Jones Crossroads is also known as Vincent's Cross Roads south of Bay Springs, Mississippi. The mission of the 1st Alabama Cavalry was to break the rail lines in and around Montgomery, that were supplying the Confederate Army around Chattanooga and Chickamauga. However, the Confederate forces in the area knew every move the Regiment made by use of spies and scouts.
John R. Phillips wrote about the battle in his autobiography "My Life Story", I must warn you that his memory does not match the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Wheeler's Command that Phillips refers to was actually General Sam Ferguson's Cavalry Brigade and Major M.D. Moreland's Albabma Cavalry Battalion. Phillips wrote;
"The first engagement that was worth speaking of was in Miss. We were the whole regiment, had two small howitzers,wagons, teams, and pack mules with tools on them to tear up the R.R. tracks. Of course, none of us knew where we were going nor when we would come back. We were all loaded down with ammunition and bountiful supplies. We started south when we got to the line of Walker Co., Ala. we got orders to turn back which we did and met Gen. Wheeler's command with five thousand men, who were sent out in pursuit of us. We had stopped for dinner, just about noon, and about the time we had been commanded to eat our lunch the pickets opened fire and we got ordersto mount.
I remember havingmy pancake about ready to turn when the bugle blew to mount. Instead of turning it over in the pan I just turned it over the pommel of my saddel, with the cooked side up, mounted and went to eating on the crust as we were preparing to go on in my first fight. We felt like we could whip the whole Rebel Army. Our first line was down in an old field. Just north of us in a thicket of under brush were the Rebels and on the right of our artillery. We were placedthere to protect our artillery on that side. We could not see the Rebs for the under-brush, but they were firing into us volley after volley. Some of our company were slightly wounded in that line. Our artillery was busy shelling the road. We had orders to fall back a quarter or a half mile south, and were also orderedƒn to dismount and form a line on the right; our artillery had fallen back also.
The Rebels then came in sight and we began to do some shooting in good earnest and held them in check for awhile. However, the Rebs soon brought up their artilleryand began to rain constant shot among us.
We were then ordered to mount which we, or I, found very difficult to do. As the fourth number was kept on horseback to hold horses and that was my numberƒn I persuaded Clint Tittle to take my place holding the horses
and I went into battle in his place. There was so much confusion and so much going on that it was some timeƒnbeforeƒnI found my horse.I was looking for Clint and he was looking for me. When I got myhorse I was almost exhausted, as I was loaded down with ammunition. However, I felt good when I was again mounted.
We fell back from time to time, formed lines, and defended ourselves as best we could while retreating. Thiscontinued until dark, butƒna little before sunset we came to a creek where theƒnroad seemed to give out. Here we found ourartillery deserted and did not see any way of crossing the stream. The banks were from six to eight feet high an perpendicular. The Rebs were pressing forward at every breath. I plunged my horse off a steep bank, into the creek and he commenced pawing and trying to go up on the opposite bank. I slid off of him in the water and assisted him all I could, and as he went up the bank I caught him by the tail and went out with him. Lieut. Emerick's horse went in the creek a few below where mine went in, and broke his neck. I do not know what became of Lieut. Emerick as I saw him no more during the engagement. I then mounted my horse and started up a long hill. Every one that I saw seemed to be excited and confused. Finally, I came up with a squadofsoldiers who had formed a line of defense, headed by old uncle Sim[eon]Tucker, a private, who was calling everyone that passed to fall in line.Many were too badly excited ƒnto stop although his gun was pointed in their faces.
As soon as I saw Uncle Sim in his shirt sleeves and bare-headed, my energy was renewed and I rode up by his side and said, "Uncle Sim, I will die by your side".
Soon all of our men had passed us, at least those
who could not be prevailed upon by us to stop and fall in line. The Rebels came in sight in pursuit of us. Uncle Sim gave orders to not fire a gun until they got near enough for each one of us to get one of them. They were led by a large man, riding a gray horse.I took a good aim at him and when the smoke went up I saw him fall backwards off his
horse. I think the whole bunch of us shot at him, as every one that I talked to afterwards claimed the honor of shooting him.
We then retreated to a good position and waited for another attack and continued this until dark. At one time in making the retreat my horse ran astride a sapling that lifted his hind legs off of the ground, and I fell off of the right side of him. My left footcaught in my baggage and ammunition bag on the rear of my saddle and my right hand on the ground.In this condition I struggled for a while but finally I regained my position in my saddle.
By this time the Rebels were in a few yards in front of me shooting at me continually. I just fell over in my saddle and reached after my horse with my spurs and soon caught up with my companions. About dark we, about fifteenor twenty of us, who had been engaged in these skirmishes came up with a bunch of our comrades. There were perhaps fifty of them huddled together looking at something.
I saw our First Lieutenant Perry fell dead off of his horse. I was told afterwards that he was shotthrough the heart. Another fell dead in the line. I heard the word"Surrender" from one, so I just pulled back my horseand started west, the opposite direction from them. Going down in a hollow I looked up a ridge in front of me and could see between me and the sky a lot of mounted men, who I was sure Rebs. About this time four or five soldiers came down the hill the way I had come. I called their attention to what I saw and we all concluded they were the enemy. Our chance then was to go down that hollow far enough to avoid danger, then go west far enough to avoid contact with theenemy, and then turn north to get back to our lines. We
had to leave our horses and side arms as we did not see much chance of getting away withoutƒn being captured with our horses.
Before day we passed through a corn field and each of us secured an ear of corn, and that was about all we got to eat for the next three days.It was estimated that we did not have more than five hundred men in this engagement.The writer had a talk with General Wheeler about this engagement. He said that he had made preparations to capture every one of us, that he knew our number and our whereabouts that he had never met a brave and determined set before. To his great surprise, he did not capture a single prisoner.
Some twenty odd men were killed, most of them were officers. Going back to when we made our escape. When daylight came we discovered one of our bunch was a Rebel soldier who was trying to make his escape into Union lines.
So he remained with us. There were five of us in this bunch and we were three days getting back to our lines. During this time we were without food, and passed through large swampsandwaded water that was sometimes up to our necks. We had to stay hidden all of one day between two roads, where we saw hundreds of Rebs pass us".
As I said Mr Phillips memory was not exact. The 1st Alabama Cavalry had over 160 killed, missing or captured. Ironically, several of the men who were captured ended up at Andersonville. The 1st Alabama recovered from the disaster and the next year Company I of the Regiment was selected by General Sherman as his Escort in the March to the Sea.