lines, and sedulously avoided the separation of his corps, which he advanced with uncommon caution under cover of heavy guns, strong intrenchments, constructed with unusual labor and with singular delay, considering his strength and our relative inferiority in numbers.
The transparent object of the Federal commander had been to cut off my resources by destroying the Mobile and Ohio and the Memphis and Charleston Railroads. This was substantially foiled by the evacuation and withdrawal along the line of the former road, and, if followed by the enemy remote from his base, I confidently anticipated an opportunity for resumption of the offensive with chances for signal success.
Under these plain conditions, on the 26th ultimo, I issued verbally several orders, copies of which are herewith, marked A, B, and C, partially modified subsequently, as will be seen by the papers, &c., herewith, marked D, E, F, and G. These orders were executed, I am happy to say, with singular precision, as will be found fully admitted in the correspondence, from the scene, of the Chicago Tribune, herewith transmitted. [Inclosure I.]
At the time finally prescribed the movement commenced, and was accomplished without the knowledge of the enemy, who only began to suspect the evacuation after broad daylight on the morning of May 30, when having opened on our lines from his formidable batteries of heavy and long-range guns, erected the night previous, he received no answer from my direction; but, as our cavalry pickets still maintained their position of the previous day, he was not apparently fully satisfied of our movements until some stores, of little value, in the town were burned, which could not be moved. It was the, to his surprise, the enemy became satisfied that a large army, approached and invested with such extraordinary preparations, expense, labor, and timidity, had disappeared from his front with all its munitions and heavy guns, leaving him without knowledge, as I am assured, whither it had gone; for his scouts were scattered in all directions, as I have since ascertained, to inquire what directions our forces had taken. Even now, indeed, I have reason to believe the Federal commander has little knowledge of the position and disposition of my main forces. But for some unfortunate and needless on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad of some five trains of box cars (three miscellaneously freighted and two empty) in passing beyond the bridges over the Hatchie River and its branches, which in the plan of evacuation had been directed to be destroyed at a certain hour in the morning of the 30th ultimo, not an incident would have marred in the least the success of the evacuation in the face of a force so largely superior. It was, however, through a too rigid execution of orders that these bridges were burned, and we were obliged to destroy the trains as far as practicable and burn the stores, including some valuable subsistence; to what extent will be more precisely reported as soon as practicable.
The troops moved off in good spirits and order, prepared to give battle if pursued; but no serious pursuit was attempted. Remaining in rear of the Tuscumbia and its affluents, some 6 miles from Corinth, long enough to collect stragglers incident to new levies, my main forces resumed the march, and were concentrated at Baldwin with rear guards left to hold the bridges across the Tuscumbia and tributaries, which were not drawn back until the evening of the 2nd instant.
While at Rienzi, half way to Baldwin, I was informed that on the morning of the 30th ultimo a detachment of the enemy's cavalry had penetrated to Booneville, 8 miles south of Rienzi, and had captured and