War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0517 Chapter XXIX. MISSISSIPPI CENTRAL RAILROAD.

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ing Smith's battery, and proceeded toward Panola. We camped at Bernier's the first night, 12 miles from College Hill, on the Oxford and Panola road.

We moved on the morning of the 6th and arrived at Panola at 1 o'clock p. m. We then found that a few Confederates that been burning cotton nearly int he morning and large quantities were still burning at Batesville, 1 mile southeast of Panola, at the railroad station.

Upon making inquiries and examining thoroughly we found that the steamboat had not been at Panola since early in the spring, and that she was now lying at Grenada.

Hearing that the Federals were camped at Yocknapatalfa, and that a small squad had entered Panola on the Tuesday previous, I selected some 50 men and endeavored to communicate with them, instructing the balance of my command to remain at Panola until dark and then move out on the Oxford and Panola road some 3 miles and camp for the night. After proceeding some 2 miles toward the river, I learned that a large number, some 2,000 Federals, had been on that road but had gone back the same day. I pushed steadily on until I arrived Yocknapatalfa and there found that a general from General Steele's command, with a force estimated in that vicinity at about 5,000 men-cavalry, artillery, and infantry-had fallen back to the mouth of Coldwater. This information was given me by nearly all the citizens, as well as negroes, and I think it is correct. I also learned that the general commanding had sent a force of cavalry to Oakland and Charleston and some hundred men to Coffeeville to cut the wires and destroy a bridge, which was not fully accomplished, the rebels repairing the bridge in three hours.

It however caused a delay to the Confederates of some twenty-four hours, thereby allowing General Grant to come up to their rear at Oxford. General Steele captured every picket ont he road from Helena to the mouth of Coldwater, and there he shelled Starke' company, who were on picket, wounding several, capturing some, and scattering the balance in every direction, who reported an army of 40,000 men, causing a perfect panic throughout that country. A portion of the company arrived at Panola, where Starke's command was camped, when they immediately broke up their camp and left in perfect disorder. The people upon the line of route which we took appeared to think it was impossible for an army to invade Mississippi south of the TAllahatchie, and Steele's sudden appearance, together with General Grant's advance, struck them with perfect terror, and they not knowing from what point we came still added to their consternation. The bridges on the railroad are reported to have been destroyed.

The roads from College Hill to the Yocknapatalfa are good; the most of the way is a good bridge road through heavy timber. There is plenty of water on the route and a fair supply of forage could be procured on the road and from the adjoining plantations, 3 miles south of Panola. There are about 80 head of cattle near Starke's old camp and one very large field of corn this side of Brown's plantation, which you will notice on the map. It is reported that the negroes have the small-pox among them. I have already handed you a paper published at Panola, which gives you a fair illustration of the feelings of the people in that country.

We discovered a large quantity of cotton, some 2,000 bales, on the road to Panola, and in that town and vicinity there are many hundred bales still concealed. A portion of the cotton on the road lying near the residence of Mr. Taylor has been brought from north of the Tallahatchie with the intention of sending it to Jackson, Miss.

Several hundred bales of cotton belonging to Confederate States of