Chewalla, Tenn., May 30, 1862.
Lieutenant Prather will immediately burn the railroad bridge over the Cypress, and when that is effectually done he will report with his command.
A. J. LINDSAY,
Feeling that I now had no further discretion in the matter, and that it was my duty to obey the order at once, I immediately order my men to apply the torch, and soon the bridge was in flames.
After the bridge was effectually burned, the last order from Colonel Lindsay leaving me in some doubt as to whom and where I should report, I proceeded with my command to Chewalla; but finding the place evacuated and the colonel gone, I went to join my company at Kossuth, and then and there reported to Captain Falkner, not being able to find Colonel Lindsay.
Most respectfully submitted.
JOHN S. PRATHER,
Lieutenant Co. B, Second Mississippi and Alabama Cavalry.
No. 98 Report of Colonel R. B. Hurt, C. S. Army, Military Superintendent of Railroads, of the destruction of bridges, &c.
FARM-HOUSE OF R. M. GUNN,
Near Egypt Station, Miss., June 8, 1862.
MAJOR:Your dispatch of to-day, asking for a report from me about the disaster of cars on the Memphis and Charleston road, is received. I am sorry that I am not well enough to be at my office, as I have papers there referring to the evacuation of Corinth by the army. I do not know that I have any information on the subject of your dispatch, as I had not received any intimation from any quarter that the bridges on that road were to be destroyed.
Several days before the evacuation General Hardee wrote me a note (I think marked confidential) requesting me to notify the officer in charge of the guard at Tuscumbia Bridge, on the Mobile road, when the last train had passed over, as he had ordered the destruction of the bridge. I informed Captain Avery, commanding a company of the guard, that I would be on the last train, and would stop and notify them in person. I did so, and saw the torch applied as our train moved off.
I cannot now remember the hours at which the trains sent west on the Charleston road left, as they were leaving at different hours through the night. The last two trains left about sunup-one of a single engine and tender and the other an engine and 6 or 7 cars, two of which had been used by the employed of the railroad company as boarding cars, and it is my impression that but little Government property was on the train. The assistant superintendent (C. S. Williams) of that road had no notice of any purpose to destroy the bridges that I know of. I think the loss of property at Corinth and at General Van Dorn's camps would have been very light but for the unexpected demand, at an hour when it was too late to replace them, for 20 cars to send Colonel Orr and 1,000 men down the Mobile road.