enemy's country with but 1,029 men, not knowing the strength of the enemy in front, with partisan rangers and guerrillas on each side and rear, which required the greatest caution and unremitting dispatch. The men had been living in camp for a long time and were somewhat enervated, yet they averaged over 17 miles a day with many delays, such as skirmishing with rebel cavalry, passing bad fords with bridges destroyed, repairing bridges, getting around fallen timber which obstructed the passage of transportation, and a part of the time marching in a heavy rain. We started with five days' rations (one company of cavalry having but one day's rations), which were nearly exhausted in four and we were compelled to march nearly three days with almost nothing to eat.
The untiring zeal with which both officers and men discharged their duties under these circumstances is worthy of special note.
We reached Tupelo before the cavalry from Spring Dale had reached the railroad. We took 68 prisoners and two heavy mails.
The following I believe to be reliable: Nearly all the rolling stock of the Mobile and Ohio, Mississippi Central, and Memphis and Charleston Railroads is now at Meridian, switched off in fields, with the switches removed, so that it would take some time to move it from there.
The main facts you will find in the following synopsis, with accompanying field notes:
In accordance with instructions received from Headquarters District of Corinth I left Corinth on Saturday morning, the 13th instant, at 8 o'clock, with two regiments of infantry, viz: The Ninth Illinois, Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Phillips commanding, 350 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, and the Eighty-first Ohio, Major Frank Evans commanding, 540 officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates; one section of artillery, Captain Tannrath commanding, and 111 cavalry under Captain Ford. I marched through Danville and Rienzi to Dick Smith's, 22 miles, at which place I arrived at sundown and went into bivouac for the night.
The next morning at 8 o'clock I took the line of march again to Blackland; detailed one company of cavalry with the order to take the road toward Booneville and rejoin the column at Rodgers' farm. This company met with Captain Harris' company of guerrillas, and sent a message to me reporting the fact. I sent forward a force of my cavalry, but the enemy had fled. Lost two hours' time at this place. Took 17 prisoners, 9 of whom took the oath of allegiance and were released. Camped 3 miles west of Baldwyn, after marching 16 miles.
Monday morning, the 15th, started on the march again at 8 o'clock. Picked up several prisoners. At Guntown captured the postmaster and mail. At this place Major O'Harnett, of Stewart's cavalry, joined me with 150 men. Lost two hours' time at this place of want of a guide; then pushed on toward Saltillo. During the afternoon of this day it rained very hard, making the roads muddy and the marching quite difficult for the men.
I reached Saltillo at 1.30 p. m. and found that the rebel cavalry, about 350 strong, under command of Colonel Barteau, had evacuated the town in the morning, going to Tupelo. Here I found it necessary to press a guide, and then moved on toward Tupelo as fast as the driving rain and bad condition of the raods would permit. After going about 3 miles I found the bad roads and broken bridges would not permit the train to pass without much delay. I then put the infantry into camp and pushed Stewart's battalion of cavalry, under Major O'Harnett, on to Tupelo.
35 R R-VOL XVII