Reports of Brigadier General Alvin P. Hovey, U. S. Army, commanding Expedition.
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITION TO MISSISSIPPI, December 3, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that we left Delta on Friday morning, 28th ultimo, the cavalry in advance, under Brigadier-General Washburn. His forces arrived at the mouth of Coldwater, a distance of 45 miles, the same day, and drove back the enemy's pickets with his small guns, taking several prisoners and several stand of small-arms. On the next day at 3 o'clock p. m. the infantry arrived, and by 5 o'clock our pioneers had a good bridge across the Tallahatchie.
The cavalry was marched across the river and were all in motion on the east bank by 7 o'clock. General Washburn proceeded within 5 miles of Grenada, where he was satisfied that he could not make a successful attack, as that place was strongly defended by superior numbers. He succeeded in destroying one bridge on the Central Railroad and two on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad, besides tearing up a part of the track. I think he has seriously damaged the last-named road, but I am not satisfied with the injury done to the other. To-day he goes to Oakland with the intention of making an effort to destroy the road at Coffeeville.
Last night he was at Panola, where 3,000 rebels were stationed when we arrived at this place. When two regiments of our infantry forces, the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Indiana, were thrown forward to support General Washburn and keep the rebels from crossing a ferry 12 miles from this place in his rear, they encountered the skirmishers of the rebels on the north bank of the Yocknapatalfa River. The skirmish continued for several hours, when Washburn returned and with his little howitzers drove them back. We have now bridged the Yocknapatalfa and have four regiments guarding the roads and rear of Washburn's advance.
We have heard nothing from you nor from Grant's forces. I do not know that we can do much more here unless we are re-enforced. If you could send me 5,000 infantry I can guard our rear and bridges and take Grenada. The roads are becoming very bad and what is done here must be done quickly. Give me your commands by the bearer to-night. Do not regard this report as my official report. It is written in great haste and without full details from General Washburn.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
ALVIN P. HOVEY,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Expedition.
Brigadier General FRED. STEELE,
Commanding Eastern District of Arkansas.
P. S.-The enemy at Panola heard our small guns and fled in the direction of Coffeeville.
HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITION INTO MISSISSIPPI, Mouth of Coldwater, Miss., December 5, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that in conformity with your orders, and orders heretofore received by me from Major-General Curtis,