War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0478 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

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they found themselves surrounded-the first intimation they had of an approaching enemy. Notwithstanding this surprise many of the troops behaved nobly, refusing to be paroled, and, after making their escape from the enemy, attacking him without regard to their relative strength. From the enemy, attacking him without regard to their relative strength. Conspicuous among this latter was the Second Illinois Cavalry, which was stationed here at the time. Our loss here will probably amount to $400,000 of property and 1,500 men taken.

As soon as I learned that the rebel cavalry had moved north from Pontotoc and that Colonel Dickey was safe I ordered all the cavalry that could be spared for the purpose (about 1,500 men) to pursue the enemy, and not leave them until they were captured or completely broken up. They found them near Bolivar, and were close upon their heels all day yesterday, compelling the enemy to change his course southward,killing and capturing quite a number. Last night the Federals and rebels encamped near Saulsbury, and I presume the pursuit is still going on. General Hamilton sent a brigade of infantry, with one battery, to Salem, to operate against the enemy if he should return by that route. Have also sent the remainder of the cavalry force that returned from the expedition to the Mobile road, to intercept the enemy wherever he may attempt to cross the banks of the Tallahatchie. I yet hope the enemy will find this a dearly-bought success.

I am now occupying the line of the Tallahatchie, with the strongly guarded, to the rear, waiting for communication to be opened, to know what move next to make. It is perfectly impracticable to go farther south by this route, depending on the road for supplies, and the country does not afford them. Our immense train has so far been fed entirely off of the country, and as far as practicable the troops have been also. For 15 miles east and west of the railroad, from Coffeeville to La Grange, nearly everything for the subsistence of man or beast has been appropriated for the use of our army, and on leaving our advanced position I had the principal mills destroyed.

The expedition under Colonel Dickey was quite successful. White out he captured about 200 rebels with a fair proportion of horses, arms, and equipments; found large quantities of corn collected on the Mobile road, which he destroyed; also a few cars. The road was completely broken up from Saltillo to south of Tupelo. Reports as they are handed in to me will be duly forwarded.

U. S. GRANT.

Major-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 27, 1862.

Major-General GRANT, Mississippi:

I think no more troops should at present be sent against Vicksburg. I fear you have already too much weakened your own force. Concentrate and hold only the more important points.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

HDQRS. THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS, DEPT. TENN.,

Holly Springs, Miss., January 2, 1863.

SIR: Herewith I inclose you reports of General Dodge and Colonel Mersy, of the Ninth Illinois Infantry, of our expeditions from Corinth, on the Mobile and Ohio road.*

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*See raid on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, etc., December 13-19, post.

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