I fed my horses and rested my men for two hours, and started for Brookhaven, sending a courier to Colonel Adams, advising him of my design to follow the enemy, and advising him to shape his march so as to join me near Liberty.
About 9 a. m. on the morning of the 30th, on my way to Brookhaven, I overtook Captain Love and his squadron. We reached Brookhaven at about 11 a. m. ; fed, and rested three hours. I ordered Captain Love to proceed in advance to Bogue Chitto. I ordered, at Hazlehurst, Colonel Miller, who had kindly consented to go with me on the expedition, to proceed with Captain [Jams company, Twentieth Mississippi, to Bahala, and to report to me that night at Union Church, unless he found the enemy proceeding in the direction of the railroad, when he was to send me a dispatch at Union Church, and harass the enemy as much as possible; also to inquire for and notify any of the commands ordered to report to me, found on his line of march, to report to me at Union Church.
When I got to Brookhaven, I found Colonel Miller and Captain Liddell; they had gotten in the neighborhood of Brookhaven, and had found out that the enemy had left Brookhaven the previous evening, and had camped for the night, at a distance of 6 miles from Brookhaven, in the direction of Bogue Chitto; but had gone to Bogue Chitto that morning, Wednesday, April 30. After I had ordered Captain Love, as my advance, to proceed to Bogue Chitto, I received information that the enemy had committed his depredations there in the forenoon, and had gone to Summit, to do the same thing, that evening. After feeding, and resting three hours, I started for Summit, hoping to be able to find the enemy encamped there or in the vicinity, and determined to make a night attack. I sent a courier to Bogue Chitto, ordering Captain Love to join me near Summit, and proceeded to that place. Within 3 miles of Summit, Captain Love rejoined me, having pursued the enemy closely to that place, capturing 3 prisoners.
All preliminaries were made for a night attack and surprise. At 3 o'clock in the morning, Thursday, May 1, we entered Summit, and learned that the enemy had left about sunset on the previous evening, marching on the road to Magnolia, which, running east of the railroad about 5 miles, thence curving eastward, crosses the railroad, and at a distance of a mile curves westward and recrosses the railroad, continuing on the WEST side of the railroad to Magnolia.
I could find no one in Summit who could tell me anything more than that the enemy had left the previous evening on the road to Magnolia, saying he intended to go toence to Osyka, Camp Moore, &c. The commanding officer had been heard to ask a negro guide if he knew the way to Magnolia, and, upon an affirmative answer, had ordered him to take the lead.
The large tannery, the hospital and stores located at Magnolia, all together made up a state of fact which pointed to the conclusion that he was then on his way to that place. I learned that there was a plantation on the road to Magnolia, running east of the railroad, near where it intersected the railroad the first time, at which supplies for men and horses could be had. I hoped to be able by taking a road east of the railroad to get in his front, and form an ambuscade. I immediately resumed the march, and by sunrise formed line of battle, with men dismounted, under cover of a thick undergrowth of timber, on the side of the curvature of the road, formed by its crossing to the east and recrossing to the WEST side of the railroad leading from Summit to Magnolia. I immediately sent out a scout WEST of the railroad to ascertain