Report of Major General James B. McPhersion, U. S. Army, commanding Provisional Division, of operations October 3-12.
HEADQUARTERS ADVANCE DIVISION,
Corinth, Miss., October 11, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to make the following report concerning the operations of the advance:
I left Columbus on Friday morning, the 3rd instant, having just been informed that the railroad was torn up between Corinth and Bethel and that the freight train had been fired into and possibly captured. On reaching Jackson I reported to Major-General Grant, and after consulting with him sent orders to the Engineer Regiment of the West, stationed at that place and employed on railroad service, to hold itself in readiness to move at 4 p. m., with the arms and tools, for rebuilding bridges and repairing tracks; left Jackson at 4.30 p. m. with 270 men of this regiment and reached Bethel about 8 p. m.; saw Colonel Haynie, commanding the post, and ascertained from him that fighting had been going on nearly all day between Chewalla and Corinth, gradually approaching the latter place, and that the railroad track was torn up in several places, but could get no definite information as to the extent of the damage. Colonel Haynie also informed me that two regiments under Colonel M. K. Lawler had marched from Bethel at 4 o'clock that afternoon to drive out some rebel cavalry who were never the line of the railroad about 8 miles north of Corinth.
Shortly after my arrival at Betherl I received an order from Major-General Grant stating that two regiments under Colonel J. D. Stevenson, Seventh Missouri, would leave Jackson that night on the cars, and that on their arrival at Bethel I was to assume command of them, together with the two regiments under Colonel Lawler and two companies of West Tennessee Cavalry under Colonel F. Hurst, and push on to Corinth. Orders were immediately sent to Colonel Lawler that re-enforcement would join him near Chambers', about 8 miles from Corinth, and that he was to await our arrival at that point. At daybreak, the troops having arrived from Jackson, the trains were started and run down 12 miles south of Bethel, where the command was disembarked and took the wagon road on the east side of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad for Corinth. Here the cannonading at Corinth could be heard distinctly, giving evidence that a heavy battle was going on. The command was hastened forward, the men stepping out at a quick pace, notwithstanding the intense heat of the day and the prospect of a march of 15 miles before them, all hoping to get in time to take part in the contest. On reaching Chambers' I came up with Colonel Lawler, whose command had halted for a short time, the advance having skirmished some little with rebel cavalry near this point. It was soon ascertained that they were only straggling parties and that there was no force of the enemy near. The whole force at my disposal being now united, we pushed on for Corinth, meeting with on opposition, and marched into town about 4 p. m., and found that the enemy had been most signally defeated and was in full retreat. In obedience to orders the command bivouacked in the town, and shortly after daylight Sunday morning started in pursuit of the enemy on the road north of the railroad to Chewalkla, having been increased by Captain A. M. Powell's First Missouri Battery and four companies of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry under Captain Smith. When about 6 miles from Chewalla heave firing was heard