HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
December 20, 1862.
Commanding First Division:
GENERAL: I am apprehensive that the cavalry dash into Holly Springs has been a pretty serious affair us, though I have not heard anything definite as yet. I have not learned what route the rebels took after leaving Holly Springs, or in fact whether they have left that place, though quite a large force has been sent that way. I think you had better destroy the bridge (McFarland's) about 5 miles to the west of your position, as we may thus succeed in cutting off the rebels' retreat if they should attempt to return by a route to the west of us. Do not send out any forage trains to the west or northwest until we know what route the enemy has taken. Keep scouts well out to the right and rear of your position as well as in front. We must not allow ourselves to be caught napping.
Call a board of survey on Major Prophet's cotton, to examine and report upon all the facts in the case which can be brought to bear, and will constitute a claim to be settled after the war.
The cotton marked "C. S. A." which you have seized upon you can send to Oxford or the Yockna Station, whichever point you send your wagons to first.
An ordered will be sent to your command putting your troops on three-quarter rations. I shall do the same for the whole of my command, until we ascertain the extent of the damage.
As soon as O know what direction the rebels have gone I will notify you.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
OXFORD, MISS., December 20, 1862.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Right Wing:
Fall back with your entire command to the north side of the Tallahatchie, the troops retiring by the same route they advanced on.
I will instruct the cavalry to advance toward Grenada to keep up the idea of an advance as much as possible. Keep your transportation as well to the front as much as possible and instruct your commissaries to collect all the cattle fit for beef they can and corn-meal from the mills.
Destroy all the mills within reach of you and the bridges after you are done using them.
U. S. GRANT,
HDQRS. RIGHT WING, THIRTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
December 20, 1862.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I am just in receipt of your dispatch. Will order Leggett's brigade back to this point this afternoon, and will move for the north bank of the Tallahatchie with my whole command to-morrow evening at 6 o'clock. I am anxious to know something about the cavalry, as a portion of their train is at Water Valley, and if I destroy the bridges across the Yocknapatalfa which I have built and repaired