alry, well posted, about 1 1/2 miles north of Ruckersville, who were prepared to dispute, and did dispute, the advance of our infantry skirmishers; but a few shots and shells from Powell's battery, judiciously thrown, put them to flight, and the town was entered without further opposition. Here I was joined by Colonel Lee's brigade of cavalry, with a section of artillery and a small body of infantry. As his troops were fresher than mine, I directed him to push on after the retreating column and I would follow within supporting distance.
After resting a short time the command started for Ripley, Colonel Lee in the advance, skirmishing more or less with the enemy, the firing at some points being quite brisk for a few minutes. On reaching a point 2 3/4 miles north of Ripley the main column halted at 10 p. m. to permit the country to be thoroughly reconnoitered, especially on our left flank, where it was reported the enemy had concentrated a large force. In the mean time Colonel Lee was instructed to push forward his skirmishers, cautiously but surely, to ascertain if possible the position and design of the enemy and whether he intended to give battle. The cavalry skirmishers moved forward and entered the town about 11 p. m., the place having just been evacuated.
The reconnaissances at night and in the morning early having shown that the enemy was not in force on our flank, the main column moved forward through Ripley and took up a position about half a mile south of the town, on the Pontotoc road. Here my command remained two days and a half, one day after the other division (Generals Stanley's and McArthur's) had left, it having been decided not to pursue any farther.
Strong reconnaissances of cavalry, supported by artillery and infantry, were sent out on the Salem and Oxford roads and a small cavalry force on the Pontotoc road, but without meeting the enemy, except small straggling parties of men, who either gave themselves up without resistance or fled on our approach.
Friday night my division started back on the return trip via Crum's Mill and Smith's Bridge, the advance guard of infantry leaving town about 11.30 p. m. and the rear guard at 2 a. m. Saturday morning, Colonels Lee's and Hatch's cavalry remaining over another day and instructed to return by different routes. The division marched back slowly, bringing with it all the teams and Government wagons on the road, and reached Corinth Sunday evening just before dark (with the exception of Colonel Stevenson's brigade, which was detached near Jonesborough, to return via Pocahontas and Davis' Bridge, and came in the next day at 10 a. m.) During the march we captured and sent to the rear over 270 prisoners.
This is a brief history of the part taken by my command in the pursuing the enemy for a distance of 52 miles without transportation, and part of the time without provisions except such as could be gathered along a road already plundered by a retreating army, and all this without a word of discontent. They were always ready to move forward at the command and anxious to overtake the enemy.
The engineer detachment, under Major Tweeddale and Captain William Hill, rendered most efficient service, repairing bridges and removing obstacles, thus enabling the pursuit to be a prompt and rapid one.
Cols. M. K. Lawler and J. D. Stevenson, each commanding a brigade, behaved with the utmost coolness, gallantry, and discretion-prompt
24 R R-VOL XVII