and pursuit of a party of guerrillas on the 26th instant, on the Rienzi and Ripley road.
From a deserter and the prisoners taken I learn that eleven companies, under Falkner, left Ripley on Sunday, the 24th instant, and passed north near Corinth, avoiding all roads and traveling principally nights. They skulked and spied about through the woods, captured 7 of our men, who had straggled out from Corinth, and then approached this place with great caution, supposing it to have been evacuated except by a small cavalry force.
That morning three battalions of our cavalry had gone on a scout to the southeast, south, and southwest, and it is probable that Falkner's party had been apprised of this through spies. This led them to suppose our camp was vacated and that they would be able to dash in and destroy it. The result of their audacity you will learn from the accompanying report.
Our pickets on the Ripley road I fear did not exercise proper vigilance, although they were attacked and nearly surrounded by a superior force. I have arrested the officer, and he is now on trial.
The rebel scouts to the south as far as Twenty Mile Creek seem to have disappeared of late. Our patrols in that direction on the 26th neither saw nor heard anything of them. They have I think changed their base of operations to the west, either for the purpose of covering some movement or foraging. Is it not possible for Kossuth to be held by either infantry or cavalry from Corinth?
The front I am trying to cover extends from Bay Springs to Ruckersville, and the enemy have five cavalry to my one; know every cowpath and water-hole, and the country is filled with their friends, from whom they can obtain every kind of information as to our whereabouts, movements, and strength. Further, they travel no more on roads unless it is a short distance in the wrong direction to deceive us; shirk about in the night and lie hidden in the day-time. There is no doubt but what every man in this State who has a gun is a guerrilla, and would shoot any of us down whenever he thought it safe to murder us without risking his own neck.
Two things are most necessary and important: First, there must be some definite and fixed policy on our part to combat and break up this most infernal guerrilla system of theirs; it is bound soon to waste our entire army away and for no equivalent. We must push every man, woman, and child before us or put every man to death found in our lines. We have in fact soon to come to a war of subjugation, and the sooner the better. Second, it is now becoming apparent to every one that our present cavalry force must be quintupled and armed to the teeth. The small cavalry we have is not properly armed, and the extraordinary hard duty it is called to do is fast breaking it down. The way I am forced to use it on our present extended front through the terrible heat, dust, and want of water will in one month more dismount a large portion of it.
Our duties have been so laborious of late that this morning I was only able to send out a single battalion, so much jaded and reduced are our horses. However, with what we have we will do our best and husband our resources as much as possible. If we break down we belong to "Uncle Sam," and he must take the consequences.
The race and drubbing Sheridan gave them day before yesterday you don't seem to think much of; and perhaps my first telegram was a little too highly colored, but it was the most disgraceful route and scatteration on their part I ever heard of, and that a goodly number were killed