No. 70. Report of Major John H. Foster, Third Ohio Cavalry, of skirmish near Corinth, Miss., May 9.
HDQRS. THIRD REGIMENT OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY,
Camp near Corinth, May 9, 1862.
SIR: In compliance with your orders of May 8, 1862, I proceeded with two companies (L and M) of the Third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry to relieve two companies of the same regiment on picket duty on the Corinth road, about 5 miles from Corinth. On coming up to the companies on duty I inquired of Captain D. C. Doane, the officer in command, for instructions where to place my pickets. He said he was instructed to place them across the mud-hole, as he called it, the other side or south side of the woods, but had not done so, not considering it safe to do so. I then went across the branch and mud-hole, and discovered four men in an open field near the house. I rode up, and found 2 men of General Buell's staff and 2 of General Nelson's staff. I went on to a Mr. Lee's, half a mile beyond there, and ascertained by Mr. and Mrs. Lee where the enemy's pickets had been, and that they had drawn them in that day. I returned to the Shoeff house, where I first saw the officers of General Nelson's staff. They requested me to accompany them to General Nelson. I did so. He informed me he should occupy the Farmington road with a regiment of infantry, which road was in my front, and left of the Shoeff house and part of the farm, which I was told was the place where Captain Doane was ordered to place his pickets. General Nelson also said he should place his pickets from the Farmington road to the left side of the Corinth road, half a mile in advance of the Shoeff farm, where, I was informed, was my place to put out my pickets. He suggested that I continue on his right my line of pickets to the Purdy road across the Lee farm, which I did.
At 1 o'clock next morning I was informed that General Nelson was drawing in his pickets. I sent out and drew in mine from the Purdy road and placed them on the Farmington and Corinth roads, and they remained there until driven in by the enemy.
About 9 o'clock on the 9th instant two companies of the Third Ohio Volunteer Cavalry came up to relieve us, under the command of Major James W. Paramore, and before I gave him orders in regard to placing his pickets that I had received our pickets were fired on. I sent a squad of men to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy. They reported about 350 men near Lee's house, across the branch and mud-hole, firing at our pickets. We were then four companies strong (or parts of companies) of cavalry, and at that moment Colonel Innes, of the Mechanics and Engineers, came up and a company of his men. He sent them on the Corinth road toward Mr. Lee's house, and I sent one company of cavalry (Company L, Third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry), and soon the skirmishing commenced. Three companies of infantry came up, and in the mean time Major Paramore had ordered his two companies across the mud-hole, half a mile in the rear. I ordered them back to Shoeff's farm, formed a line, and prepared to sustain the men who had gone forward. Colonel Innes took his men (three companies) to the right and toward the Purdy road, to prevent the enemy from flanking us and to get in their rear if possible. I was to remain on the Shoeff field, and to give support to the two companies