Number 66. Report of Major General S. A. Hurlbut, U. S. Army, commanding Fourth Division, of engagement at Hatchie Bridge, with congratulatory orders.
HDQRS. FOURTH DIVISION, DIST. OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Bolivar, Tenn., October 10, 1862.
MAJOR: In obedience to orders from district headquarters my entire command, re-enforced by the Sixty-eighth Ohio and Twelfth Michigan, from General Ross' command, started at daylight on October 4 for Corinth by the route of Middleton and Pocahontas. The command moved in light, marching order, with three days' provisions and one wagon to a regiment, exclusive of ammunition wagons. One battalion of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry was assigned to each brigade.
There was no interruption of our march until we reached Middleton, where the advance cavalry, under Major Hayes, encountered a considerable force of rebel cavalry, together with a number of dismounted riflemen, covered by the thick woods and brush that intervened between Middleton and the Big Muddy. The Second Battalion of the cavalry was ordered to the front, and Major Hayes was directed to clear the woods and keep the enemy moving rapidly, so as to secure the very dangerous levee across the Muddy. This was done in very handsome style, and so rapidly that the enemy had no time to destroy the bridges.
The infantry column was steadily moving up, and just before sundown the First Brigade, commanded by General Lauman, crossed the Muddy and established camp on the hills on the east side in order of battle. Night and the difficulties of the road compelled the Second Brigade, under General Veatch, to encamp on the west side.
The cavalry made an ineffectual effort to reach the Hatchie, but I soon perceived that the force in front was too heavy to be driven in by cavalry alone, especially cavalry badly armed for this peculiar service, and I ordered them back under cover of the infantry.
On the morning on Sunday the command of General Veatch, consisting of his own brigade, the Sixty-eighth Ohio, and Twelfth Michigan, crossed the Muddy as soon as the track was passable and were ordered forward. The road toward the Hatchie is in many places exceedingly narrow as well as the artillery caissons into an open field on the right, that the column might be unencumbered.
A heavy firing had been heard for some hours on Saturday in the direction of Corinth, and as it was not renewed in the morning I was satisfied that I should not advance far without meeting a strong portion of the rebel army either victorious or in retreat.
At about 8 a.m., after these dispositions had been completed, Major-General Ord arrived upon the ground and assumed command. The column moved forward and was soon sharply engaged with cavalry, infantry, and artillery, constituting, as I afterward learned form prisoners, Moore's brigade, of Maury's division. Under Major-General Ord's command these troops, with the re-enforcements that joined them, were rapidly driven in for more than 4 miles without heavy loss on either side. The particulars of the movement will fully appear in the report of General Veatch.
A battery of four 12-pounder howitzer was taken, the horses having been destroyed by the fire from Bolton's and Burnap's batteries.
The enemy endeavored to make a stand near the bridge, but were scattered or driven across it.
20 R R-VOL XVII