very feeble. A couple of shells put an end to a brisk skirmish of some twenty-five minutes, and the bridge (the break in which, of 30 feet, was just completed) was abandoned to its fate.
The trestle work on both side was more of the same. It, as well as some of the road, was totally destroyed. Railroad men in the command asset that, with a fully supply of mechanics, the damage cannot be repaired in less than six weeks, and with their facilities three months. The saw-mill at which the lumber was sawed was also burned.
I then returned to this post, marching at the rate of 20 miles per day from the time of starting.
I have to return my sincere thanks to Captain Taylor, and Lieutenant Pitzman, topographical engineer of General Sherman's staff, for the great assistance they so willingly rendered me. The Sixth Illinois Cavalry, Colonel Grierson, behaved admirably. Inclosed please find Colonel Grierson's report and list of killed and wounded. The First Brigade sustained no loss. Company A, Chicago Light Artillery, Captain Wood, is unexceptionable.
Your obedient servant,
M. L. SMITH,
Brigadier-General Volunteers, Commanding Detachment.
Captain L. M. DAYTON,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
Report of Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, Sixth Illinois Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY,
Memphis, Tenn., September 13, 1862.
GENERAL: In accordance with Major-General Sherman's instructions I left camp Monday evening, 8th instant, at 6 o'clock, with 350 men, and reported to you on the Pigeon Roost road, beyond Nonconah Creek, and by your order encamped 1 mile southwest of your line for the night. On the morning of the 9th proceeded to Olive Branch, Miss., made a number of arrests, sending the arrested back to you; then moved on toward Holly Springs. When 2 miles from Olive Branch my advance came upon 10 or 12 of the enemy, firing upon and pursuing them. After a distance of about 1 miles was passed they turned to the succeeded in killing 1, wounding several, and capturing 1.
After a forces march of some 4 or 5 miles we halted a few minutes and then moved forward more cautiously, the rebel pickets being frequently in sight. Soon they bore off to the left upon a road leading southwest, crossing Coldwater in the direction of Cockrum's Cross-Roads, we following them closely, and when within 2 miles of the latter place came upon the enemy in force, consisting of portions of Jackson's and Pinson's regiments of cavalry and two companies of Mississippi mounted infantry, numbering in all between 800 and 1,000 men, strongly posted in a well-chosen position, guarded by broken ground and heavy timber, leaving a deep ditch or gully between them and us.