near the Ripley road, making a demonstration of attack on the enemy's left flank. Following, this road about 3 miles when daylight was disappearing we turned southwest and passed on by-ways through the country across to the road from Pontotoc to Oxford, and following this a few miles we turned again south and crossed the Yockna on a bridge where we camped for the night. I here found, to my surprise, that the escort and couriers by a fatal misapprehension of my orders had not left the column. Other couriers were at once sent forward for Oxford, but lost their way in the Yockna Bottom, and traveling all night found themselves farther from Oxford than whey they left camp, and did not arrive until this morning.
Early yesterday morning, the 19th, we took up the line of march, and Colonel Hatch, was sent with the command to the cavalry camp on the Yockna River, and with my escort, after a long day's march, I reached Oxford at 5.30 p.m. last evening and reported to you the fact that on the evening of the 18th a large rebel cavalry force passed from Pontotoc north on the Ripley road, and notice was at once telegraphed to every point on the railroad north of this.
The expedition to Okolona has been most laborious, and the men and horses are completely worn down and wholly unfit for service for a few days. Men and horses were subsisted upon the country through which we passed. The day's march usually began before day and closed after night, halting to feed but once a day, usually from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The men lived chiefly on fresh meat, sweep potatoes, and corn-bread roasted in corn-husks, and often without salt. Men and officers, however, were cheerful and prompt in every duty. In six days we marched about 200 miles, worked two days at the railroad, captured about 150 prisoners, destroyed 34 miles of important railroad, and a large amount of public stores of the enemy, and returned passing around an enemy of nine, to our one, and reached camp without having a man killed, wounded, or captured.
Colonel Hatch, of the Second Iowa, commanding the Second Brigade; Lieutenant Crego, acting assistant adjutant-general of my division, and Lieutenant Davis, my division quartermaster, deserve special notice for their untiring and effective aid in accomplishing the results attained. Mr. Taffing topographical engineer, accompanied the expedition and collected matter for a very correct map of the roads over which we passed.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. LYLE DICKEY,
Colonel and Chief of Cavalry, Commanding Division.
Lieutenant Colonel JOHN A. RAWLINS, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Reports of Colonel Edward Hatch, Second Iowa Cavalry, of skirmishes at Spring Dale and Prophet Bridges, December 3; skirmish at Water Valley, December 5, and operations against the Van Dorn raid, December 20-25.
HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION.
IN THE FIELD, AT BROWNING'S PLANTATION,
La Fayette County, Miss., December 8, 1862.
MAJOR: In compliance with orders from Colonel T. Lyle Dickey, chief of cavalry, I left Oxford with my command at 7 o'clock on the morning