BETHEL, May 5, 1862.
Major GEORGE WILLIAMSON,
MAJOR:A party of the enemy's cavalry, 20 or 30 strong, came to the railroad this morning below where my pickets are stationed, and commenced tearing up the track. They were fired upon at Farron's Mill and run off some rails on the bridge and some below. I send a hand car down the road to Corinth to find out what the damage is and report it. I do not think it is much. I started down there at the first alarm with my regiment, and sent Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer around on the Ripley road to intercept them. He has not yet returned.
Another party has now come in by Purdy, and are skirmishing with the pickets. Their object seems to be to destroy this road. They are led on by a man by the name of Hurst, who knows every by-path in the country. By going through the woods with small parties they can tap the railroad anywhere they choose out of reach of my pickets, as they did this morning. I would respectfully suggest that companies of infantry stationed at all the bridges between there and Corinth would effectually protect the road from small parties, whom I now believe to be constantly hovering around to destroy it. They have also torn down the telegraph wires for some distance.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. J. LINDSAY,
Colonel, Commanding [Mississippi Cavalry].
Camp Foote, near Purdy, May 5, 1862.
Major [GEORGE WILLIAMSON]:
I sent you a letter this morning by a land car, and for fear it should not reach you I send you this by a courier:
This morning about 10 o'clock a party of the enemy's cavalry, about 30 strong, came through the woods to a point on the railroad 1 1/2 miles below where my pickets were stationed. They tore up some rails and cut some of the ties and uprights with axes. They attempted to destroy the bridge where the pickets were stationed, but were fired upon and run off.
I immediately marched my regiment down there, and directed Lieutenant-Colonel Brewer, with his command, to take the Ripley road and cut them off. Colonel Brewer did so, but failed to find them, they having gone through the woods the way they came.
In the mean time another party drove in our pickets in front of Purdy and engaged our attention there. I returned toward Purdy with my command, after leaving a company to scout down the railroad. I think it is the intention of the enemy to cut this road. They are led on by a man by the name of Hurst, who knows every by-path in the country. They can with small parties tap the railroad for miles south of this and do the damage before we can get to them.
I shall keep scouts constantly on the railroad, but would respectfully suggest that it will take companies of infantry scattered along at different points to protect the road effectually.
The Jackson train was fired upon and forced to return. The road is