received a dispatch from Colonel Wilbourn, stating that he was at Osyka, the enemy at Hazlehurst, ant that he would move up in the direction of the enemy. I stopped at a point between Liberty and Woodville, so that I could take either direction as circumstances might require. Being informed that the enemy were moving in the direction of Natchez, I was preparing to go to Centerville, 15 miles east of Woodville, with the view of being in the near direction of the enemy, and keeping up communication with Colonel Wilbourn and the forces at Woodville; but before the movement was made I got information that the enemy was at Brookhaven. I at once moved to Liberty. There the dispatch of Lieutenant [W. S.] Wren announcing the capture of Brookhaven was conclusively shown to be unfounded at the time the dispatch was sent, by a later dispatch from him stating that the enemy had gone in the direction of Natchez. Colonel Wilbourn got both of these dispatches, and they caused him to do much traveling for nothing, and to keep him so perplexed as greatly retarded his movements. Not being able to determine from the contradictory statements what was the enemy's direction, I dispatched scouts, who returned on Thursday night between midnight and day, and brought certain information that the enemy had not only taken Brookhaven but moved off as if going in the direction of Natchez, and suddenly reversed his course and captured Bogue Chitto and Summit. I prepared at once to move Summit, but soon after starting learned from my scouts that the enemy was only a few miles off, having moved 12 miles in the direction of Liberty. I suspended the movement, believing that the enemy was making his way to Woodville.
About the saed Major-General [Franklin] Gardner's dispatch, advising me that the enemy had landed a force below Grand Gulf, and directing me to gather all the cavalry and attack the enemy in the direction of Brookhaven, and by all means not to allow the enemy to make a junction with the force landed below Grand Gulf. In view of this and the demonstration in the direction of Liberty, I took up the best position to hold the enemy in check with a small force, and sent couriers to Colonel Wilbourn, urging him to move speedily in the direction of the enemy, and advising him exactly where the enemy was. At this time it was undoubtedly the enemy's purpose to go to the force below Grand Gulf. Colonel Wilbourn, receiving my dispatch, moved down as promptly as he could, keeping between the enemy's cavalry and the force at Grand Gulf. He had got up communication also with Colonel [Wirt] Adams. As soon as I heard from him, and through him from Colonel Adams, and knew that they were advised of enemy's true position, I moved out in the direction of Osyka, encamping in a favorable position to resist if the enemy should attempt to pass out in the direction of Liberty or Clinton.
My information from Colonels Adams and Wilbourn was that early Saturday morning they would be in close proximity to the enemy. I had also what I regarded as most undoubted evidence that on Saturday the enemy would attempt to take Osyka, and, while Colonels Adams and Wilbourn attacked them from the direction they were approaching, [I] intended to attack them on the Osyka and Liberty road. Receiving intelligence that he would probably be attacked as indicated, the enemy suddenly abandoned the idea of taking Osyka and reaching the Mississippi above Port Hudson, and resolved to make his way out in the direction of Baton Rouge. He managed so as to completely deceive citizens and our scouts as to his purpose, and by a march of almost unprecedented rapidity moved off by the Greensburg road to Baton Rouge.