War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0493 Chapter XXIX. MISSISSIPPI CENTRAL RAILROAD.

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mand of his brigade, consisting of the Third Michigan Cavalry and the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, under Colonel Grierson, which had reported that morning from Major-General Sherman's wing of the army. Colonel Mizner was ordered to send the Sixth Illinois Cavalry to scour the country to the west as far as the Tallahatchie, reporting by courier directly to Major-General Grant, and to hold the Third Michigan in Oxford, ready to support at a moment's notice, either Colonel Lee or Colonel Hatch. Having made this disposition of my command I remained in Oxford in communication with both columns. Very soon after Lee's brigade left the town Colonel Hatch reported that he had overtaken the enemy 3 miles from Oxford and was skirmishing with the rear guard, advancing steadily. At once a courier was dispatched to Colonel Lee, advising him of the fact and directing him to move cautiously and guard well his right flank. This courier lost his way and was taken prisoner. About the same time your note enjoining caution and ordering caution and ordering me to push the enemy was far as possible was received.

At 9 o'clock p.m. on December 3 couriers brought advices that Lee had crossed the Yockna, or Yocknapatalfa, on the Paris road, about 8 miles due south from Oxford, having driven the enemy from a burning bridge and repaired it. About the same time a dispatch from Hatch reported that the enemy had burned the bridge on the main Coffeeville road and had thus far successfully resisted his attempt to cross; that he had been skirmishing most of the day and was at the Yockna, and the enemy in considerable force on the opposite bank. At once orders were sent to Lee to move cautiously, bearing to his right, down the river, and to co-operate with Hatch in effecting a crossing and not to advance till the south side of the river was cleared of the enemy and Hatch communicated with; and to Hatch, that if he failed to effect a crossing in the morning he should turn up the river to some point where he could cross, and that he should approach or join Lee's column after crossing, and both, when in communication, should move on toward Coffeeville.

Before daylight on the 4th couriers reported Hatch had crossed the Yockna at Prophet Bridge, some 18 miles from Oxford and 7 miles from Water Valley, and about the same distance down the river from the burned bridge. Again couriers were dispatched, ordering Lee and Hatch to approach each other, communicate before advancing, and then pursue the enemy hotly.

At 8 a.m. on December 4 Colonel Mizner was sent with the Third Michigan Cavalry and one piece of artillery, under Lieutenant S. T. Durkee of Battery G, Second Illinois Artillery, to join and co-operate with Hatch, while I proceeded on Colonel Lee's route with another piece of artillery, commanded by a sergeant of the same company, escorted by a detachment of cavalry. Major-General McPherson, at my request, had sent me the two pieces or artillery. I overtook Lee near Water Valley, which he was reconnoitering before entering. Here Colonel Hatch came up with his command, and the two brigades entered the town about the same time. The enemy had crossed the Otuckalofa and burned the wagon bridge, about a mile from the town. It had turned out that Lee and Hatch had failed to communicate with each other; that Hatch,on the morning of the 4th, pushed directly for Water Valley, entered the town before noon, skirmishing sharply with the rear of that part of the enemy that had crossed the Yockna at and below the railroad crossing and the burnt bridge, drove them through the town and across the Otuckalofa. About this time he discovered a