194 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.
for Shelby. As fast as their horses could bring them, Shelby and his division returned, passed through the mob of panic-stricken men, and almost before the Federals knew it presented a firm front to them. During the day Shelby rode down horse after horse, trying to bring some sort of order out of the chaos, all the time keeping his eye on the movements of the enemy, fighting and checking them whenever he could, without hazarding a general engagement. Just before sundown he got all the men possible in line, opened with his artillery and offered the enemy battle. In one sense it was a bluff, but Shelby had a habit of making his bluffs good. The enemy brought their artillery into action and seemed inclined to accept the challenge, but Shelby had sent John T. Crisp, with a crowd of men whom he had succeeded in getting together, around an extensive elevation in the prairie, and these appearing in a position to threaten the enemy's flank, he halted, hesitated, and then slowly and sullenly retired.
Except for an hour that night, when many wagons were burned and great quantities of ammunition were destroyed, the army did not halt until it had marched 65 miles and reached the vicinity of Newtonia. All this time Shelby was in rear covering its retreat. When he reached Newtonia he informed General Price that a column of the enemy, probably 5,000 strong, was not far behind him. General Price discredited the information. But Shelby held his division in readiness to meet the enemy. He was determined to fight and end the question of the pursuit then and there. He chose his position judiciously and waited. There was no useless delay on the enemy's part nor on Shelby's. As soon as Blunt came up he attacked (October 28th). Shelby repelled his attack and charged him. For a half or three-quarters of an hour the fighting was terrific, then the Federals began to give way, and in an hour from the time the first gun was fired Blunt was in full and rapid retreat. Shelby made the fight alone