War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0557 Chapter XXXVI. EXPEDITION TO THE COLDWATER, MISS., ETC.

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Memphis, Tenn., April 25, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the morning of the 18th instant, in pursuance to orders from General Lauman, I moved from Memphis, on the Hernando road, with the Twelfth and Thirty-THIRD Wisconsin, Forty-first Illinois Volunteers, and the Fifteenth Ohio Battery. At the Nonconnah, Major Hayes, with 265 men, of the FIFTH Ohio Cavalry, reported to me. Two miles south of Nonconnah he met a picket of 10 men of the enemy, and captured 5 of them. Seven miles north of Hernando, the camp of Colonel [W. C.] Falkner was broken up. A large amount of corn, an ambulance wagon and 4 horses and harness, loaded with ham, were captured here, belonging to the C. S. Army.

The column reached Hernando, MISS., 25 miles south of Memphis, at 6 p. m. [G. L.] Blythe, with 300 men, hovered on my rear and flanks all day, twice firing on the flankers thrown out from the column. At 6. 30 p. m. the pickets on the south of the town were attacked by Colonel [W. C.] Falkner, with from 600 to 700 men on foot. I immediately sent Major Hayes, with cavalry, to meet them, and got my forces in position for battle. After a sharp engagement of thirty minutes, and killing and wounding 30 of the enemy, the enemy fell back, leaving in our hands 72 prisoners, including 7 commissioned officers. Among the badly wounded were two commissioned officers. I immediately sent the surgeons of the enemy's dead and wounded, but they were fired upon, and returned with only 4 of the wounded. In this skirmish we had 2 men slightly wounded. It was too dark, and the men and horses too much used up, to pursue. We captured seventy stand of arms and accouterments.

The command was under arms at 3 a. m. Sunday morning, and at sunrise started for the Coldwater. Met the enemy's pickets 2 miles south of Hernando. The column moved swiftly on. When 4 miles out, our rear was attacked by Blythe. I sent Companies B and K, of the Twelfth Wisconsin, with 18 cavalrymen, to repel them, and they soon scattered them. About the same time I received a message from Major Hayes that he had reached Perry's Ferry and driven the enemy across; that he was badly wounded, and the men getting out of ammunition. I immediately put the battery (Fifteenth Ohi), the two leading regiments, the Thirty-thirty Wisconsin, Colonel Moore, and the Forty-first Illinois, Lieutenant-Colonel Nale, upon a very swift double-quick, which, through mud ankle-deep, they kept up for 4 miles. Lieutenant-Colonel Poole, with the Twelfth Wisconsin, in rear of the train with prisoners, was instructed to move steadily on, with flankers thrown out on either side, and bring forward all the men who might fall out from fatigue, that might be caused by our rapid advance. Arriving at the river, found the cavalry dismounted and holding the ferry. Captain Spear immediately got two pieces in position, and shelled the thicket on the other side. Our cavalry fell back to their ammunition wagon, under orders to be ready to cross. Falkner's men retired from our range; the firing ceased, and Lieutenant Picquet, of the Thirty-SECOND Illinois Volunteers, provost-marshal, was just trying to get across the river to the boat tied on the other side, when the rebels returned, re-enforced by two regiments of mounted infantry, dismounted (First Missouri, and Colonel [R.] McCulloch's Arkansas [Missouri] regiment).

In the mean time the Thirty-THIRD Wisconsin Volunteers had formed in the swamp on the right of the road, and the Forty-first Illinois, with Companies C, h, and E, of the Twelfth Wisconsin, on the left of the