I called upon General Villepigue for some infantry to aid in attacking the garrison at Grand Junction and destroying the railroad above that place; but as the enemy left Grand Junction on the night of the 23rd and 24th ultimo, the same night our troops left Abbeville, I ordered the infantry to return as soon as they had created the impression that a general advance of our forces was intended in the direction of West Tennessee. The enemy left about 200 bales of cotton at the Junction, which was destroyed the next day.
My plan was to menace the enemy at Bolivar, burn the railroad bridges between that place and Jackson and above Jackson, then concentrate at Wellwood and attack Jackson, destroying the stores and cotton at that place. Before reaching Bolivar by about 10 miles Colonel Jackson's regiment was ordered back by General Villepigue, leaving me with but 500 men. All the ferries over the Hatchie River had been destroyed by the enemy, which obliged our troops to swim or ford.
While driving in the enemy's pickets on the northwest and south of Bolivar we so thoroughly shut them in as to enable us to send out a large number of squads of men to burn cotton which had been seized or purchased by the enemy. This we continued to do during the entire expedition, burning in all about 3,000 bales, a great part of which had been sold to the enemy and much of which had been transported to their strong posts; but so great was their alarm that they allowed us to burn cotton undisturbed almost within sight of their intrenched positions.
I sent a man into Bolivar before attacking their pickets to inform the commanding officer that a large force was advancing, which so increased their alarm as to cause General McClernand to re-enforce Bolivar from Jackson and Humboldt with about 3,000 men and to call for further re-enforcements from Corinth, which were promptly sent to him, and also to keep their troops under arms for more than two days and nights. A few hours after the Federals had passed from Jackson to Bolivar the railroad bridge and telegraph wire across Clover Creek were burned and the Federal guard kept at bay by a detachment under Colonel Pinson, and the next night we so succeeded in drawing off the enemy as to enable another detachment to drive off the guard above Jackson and burn a high trestle work for a distance of 20 yards at a point about 8 miles above the said place. The telegraph was also destroyed a considerable distance. In this we were aided by a company of 23 Partisan Rangers under Captain Henderson, who reported to me for duty as I entered Tennessee. In crossing the river this detachment was attacked by the enemy and at first thrown into confusion, but they soon rallied and drove the enemy from the field.
In this engagement some men and horses were taken by the enemy, but they were recaptured by us in an engagement the following morning, at which time we thoroughly defeated the enemy, capturing 40 prisoners, with their arms and horses. We also attacked the enemy near Middleburg, drove them from the field, capturing prisoners, horses, arms, wagons, and 300 bales of cotton en route to Bolivar. The cotton was burned and other property brought to our lines. We also captured the block-house and destroyed several large railroad trestles and tore up the railroad for many miles.
Having received orders from department headquarters to return with all the command except one small regiment, I was obliged to abandon my intention of making a demonstration upon Jackson, and therefore returned immediately by way of Somerville to this place, arriving on the evening of August 1.