Although General Smith and the Union troops had defeated
the Confederates on July 14, according to Sherman's orders.
Smith should have attacked Forrest and Lee in an attempt to
destroy the Confederate cavalry. Examining his supplies that
evening, however, Smith learned that he was running Row
rations and ammunition. He concluded that a withdrawal
was in order.
The Union infantry began marching north on the morning
of July 15, and skirmishers were deployed to cover the
withdrawal. In the meantime the cavalry was ordered to lay
waste to several miles of the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Once
the withdrawal was discovered, Confederate cavalry pursued
and caught up with the Federals that afternoon at Old Town
An attack by Confederate cavalry and artillery from high
ground caught the Union soldiers off guard as they were
fording the creek. Federal troops recovered quickly, however
and pushed back the attackers. General Abraham Buford's
division was completely routed, and General Forrest was shot
in the foot. The Confederates pulled back, and the Federals
bivouacked here for the night before continuing their return
Smith had not only accomplished his primary mission
of keeping Forrest away from Sherman's supply line in
Tennessee, he had crippled Forrest's command. The combat
of General Abraham Buford's Confederate
division was destroyed. General Lee wrote, am sure he
Forrest did the best as he saw it. I am sure I did my best
as saw it."
"I drove the enemy's rear before me to the creek bottom, with considerable loss.
... The support I was expecting not arriving, and the force of the enemy
being so much superior to my own, I was forced to withdraw."
Confederate general Abraham Buford