River. I took no tents or baggage of any kind, and about three days' rations. I broke camp at daylight on Friday and marched 35 miles on that day to the west bank of Tallahatchie River, just below its junction with the Coldwater.
During this day's march we captured several pickets and conriers. We found that reports of our landing had preceded us, and the impression prevailed that we were approaching in great force. From negroes that we met we learned that there was a force of rebel cavalry encamped at the mouth of Coldwater, and that a large party of negroes had been collected near there to blockade the road and throw up fortifications. Wishing to surprise them, if possible, I delayed the column slightly, so as not to arrive at the river until after night-fall. As we approached the ferry where they were supposed to be encamped I ordered Captain Walker, who commanded the detachment of First Indiana Cavalry, to dismount a party of his men and throw them forward as quietly as possible to the bank of the river, and at the same time to detach his horses from his small guns and have his men run them quietly forward by hand. He soon came in sight of their camp fires on the east bank of the river, and could distinctly see large numbers of soldiers moving around them. They were laughing, talking, singing, and enjoying themselves quiet merrily. Captain Walker immediately brought his guns to bear at a distance of about 300 yards and opened out with all four at once, while the dismounted men poured a volley into them from the river bank. The enemy fled with the utmost precipitation, leaving many horses and arms upon the ground. The next day 5 of them, very severely wounded, were found in houses by the road-side, and the negroes reported that they had 3 killed in the engagement.
I encamped for the night on the banks of the Tallahatchie River. The river at this point is deep and sluggish, and is about 120 yards across. We here found a ferry with one ferry-boat, 40 or 50 feet in length. It was my intention to bridge the river during the night, and for that purpose I took along with me 5,000 feet of inch pine lumber and five small boats, sent from Memphis; but an examination of the boats proved them to be leaky and worthless, and we had to delay operations until morning. Being convinced that the means furnished for bridging were wholly inadequate, I dispatched parties up the Coldwater and down the Tallahatchie to hunt for boats. They found two large flats up the Coldwater, but they found the river full of snags, and it was not until nearly 4 p. m. that they succeeded in getting them down. By 4.30 p. m. I had the bridge completed, and by 6 p. m. I had my entire force of cavalry on the eastern bank of the river. My orders were to march my force as rapidly as possible to the rear of the rebel army and destroy his telegraphic and railway communications. To do the latter the most effectively I thought it best to march directly on Grenada, knowing that there were there two important railroad bridges across the Yalabusha River-the one on the Mississippi Central Railroad and the other on the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad. The distance to make to reach Grenada was 56 miles, but by pushing hard I deemed it possible to reach there by daylight next morning. After proceeding nearly east, along the Yocknapatalfa River (commonly called the Yockna), about 11 miles, the roads fork, one road going to Panola, the other to Charleston and Grenada. A few yards from the forks of the road, on the Panola road, is a ferry across the Yockna, and the head of my column turned down the Panola road to the ferry to water their horses. They were at once fired upon by a heavy rebel picket. Major Hawkins, of the Sixth Missouri, immediately brought his small howitzers to bear, and we soon