War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0502 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

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flank, conducted themselves like veterans, pouring volley after volley into their advancing columns. The mounted companies of my command held themselves in readiness to charge the enemy's cavalry, and retired from the field in perfect order.

Lieutenant Colonel E. Prince, of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry; Major Ricker, of the Fifth Ohio Cavalry, and Major Coon and Major F. A. Kendrick, of the Second Iowa Cavalry, commanded their detachments with coolness, efficiency, and courage seldom excelled.

To my staff officers, Lieutenant D. McGregor, my assistant adjutant-general, and Lieutenant W. Scott Belden, my aide-de-camp, I am under obligations for coolness and efficiency in delivering my orders on the field of battle.

EDWARD HATCH,

Colonel, Second Iowa Cavalry, Commanding Brigade.

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION, Camp near the Tallahatchie, December 29, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, complying with orders from Major-General McPherson, I marched with eight companies of the Second Iowa and eight companies of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry at 1 a. m. on the morning of December 23, to intercept at Rocky Ford the retreat of Van Dorn, supposed to be moving south. Reached Rocky Ford at 10 a. m, 22 miles from Oxford; scouted the vicinity, finding no enemy, and, learning from captured prisoners who had left Van Dorn at Holly Springs that Van Dorn had gone north to Grand Junction and La Grange, supposed he would cross the railroad and return by the west side. This idea strengthened by reports of the enemy's cavalry being west of Abbeville, I immediately returned to Oxford, arriving there the same evening.

At 1.30 a. m. December 24 I received an order from General McPherson to move to the east and northeast to intercept Van Dorn's retreat from Saulsbury going south, as soon as I could call in a portion of my command encamped some miles south of Oxford. Started at daylight, my pickets to the south and west skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry. The enemy was therefore aware of our movement. My command was reduced by forced marches for some ten days to 800 men. Moving east, up the south side of the Tallahatchie, scouting the crossings of this river at Rocky Ford and Big Muddy, my march retarded by the destruction of bridges at various crossings, I was detained five hours on the Big Muddy, the bridge being destroyed. The night being dark and stormy it was difficult to find a place to ford or swim the stream.

On reaching the roads leading south to Pontotoc, about 10 miles north of Pontotoc, on the morning of the 25th, finding no signs of Van Dorn's forces, decided I would take the most direct route from New Albany to Grenada, which crosses the Tallahatchie at King's Bridge, 6 miles south of Albany. I moved up that road to occupy the bridge and crossing at King's Ford, capturing a few prisoners who left Van Dorn at Ripley the evening before. Learning he had made a stand there against our cavalry I deemed it my duty to move immediately to Ripley. On nearing Albany learned that the enemy had passed to the east of me. Encamped 2 miles from Albany, my command having marched 62 miles in thirty-two hours, including time lost in repairing and finding crossings over the streams in my route and scouting the country to the east and north.