and would be of course unusually agreeable and polite and lavish with their wines and brandies.
Our list of prisoners paroled was increased and our efficiency decreased by having 55 men up town on detached duty, as orderlies, messengers, provost patrols, &c.
We took 12 prisoners, one of whom was a major. We also captured 12 others, whom we were compelled to release, not being able to take care of them.
All of which is respectfully submitted by your obedient servant,
JOHN J. MUDD,
Lieutenant Colonel JOHN A. RAWLINS,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ILLINOIS CAVALRY, Holly Springs, December 28, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in obedience to the verbal order of General McArthur I left camp at 10 o'clock p. m. of 24th instant and reported to Colonel Deitzler, commanding at Salem, at 3 o'clock a. m. of 25th instant, with 130 men, being parts of Companies C, Captain Whitaker; F, Lieutenant Stickel; G, Lieutenant Weakley; H, Lieutenant Naylor, and K, Sergeant Mitchell. Major Bush accompanying me at an early hour, under order of Colonel Deitzler, I moved toward Ripley while the infantry moved to the northeast to interest the Saulsbury and Ripley road, 12 miles northwest of Ripley.
I arrived at Ripley early in the afternoon, having encountered only one squad of 5 rebels, whom we captured, and from whom I gained information of the movements of General Van Dorn.
From a negro I learned that the rear guard of the rebel army had passed through Ripley at 1 o'clock, and that a large force had encamped 1 mile south.
I approached the town and after a personal reconnaissance dashed into the place with my men, driving their straggling rear before us into their camp, firing on them as they ran and being fired on by them in return. I held possession but a short time (knowing my force was entirely inadequate to operate on the defensive), but determined to move north to meet Colonel Mizner's forces, which I learned were advancing on the rebel rear.
Fortunately they were near, and I reported to Colonel Mizner at 3 o'clock p. m. and was ordered to join in pursuit.
Next day at noon I was ordered by Colonel Mizner to move in direction of Oxford, to communicate with Colonel Hatch, said to be advancing to support. At 3 o'clock I reported having struck Colonel Hatch's trail leading northeast, and at 4 o'clock Colonel Mizner's command overtook me. I was then allowed to move according to my own judgment to this place, and arrived with all my men at 8 o'clock last evening without casualty of any kind, having sent in 6 prisoners of war and paroled 8 others, who had been conscripted and served against their will.
I took a little provision with me, but left it with Colonel Deitzler, expecting to join him on return, but did not; consequently had to forage for supplies. Most of the citizens of Tippah County are unwilling supporters of the rebellion, and should be as far as possible protected from the lawless raids of straggling thieves always following an army.