removing their sick and valuable stores, and had sent away on railroad cars a part of their effective force on the night of the 28th, but of course even the vast amount of their rolling stock could not carry away an army of 100,000 men. The enemy, therefore, was compelled to march away, and began the march by 10 o'clock on the night of the 29th, the columns filling all the roads leading south and west all night, the rear guard firing the train which led to the explosion and conflagration, and gave us the first real notice that Corinth was to be evacuated. The enemy did not relieve his pickets that morning, and many of them have been captured, who did not have the slightest intimation of the purpose.
Finding Corinth abandoned by the enemy, I ordered General Morgan L. Smith to pursue on the Ripley road, by which it seemed they had taken the bulk of their artillery. Captain Hammond, my chief of staff, had been and continued with General Smith's brigade, and pushed the pursuit up to the bridges and narrow causeway by which the bottom of Tuscumbia Creek is passed. The enemy opened with canister on a small party of cavalry, and burned every bridge, leaving the woods full of straggling soldiers. Many of these were gathered up and sent to the rear, but the main army had escaped across Tuscumbia Creek, and farther pursuit by a small party would have been absurd, so I kept my division at College Hill until I received General Thomas' orders to return and resume our camps of the night before, which we did slowly and quietly in the cool of the evening.
The evacuation of Corinth at the time and in the manner it was done was a clear back-down from the high and arrogant tone heretofore assumed by the rebels. The ground was of their own choice. The fortifications, though poor and indifferent, were all they supposed necessary to our defeat, as they had had two months to make them, with an immense force to work at their disposal. If with two such railroads as they possessed they could not supply their army with re-enforcements and provisions, how can they attempt it in this poor, arid, and exhausted part of the country?
I have experienced much difficulty in giving an intelligent account of the events of the past three days, because of the many little events, unimportant in themselves, but which in the aggregate form material data to account for results.
My division has constructed seven distinct intrenched camps since leaving Shiloh, the men working cheerfully and well all the time night and day. Hardly had we finished our camps before we were called on to move forward and build another, but I have been delighted at this feature in the character of my division and taken this method of making it known. Our intrenchments here and at Russell's, each built substantially in one night, are stronger works of art than much-boasted forts of the enemy at Corinth. I must also in justice to my men remark their great improvement on the march, the absence of that straggling which is too common in the volunteer service, and, still more, their improved character on picket and as skirmishers. Our line of march has been along a strongly-marked ridge, followed by the Purdy and Corinth road, and ever since leaving the "Locusts" our pickets have been
fighting-hardly an hour night or day for two weeks without the exchange of hostile shots; but we have steadily and surely gained ground, slowly to be sure, but with that steady certainty that presaged the inevitable result. In these picket skirmishes we have inflicted and sustained losses, but it is impossible for me to recapitulate them. These must be accounted for on the company muster rolls. We have taken many