BOONEVILLE, June 8, 1862.
It is impossible in our present position to gain reliable information in regard to the enemy's movements, and nothing of importance of any kind has been obtained since that which I telegraphed you on the 6th. Our cavalry find their pickets in about the same position. The probability is that they are leaving Baldwyn. To ascertain the fact, I propose to advance about five divisions to-morrow at least to near Twenty Mile Creek, by different roads, toward Baldwyn, driving the enemy out of Blackland. This may develop that they are so weak as to abandon the creek and Baldwyn on our approach, or else show us what stand is likely to be made there. At present we are some 14 miles from Twenty Mile Creek and 17 miles from Baldwyn, though of course our pickets are nearer. We shall suffer here both for the want of water and for its bad quality, and it will be but little better farther on.
D. C. BUELL,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE OHIO, In Camp, June 8, 1862.
Major-General JOHN POPE,
Commanding Army of the Mississippi:
The purpose of the advance ordered for to-morrow is first to drive the enemy beyond Twenty Mile Creek and reconnoiter the creek, for the double purpose of ascertaining the condition of the crossings and the dispositions and force of the enemy preparatory to a final attack. The dispositions for this object have already been determined at our interview to-day, but it may be proper to recapitulate them more formally:
Nelson's division will move from Richard Smith's through Blackland. Sherman's will move on the road which runs south about 500 yards east of Smith's, past Bramlette Spring and Lindsay's farm. Davies' division will move on the same road to where it leaves the Booneville and Blackland road, and there be held in reserve.
Crittenden will take position in reserve in front and to the right of Smith's, on the roads from Smith's to Blackland and from Smith's to Ripley.
You will send two brigades of your force on the road from Booneville to Baldwyn, on the west side of the railroad; two divisions on the road between the same points on the east side of the railroad, one of them to be held in reserve where that road forks, some miles from Booneville, the other to move forward on the two forks. At least one regiment of cavalry will be thrown out on the Jacinto and Baldwyn road and the road between that and the main Booneville and Baldwyn road.
The several columns will move at 5 o'clock in the morning. The advance columns will move with a strong force of skirmishers and take strong positions about a mile north of Twenty Mile Creek. The skirmishers will then move forward with strong reserves, driving in the enemy's advanced posts, if any are met, and hold the line of Twenty Mile Creek, and halt there till the proper reconnaissance is made and orders are given for subsequent movements.
The corps not designated to advance will be held in readiness to move
18 R R-VOL X, PT II