War of the Rebellion: Serial 034 Page 0249 Chapter XXXV. EXPEDITIONS TO COURTLAND, ALA, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

ing the river on my advance, prevented him getting in my rear, and the gunboats, to save the transports,left the day before, having a short engagement at Savannah and Duck River. Van Dorn's force then moved toward Decatur. That was the last we heard of them.

On my return, I burned all provisions, produce, and forage, all mills and tan-yards, and destroyed everything that would in any way aid the enemy. I took stock of all kinds that I could find, and rendered the valley so destitute that it cannot be occupied by the Confederates, except provisions and forage are transported to them. I also destroyed telegraph and railroad between Tuscumbia and Decatur, and all the ferries between Savannah and Courtland.

I have no doubt but that Colonel Straight would have succeeded had he been properly equipped, and joined me at the time agreed upon. The great delay in an enemy's country necessary to fit him out gave them time to throw a large force in our front. Although Colonel Straight had two days' start, they can harass him, and perhaps check his movements long enough for them to secure all their important bridges. If he could have started from Bear Creek the day I arrived there, then my movements would have been so quick and strong that the enemy could not have got their forces together.

The animals furnished him were very poor at the start. Four hundred of them were used up before leaving me, and those furnished him by me were about all the serviceable stock he had, though I hear he got 200 good mules the day he left me, in Moulton Valley.

On my return, I sent Colonel Cornyn, with the Tenth Missouri, Seventh Kansas, and Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry, and Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, to attack the force congregated at Tupelo and Okolona. He came up with the enemy on Wednesday, and immediately attacked them, they being some 3,000 strong, under Major-General [S. J.] Gholson and Brigadier-General Ruggles. Brigadier-General Chalmers, with 3,500 men, was at Pontotoc, but failed to come to Gholson's aid, though ordered to.

Colonel Cornyn fought so determinedly and so fast that he soon routed the force in his front, driving them in all directions, killing and wounding a large number and taking 100 prisoners, including some 7 officers;also a large number of arms and 150 horses, saddles, &c.

The enemy fled toward Okolona and Pontotoc, and Colonel Cornyn returned to Corinth.

The expedition, so far, can be summed up as having accomplished the object for which it started, the infantry having marched 250 miles and the cavalry some 400, and fought six successful engagements, driving the enemy, 3,000 strong, from Bear Creek to Decatur, taking the towns of Tuscumbia and Florence, with a loss not to exceed 100, including 3 officers. Destroyed 1,500,000 bushels of corn, besides large quantities of oats, 1,000 head of horses and mules, and an equal number of cattle, hogs, and sheep; also 100 bales of cotton, besides keeping the whole command in meat for three weeks. Destroyed the railroad from Tuscumbia to Decatur; also some 60 flat-boats and ferries in the Tennessee River, thereby preventing Van Dorn, in his move, form crossing to my rear; also destroyed five tan-yards and six flouring mills.

It has rendered desolate one of the best granaries of the South, preventing them from raising another crop this year, and taking away from them some 1,500 negroes.

We found large quantities of shelled corn, all ready for shipment, also bacon, and gave it to the flames.