|Unidentified Confederate Cavalryman|
(Library of Congress/Liljenquist Family Collection
of Civil War Photographs)
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
May 23, 1862
Our cavalry are now pouring over the Tennessee, and soon Huntsville and Columbia will be in our hands.
Scott's exploits on the road between Tuscumbia and Athens are the most brilliant on record. Attacking the 19th and 24th Illinois regiments, a battery of artillery, and Zimmerman's cavalry, near Tuscumbia, Captain Fenelton Cannon, of Scott's Louisiana regiment, killed, wounded and captured fifty or sixty. Captain Cannon's force was one hundred men, of which not one was materially hurt.
Pressing forward, Scott crossed the Tennessee and Elk rivers, and with 160 men attacked the 18th Ohio regiment, 700 strong, at Athens, and routed them, killing, wounding and capturing 100, taking their camp, tents, ammunition, wagons, horses, provisions, etc, also 105 muskets.
Capt. John Williams pursued one detachment to Elkton, and Capt. Cannon burnt the Limestone creek bridge, ten miles from Huntsville — throwing off twenty car loads of coffee, sugar, rice, etc., which he also burnt — killing 20 and taking 7 prisoners.
Scott's ammunition now gave out — no reinforcement came up, and Mitchell came on him from Huntsville with 8,000 men.
In the face of this force, Scott re-crossed both Elk and the Tennessee rivers, driving back the 4th Ohio cavalry, 400 strong, who attacked his rear guard, killing their Colonel and 16 men.
This daring feat is worthy of record, from the fact of Scott's crossing into rivers on frail flats, and leaving them in the rear whilst he attacked five times the number of his force.
The rejoicing of the people of Athens and the vicinity was great. The ladies turned out in great crowds and presented Col. Scott with a Confederate flag.