last night, and the guns and commissary stores destroyed. We are in possession, but propose proceeding to-day toward Memphis. I report by mail.
G. N. FITCH,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
Commanding District of Mississippi.
FORT PILLOW, TENN., June 5, 1862-4.30 a.m.
On June 1 a laborious reconnaissance was made, which developed the fact that behind Flower Island, parallel with the chute between that island and the main shore, an approach to Fort Pillow could be made by infantry to Cole Creek, within 30 yards of the enemy's outer works and near the junction of the creek and Flower Island chute. At this point nothing but the creek offered any obstacle of moment, the earthworks of the Confederates being only from 2 to 4 feet high, they apparently relying upon the creek and adjacent swamp for protection.
The following morning this reconnaissance was renewed and its results verified, and it was also ascertained that at the point where Cole Creek could be crossed not a gun from the batteries could be brought to bear, while the ridges in the rear of and overlooking the fortifications would enable our infantry to approach and command them.
On the third morning three companies of this command, under Major Bringhurst, of the Forty-sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, was ordered to open a road parallel with the chute, secreted from observation by the timber on Flower Island and the main-land. He was like-wise instructed to make and launch into the chute, 2 or 3 miles from the fort, a rude bridge, in sections, of cypress logs, taken from a cabin convenient. The orders were to complete the work and encamp on the ground, with a view of removing the remainder of the command that night toward the fort. Unfortunately, four of Colonel Ellet's rams, not knowing this detail had been sent forward, dropped around Craighead's Point, for the purpose of observation, and were fired upon by the enemy, and the shot, overreaching the boats, fell in the vicinity of the working party in the woods, whereupon the major commanding deemed it prudent to retire and abandon the work.
It being too late after this unfortunate movement to do anything more that day, Captain Schermerhorn, of the Forty-sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, was ordered the next morning, with a detail from that regiment and the Forty-third Indiana Volunteers, to finish the contemplated works. This he promptly accomplished undiscovered by the enemy, constructing the bridge and laying out a substantial road to within 200 or 300 yards of the enemy's intrenchments. All the troops were ordered on board the transports the same evening, with the intention of surprising and storming the fort, and all arrangements perfected for having a combined attack between the land forces and the gunboats last evening; but appearances, as well as the statement of a deserter last evening, made us apprehend that the enemy was evacuating. Therefore, instead of marching by the contemplated route, I dropped down at 3 a.m. with a small party on one of the transports (the Hetty Gilmore), preceded by open row-boats, containing Captain Sill and Lieutenant Troxell, with a few men. We dropped directly but cautiously toward the fort, and found our apprehensions verified. The