historian. He may deal with it in the

concrete-in the abstract, never.