feeling for information), and when the enemy fired our cavalry broke and fled in disorder and in a manner not at all creditable to themselves or our army. You are desired to express General Buell's disapprobation of the behavior of the part of your command referred to, and to make known to your entire command what is expected of them under similar circumstances in future. Please report what companies were on duty which General McCook yesterday.
The working party of Michigan Engineers and Mechanics left their tools, took their guns, after the cavalry fled, and drove back the enemy.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES B. FRY,
Colonel and Chief of Staff.
No. 69. Report of Colonel William P. Innes, First Michigan Engineers, of skirmish near Corinth, Miss., May 9.
HDQRS. 1ST REGIMENT MICH. ENGINEERS AND MECHANICS,
In the Field, May 12, 1862.
SIR: Your letter of the 12th instant, inclosing copy of a letter from Colonel E. M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, in which shame and cowardice are imputed to certain parties composing the outposts or working party of part of Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, Twenty-ninth Indiana, and First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, is duly received,* and in reply I will only say I totally deny any such charge when made in reference to the regiment I have the honor of commanding.
The skirmish to which you refer occurred about 10 a.m. first between the cavalry only and the enemy. After the firing commenced, I drew my men up in line, and marching across an open field, in which were stationed some, I should say two full companies of cavalry, I spoke to the major commanding them, and stated to him I would proceed into the woods, do the best I could with the enemy, and would rely upon them to charge upon them provided I had to fall back; he promised to do so, I proceeding in the woods, and after some firing the enemy seemed to retire. At this particular time one of my men,who was stationed with my reserve, came to me and informed me we were all alone in the woods, the cavalry and infantry of the Twenty-ninth Indiana and Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania had left the field and had been gone some time. Finding myself and command alone, I gave the order to retreat, and did so in perfect order, and returned to my work in the swamp. They might have been around there, but they certainly were not in the open field when I returned from the woods.
With respect, I remain, sir, your obedient servant,
WM. P. INNES,
Colonel, Comdg. First Regiment, Michigan Engineers and Mechanics.
Colonel J. B. FRY,
Chief of Staff, &c.
*Letter not found; its inclosure was probably a copy of report No. 68.
53 R R-VOL X