March I dispatched 200 of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, under Major Nelson, to proceed westward toward Moscow, and strike the trail of the party who had attacked the train near Moscow. I at the same time sent a force of 200 men of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, to proceed toward Somerville; thence westward, with instructions to endeavor to intercept the enemy with prisoners from the train, and form a junction with the expedition under Major Nelson.
This latter officer proceeded westward, struck the trail of the enemy, and followed them to Macon, where, although they were but a few miles in advance, and had prisoners, dismounted, he gave up the pursuit, and returned to camp, failing to comply with his instructions to form a junction with Colonel Loomis.
The expedition from the Sixth Illinois Cavalry proceeded to Somerville; thence westward, struck the trail of the rebels, overtook and skirmished with them, killing and capturing a number, among the latter Captain [R.] Burrow.
On the night of March 29, they were attacked while in bivouac by a superior force, under Colonel [R. V.] Richardson, and although they were in a manner surprised and a number killed in beds, yet they rallied and drove the enemy from the field, and remained in full possession. For full particulars of this expedition, I refer you to the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, herewith inclosed.
Too much honor cannot be awarded to the officers and men present on the occasion for their unprecedented coolness and gallantry. Among the slain was First Lieutenant Jesse B. Wilson, of Company K, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, whose loss to the country and his friends is an irretrievable one.
Colonel Loomis returned to camp on the night of the 30th, bringing the first intelligence of the encounter. I immediately started with the effective force of the brigade, about 550 strong. Marched all night, and arrived at the scene of the engagement about 11 o'clock on the morning of the 30th. Having arrived in the vicinity of the place, I sent two companies forward to dash into the place and endeavor to capture any of the enemy who might be there. Upon their approach, about 35 of the rebels fled precipitately. We followed them closely, and succeeded in killing 3, wounding and capturing several more.
Having buried the dead and properly disposed of such of the wounded as could be moved in the ambulances, we proceeded to the plantation of Lewis P. Williamson, and bivouacked for the night.
The following morning the wounded and prisoners were sent back under proper escort, and, dividing the rest of the command into two parties, we proceeded in pursuit of the enemy. Major Blackburn proceeded to Mason's Depot, where he captured a quantity of secesh army clothing and trimmings, which were destroyed. With the rest of the force I proceeded westward, scouting the country, and forming a junction with Major Blackburn at Concordia.
After feeding, we again started in different directions, and encamped for the night at the plantation of Mr. Montague, north of the Hatchie River, where we found a quantity of cavalry saddles and a shop for the manufacture of the same. The shop and saddles were destroyed, and his son, who was engaged in the business, taken into custody.
The next morning I crossed the Hatchie River with part of my force at Quin's Bridge, and sent the balance eastward to cross at Cannon's Bridge. After crossing the river, the forces were divided into small parties, and scattered over all the by-roads and lanes, with instructions to meet the main column at Macon. The whole force arrived there at