I embarked 5,000 infantry of the Second and Fourth Divisions and 2,000 cavalry, together with two sections from each battery belonging to said divisions, on board sixteen steamers at Helena, and disembarked the same at Delta on the 27th ultimo.
The cavalry on the following day, under command of Brigadier-General Washburn, was pushed forward to the mouth of the Coldwater, a distance of 45 miles, and after a spirited skirmish drove the enemy's pickets from the east bank of the Tallahatchie.
The pioneer company, under command of First Lieutenant Meyers, immediately commenced building a bridge across the Tallahatchie, which was finished by 4 p. m. on the next day, by which time the head of the infantry column had reached the west bank of the river. Before dark the cavalry, with six small guns; the Eleventh Indiana Volunteers, under Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Macauley; Twenty-fourth Indiana Volunteers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Barter, both commanded by Colonel William T. Spicely, Twenty-fourth Indiana, had crossed the bridge. On the same night, November 29, General Washburn dashed forward to within 7 miles of Grenada.
On the next morning, November 30, to support his column and protect his rear, Colonel Spicely was ordered to advance the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Indiana to Mitchell's Cross-Roads, a point about 12 miles northeast of our camp, on the Tallahatchie.
On the succeeding day, December 1, the pickets of the Eleventh and Twenty-fourth, under command of Major Durnall, Eleventh Indiana, commenced a lively skirmish with the enemy across a small river known on the maps as the Yocknapatalfa, which continued without much injury for several hours and until our cavalry returned, when General Washburn caused his small guns to be brought to bear upon the enemy and they precipitately fled. A bridge was soon constructed over this stream, and the cavalry encamped that night with the infantry on the field of the late skirmish.
Brigadier-General Washburn fully and accurately describes his movements and several dashes in detail in his report, a copy of which is here-with transmitted.
It gives me great pleasure to say that Brigadier-General Washburn's conduct during our expedition was dashing, bold, fearless, and effective, and could not have been excelled.
To the enemy our cavalry seemed ubiquitous-at Charleston, near Grenada, at Panola, Oakland, all within so short a time that the enemy supposed several columns were advancing on the rear of General Pemberton's army, and gave rise to the wildest conjectures as to the magnitude of our forces and designs. Major-General Grant in the mean time had been pressing the enemy near Abbeville, and as soon as the rebels were apprised of our presence in their rear an order was promulgated in their camp ordering three days' rations and preparations for retreat. Intercepted letters, prisoners, and citizens confirm this fact beyond doubt.
Our demonstration and diversion was complete, and before your order expressing satisfaction with our labors and ordering our return was received the whole body of the rebel force under Pemberton had broken camp on the Tallahatchie and retreated to the south and east of our camp.
On the 30th I ordered Captain Owen, First Indiana Cavalry, to proceed down the Tallahatchie and capture or burn the steamer New Moon. This he fully accomplished by burning her and returned the same evening. In our several skirmishes we had many horses killed and 1 man