Colonel Claiborne not to fire the other bridge. He sent word he would not, and, if possible, to put out this one; but by this the bridge had fallen in and was destroyed. The bridge man told me he could erect trestles in a short time (say in one and a half days) if the other bridges were not burned. After the Tuscumbia Bridge was burned the engine returned to Chewalla, where the trains had all stopped, and then they returned to Cypress Bridge; but before getting there Colonel Lindsay had burned this bridge, as I am informed.
No. 97 Report of Lieutenant John S. Prather, Second Mississippi and Alabama Cavalry, * of burning of Cypress Creek Bridge, May 30.
Near Birmingham, Miss., June 21, 1862.
SIR: In obedience to an order, this day received, I have the honor to offer the following report as to the burning of the railroad bridge over Cypress Creek, Tenn.:
On the night of May 29 Captain Jeff. Falkner, commanding at Cypress Bridge, received an order from Colonel A. J. Lindsay, commanding at Chewalla, of which the following is a true copy:
Chewalla, Tenn., May 29, 1862.
Captain Falkner, commanding at Cypress Bridge, will immediately bring his company and Captain Elliott's company of infantry to Chewalla. Captain Falkner will leave Lieutenant Prather and 10 men, with orders to burn the railroad bridge over Cypress at daylight in the morning. Lieutenant Prather will see that the bridge is thoroughly burned, and then proceed to Kossuth, due south of Chewalla.
A. J. LINDSAY,
P. S.-Do not burn the bridge until daylight; many trains will pass to-night.
Captain Falkner made the detail in accordance with the above order, at the same time ordering me not to burn the bridge until nearly or quite sunup, another courier having arrived in the mean time with a verbal order from some colonel commanding infantry at Chewalla not to burn the bridge until the train or trains had passed. The captain then left to join his regiment, and at or near sunup a gentleman came down on an engine with another verbal order, this time purporting to be from Colonel Lindsay, ordering me not to burn the bridge until all the trains had passed. The same gentleman proceeded without delay to the officer commanding at the next railroad bridge, a short distance below me, with the same order. He soon returned and reported that the bridge below had already been destroyed, thus presenting an effectual barrier to the further passage and escape of our trains in the direction of Memphis. Hence I could see no good reason why my original and only (then) written order should not be obeyed at once. But in order that no blame should be attached to me, I requested the courier to report to Colonel Lindsay as soon as possible and I would await further orders. An hour or so after I received the following order, by courier, from Colonel Lindsay, the original of which was also inclosed you in former report made you by Captain Falkner:
*Eighth Confederate Regiment.