Captain Mueller's battery, which by about 18 rounds dispersed the cavalry, which retreated through and beyond the town. General Denver moved to the edge of town and sent pickets through. There was no enemy at Holly Springs but these two regiments of cavalry, about 1,500 strong. These kept away whenever I sent troops into town, but returned in small squads whenever I withdrew the command. I made my chief camp in Coldwater on account of water, which there was abundant, whilst at Holly Springs it is scarce. I sent a brigade daily to picket to Holly Springs. As soon as as I reached Coldwater I endeavored to open communication with General Hamilton, supposed to be advancing on the flank in the direction of Ripley. One messenger sent afoot in disguise has never returned; two others mounted followed General Hamilton to Rienzi, and on the 5th of July I received a letter from General Hamilton saying he was on his return to Corinth, having been within 19 miles of Holly Springs. For several days I could get no dispatches or communication from any quarter; but on the 6th I received General Halleck's order by telegraph, of July 1, ordering me not to attempt to hold Holly Springs, but to fall back and protect the railroad. I accordingly ordered General Hurlbut to resume his post at La Grange, say, 25 miles. Each is on the railroad at vital points, and we are within 10 miles of each other. I think we protect the railroad from Junction to La Fayette, but not beyond. Hurlbut has about 300 cavalry without carbines and much used up. I had eight companies Fourth Illinois, now down to about 200 men, and they and horses much used up. Our infantry has suffered some in marching in the heat and dust, but I think I have on the line about 10,000 good fighting men.
There is no large force of the enemy nearer than Tallahatchie, 18 miles south of Holly Springs, although I have vague reports of large masses moving toward Memphis, and Hurlbut reports 300 cavalry and 5,000 infantry moving toward Davis' Mill, on Wolf River, not more than 7 miles south of the Junction. Of course they must not be allowed to make a lodgment there; but Hurlbut's cavalry have already made so many indefinite reports, which on examination proved unfounded, that I mistrust them. I also found the negroes on our late march and sojourn at Holly Springs full of false and exaggerated rumors. I prefer to be governed by what I think the enemy should attempt. If he has 30,000 men at his disposal he should interpose between Memphis and this command. He can do so perfectly unobserved by an oblique march by way of the Pigeon Roost road or by Hernando, and he could soon repair the railroad to his rear so as to bring forward his supplies; while we, depending on the Columbus road, may be at any moment cut off, as any family along or near that road, being in their interest and constant communication kept up, could break that line of road. I would much prefer the concentration of our whole force on Coldwater, near where the Memphis and Holly Springs [road] crosses and leave but small detachment is known and reported, while we can hear nothing. I have sent out no cavalry to North Mount Pleasant, a point where several roads me to the southwest of this. I also picket all bridges and roads near strong with infantry. I don't apprehend attack in this position, but may be drawn out on Hurlbut's alarm or by what would be the enemy's best strategic move, the interposition of a superior force between us and Memphis. They will not in my judgment remain idle, especially if they have gained the advantage over McClellan which they claim and I doubt if they will move back on Corinth. The destruction of the