War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0055 Chapter XXIX. SKIRMISH AT OLIVE BRANCH, MISS.

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negroes left Poplar Corners before the cavalry and notified the guards at the big bridge south of Humboldt, reaching there about one hour before the cavalry got to the bridge below. Colonel Bryant, by his promptness, got to the bridge about the time the train did and saved it. The guerrillas fired at the train but did no damage. The guards retreated toward Humboldt, thus giving the train no notice. I think they must have been surprised.

I am rather astonished that no block-houses are built at any of those bridges for the protection of the guard.

Colonel Bryant followed them with his mounted infantry. They are at least 200 strong, and if he overtakes them before they reach their main body he will whip them. I am supporting him from this place. I trust you will do all in your power to get horses for my cavalry. I suffer every day for want of them.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Assistant Adjutant-General, Columbus, Ky.

SEPTEMBER 5-6, 1862.-Scout toward Holly Springs and skirmish at Olive Branch, Miss.

Report of Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, Sixth illinois Cavalry.


Memphis, Tenn., September 8, 1862.

GENERAL: In accordance with your letter of instructions of September 4 I left camp with 160 mounted men of my command and proceeded on scout. After crossing the Nonconah I could hear of no force of the rebels to the east of that neighborhood, but upon receiving information that there were two companies of cavalry at Hernando I moved upon that place, arriving a little before daylight upon the morning of the 5th.

We immediately dashed into the town, picketing the approaches thereto, but upon investigation found that the enemy had left a day or two before for Coldwater Bridge. Here I arrested 12 men, and having 15 or my command whose horses were unfit for further rapid travel I sent them with the prisoners, under Lieutenant Nathaniel B. Cunningham, of Company G, to Memphis, who, however, were subsequently fired upon by a party of guerrillas when within about 12 miles of thank place. Lieutenant Cunningham was immediately killed, but his detach was avenged by a detachment sent out under Major Loomis by your order.

After seeing the departure of the detachment with the prisoners I started toward Holly Springs. Soon after leaving Hernando, receiving information that 20 guerrillas were concealed in a large field near by awaiting our departure, we drove them from their hiding place toward Coldwater, after which we bore off to the left from Holly Springs road by a by-lane until we came upon a road leading toward Pigeon Roost road, passing Robinson's Cross-Roads and moving toward Olive Branch. We encamped 1 mile west of that place for the night. Our rations having given out, I sent Major Stacy with about 80 men toward Germantown, about a mile, to procure breakfast, I with the balance of the men remaining near the place of encampment, where we had break-fast