Mills, toward Verona, where we arrived about sunrise, and awaited information of the enemy from Colonel [C. R.] Barteau who had been instructed to communicate with me at that point and from other sources.
Previously to moving from Okolona, I sent a communication to General Chalmers, then represented as near Pontotoc, giving information received respecting the enemy. After a brief delay at Sanders' Mills, I obtained information from Colonel Barteau that the enemy had been during the previous night at Tupelo, and that he would move up with his troops for the purpose of reconnoitering him to ascertain his strength and position, and would, in the event of its becoming necessary, fall back upon the road on which I was advancing. I then pushed forward rapidly, and, before reaching Verona, received a message indicating that Colonel Barteau with my advanced forces was then at Harrisburg, some 2 1/2 miles WEST of Tupelo, and I immediately moved in that direction, and when near that place received a dispatch from Colonel Barteau, stating that the enemy had retread precipitately the previous night along the railroad toward Corinth. I ordered a strong scout of two companies to push forward immediately in pursuit of the enemy, and then distributed the troops in new positions, sending the four companies of the THIRD Kentucky (mounted men) to Okolona, to take the down train for Meridian, in Conformity with previous orders.
Subsequently, I learned that the enemy numbered 2,000 or 2,500 cavalry, with six guns, comprising the Tenth Missouri, Seventh Iowa [Kansas], and NINTH Illinois, with two companies of mounted infantry, all under the command of Colonel Quinine [Cornyn]; that from 15 to 20 were killed, and from 30 to 40 wounded in the previous day's encounter; that they burned some transportation, destroyed supplies and camp equipage, and broke down the bridges in their precipitate retreat.
On our part, as near as I cakilled and 7 or 8 wounded (Confederate troops), and of the State troops 30 are represented to have bee taken prisoners.
Previous to this conflict, on account of unsettled questions of rank, and for wand of harmony among the commanders of my battalions in advance, I had sent verbal instructions that they should, in cases if emergency, obey the orders of the senior on the field, and even in coming in contact with the State troops in my absence, out of courtesy to General [S. J.] Gholson, and to preserve concert of action, should yield obedience temporarily to him as their commander.
I deem it expedient to observe at this point that communication between Okolona and Verona is attended with many difficulties, on account of four intermediate streams, bordered by bottom lands and morasses, almost impassable for cavalry during the rainy season, and but recently found practicable.
In conclusion, I respectfully recommend to your attention accompanying report of Lieutenant Colonel C. R. Barteay, who, with his command, is entitled to special consideration on account of good conduct in this as in some previous encounters with the enemy.
Major Inge's battalion (under Captain [P. A.] Mann), a portion of Major Hewlett's battalion, and two companies of the SECOND Alabama regiment, are also entitled to commendation for their good conduct.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
Major R. W. MEMMINGER,