been explained to me, I here maneuvered my forces so as to leave the enemy in doubt whether my purpose was to attack Columbus, march upon Camp Beauregard, or to destroy the railroad leading from Columbus to Union City, and to awaken apprehension for the safety of each. While the rear of the column was still resting in Milburn I countermarched the portion of it advanced beyond that place, taking the road beyond Milburn leading north to Lovelaceville, and followed in proper order by the rear of the column, pushed on some 4 miles on that road, and encamped. Giving out that the object of the countermarch was to encamp for the night on favorable ground near water in the vicinity of Milburn, the latent purpose of my change of the direction of my march was completely concealed. In the mean time, to increase the deception, in pursuance of my order, Lieutenant-Colonel McCullough, with the Fourth Cavalry, made a demonstration some 5 miles in a westerly direction on the road from Milburn to Columbus, and there again heard that Camp Beauregard was broken up, and that the enemy had retired within his entrenchments at Columbus, and soon after I heard that he had destroyed the railroad bridge across the Obion, which, if true, must be attributed to fear that it was my intention to seize and control the railroad in the rear of Columbus. Sending forward Captain Wemple, with his company of the Fourth Cavalry, to Mayfield, I communicated with General Smith, commanding the column that marched from Paducah, placing him in possession of a dispatch from Brigadier-General Grant, and giving him information of the report that Camp Beauregard had been abandoned. Captain Wemple and his command joined me the next day.
On the 17th our whole force advanced north 8 miles to Lovelaceville, throwing forward strong pickets to guard the approach from Columbus by Hayworth's Bridge. On the 18th my command was marched in two columns by different roads in a westerly direction, and encamped for the night about a mile from Blandville, except the Twenty-ninth Regiment and part of the baggage train, which, in consequence of the heavy rains of the previous night and the miry roads, were unable to come up. Riding back, I disposed of the regiment and train so as to secure them against danger. On the 19th the Twenty-ninth and the remainder of the train came up, the march of the former continuing as far as O'Neal's Mill, before mentioned, where, with a section of Schwartz's battery, they encamped for the night, disposing the force so as to command the approach from columbus by the bridge at that place. During the same day I also sent forward the Tenth Regiment and another section of Schwartz's battery to occupy another approach from Columbus by the Blandville Bridge. These dispositions were made anticipatory of an advance by the enemy, of which I had heard a report, and still further to insure our safety I placed strong pickets above, at Hayworth's Bridge, instructing the officer in command to remove some of its plank so as to render it temporarily impassable.
Admonished by the reported advance of the enemy and the exposure of my left flank for its whole length during the march of the next day, I dispatched a courier during the night of the 19th to communicate with our forces at Fort Jefferson, and to suggest that the pass at Elliott's Mill should be occupied by an adequate force to prevent my return to Fort Jefferson from being cut off. The courier returned with a message from Colonel Marsh, commanding the Twentieth Illinois, informing me that all our forces except mine and his own had embarked for Cairo, but that he would remain and hold the pass until I came up, unless otherwise ordered.
At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 20th the main body of my forces