War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0580 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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Number 2. Report of Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, C. S. Army, commanding First Military District. OKOLONA, MISS., May 13, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding, that during the night of the 1st instant I received information, by telegraph, that a raid of the enemy was coming from the direction of New Albany toward Okolona, and I proceeded by the morning train to that point, and, on arrival (about 4 p. M.), information received indicated that the previous reports were without foundation. I, however, ordered the troops in the vicinity to prepare immediately for the field, with the view of meeting any contingency. The previous disposition of troops had been made with the special object of intercepting the enemy's return from his raid to the Southern Railroad.

About 9 p. m. I received information that the enemy were actually in the district north of the Chiwapa, and ordered the troops to be in readiness to march at 3 o'clock on the following morning. This direction was given in conformity with an understanding with General Gholson, commanding a few State troops, then some 2 miles in advance of Okolona, that he would join me if my troops could be in readiness to march at that time. Of this there was reasonable doubt, on account of previous harassing marches of a portion of the troops separated from their supplies. The condition of the troops and the inclemency of the weather prevented the assembling and the execution of the order with the required promptitude. In the mean time the enemy was represented as moving south of Verona, toward Camargo, a point some 9 miles east of this place, with the supposed purpose of attacking either Aberdeen or Okolona from that point, which rendered in necessary to take measures of precaution before moving in an opposite direction with my cavalry. To meet this requirement, I caused Colonel [J. W.] Rogers' regiment of Arkansas troops, which I brought from WEST Point to this station, to disembark from the train for the defense of the railroad and town, although then under orders to proceed to Meridian, which, in conduction with Captain Owens' light battery, ordered from Aberdeen, was deemed a suffn. This arrangement effected with my troops, I moved before daylight, and, joined by General Gholson with some 200 State troops, proceeded, after some delay awaiting the arrival of Colonel [J.] Cunningham's regiment and expected information of the enemy, to the northwest, with the view of getting upon the enemy's flank or rear, and thus cutting off his retreat, having reasonable expectation of being joined during the day or succeeding night by Brigadier-General Chalmers, a direct movement on the shortest line toward the then supposed position of the enemy being hazardous, in consequence of extensive and almost impracticable swamps intervening and in his immediate front. This junction was deemed desirable on account of the smallness of my fighting force, with its inferior arms and the reported strength of the enemy.

After having marched some 12 or 14 miles, I received intelligence, at about 3 p. m., that the enemy, returning from the direction of Camargo, had retreated precipitately early during the night previous, and had already so far advanced as to preclude the hope of overtaking him.

The enemy was believed to have numbered some 1,500 mounted men, with four pieces of artillery. To plunder and waste the country was apparently the object of his expedition.