Tipton’s cavalry soldiers: battle at Wyatt, Miss. Oct. 13, 1863 conclusion; and killing in Covington:
Before the Federals left Wyatt, they burned the entire village. Another column went through Chulahoma and burned that town.
In a letter to his son, Mississippian J. H. Nelson wrote: “They (Yankees) burned and destroyed every thing on their route back to Collierville.”
Capt. D. C. Fort and 20 men of the 2d Missouri cavalry were detailed to pursue the Federals. Fort wrote: “Whenever these Yankee raids would fail to whip our smaller armies they were stimulated by revenge to vent their spleen upon a defenseless and inoffensive people by robbing, burning, insulting and murdering.
“The next morning, Oct. 14, 1863, Hatch’s troopers scattered throughout the country by companies, burning as they went. A strip of country about five miles broad, directly through the heart of the most beautiful section of Marshall County was on that day laid waste and in flames.”
That night Hatch’s command retreated to the plantation of Matt Cox (Galena Plantation), 12 miles west of Holly Springs “when he burned the country folks’ food and dwellings as he went…”
On Oct. 16, Gen. William T. Sherman wrote to Gen. S. A. Hurlbut, commanding district of Memphis: “I am not satisfied with Hatch’s management. I hear of no collision, of no killed. He seems to hover round when he should dash in with saber and pistol. If we allow Chalmers, with that force, to neutralize your whole command, we deserve defeat, for it is bad management and want of caution on our part.”
In his reply to Gen. Sherman, Hurlbut wrote: “The escape of Chalmers and Richardson is disgraceful. I yet have no particulars. The cavalry alone should have broken them and captured their ill-served artillery. The infantry lay up two days at Hudsonville, and by want of concert and want of spirit the enemy got off…guerrillas are thickening up there (Coldwater) and expect Richardson with his force to-day to move on the river…”
In reporting on his success, Gen. James R. Chalmers claimed Union casualties and prisoners were 320 for the 10 days of the “Collierville raid.” He reported his losses were 128 casualties for the entire raid including the four battles in Mississippi. Gen. U. S. Grant arrived in Memphis on the morning of Oct. 14, en route to Cairo, Ill. via steamboat. The future president steamed past Randolph on his journey.
That same day, Gen. Sherman wrote a Union naval officer at Cairo: “I have no doubt the rebels have every man that is in the southern confederacy now armed against us, and the most desperate struggle of the war must be expected. A large proportion of their men is forced; still we know the vindictive feelings that animate the whole people and should not be blinded by any false theories. You have almost finished your job, and can and will, doubtless, with infinite pleasure help us who must live whilst we penetrate the very bowels of their land.”
The porch of the Townsend House Hotel (site of old Roper Drug Store) in Covington was the scene of a fight between two men on Oct. 1, 1863.
Anthony Isaac Bledsoe, ex-Confederate in Maley’s Co. C, 1st Tennessee heavy artillery, had served at Fort Pillow, near his home. The other combatant was former Tipton Probate Judge A. W. Smith of Covington, who had four sons in the Confederate army. Both men accused the other of taking the Federal Oath of Allegiance. The argument grew more heated when Bledsoe slapped Judge Smith. Smith pulled out his pocketknife and stabbed Bledsoe twice.
Bledsoe died the next day.