War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0491 Chapter XXXVI. OPERATIONS IN NORTHWESTERN Mississippi.

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light on the 16th southward through Byhalia and Chulahoma, and join the main column at or near Wyatt; Lieutenant-Colonel Meek, commanding Fourth Brigade, to join me With eight companies of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry at some convenient point on the Holly Springs road, south of La Grande, and started myself With the SECOND Brigade, colonel Hatch commanding, at 5 a. m. June 16, from La Grande, and, moving south, camped at Retread, 8 miles southwest of Holly Springs. On the following day the entire command formed a junction, and at noon reached the Tallahatchee at Wyatt. Here the stream was found so wide and deep, and no means of crossing being at hand, a boom was constructed from timber taken from a cotton-gin, and a raft from material found in an adjacent house. The SECOND Brigade commenced crossing at 3 p. m., and by great industry a large portion of the command was thrown over that night, the balance crossing between daylight and 9 a. m. the following day.

From the south side of the river I moved southwest to the Oxford and Panola road, thence WEST toward Panola, covering the movement of a detachment of six companies which were directed to push rapidly forward toward Oakland, striking the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad at the crossing of the Yockeney River, destroying the bridge at that point and the railroad north to Panola.

The operations of this detachment are detailed in the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Moyres, herewith transmitted.

On reaching a point some 8 miles from Panola, I encountered the enemy's outpost or picket, consisting of two companies, which were instantly routed and a portion of them captured.

Darkness coming on, farther advance was unadvisable, and after carefully reconnoitering the surrounding country, the command encamped for the night. Fearing an evacuation, every preparation was made during the night to attack the enemy at daylight, on the first approach of which, With the First Brigade in advance, followed by the SECOND and the Fourth Brigades, forming the reserve and rear guard, in whose charge were placed all means of transportation and supernumerary appendages, the column advanced rapidly upon the town, which was entered without the slightest opposition at 7. 30 on the morning of the 19th, the enemy, some 800 strong, under General George, having evacuated during the night, somewhat hastily, however, leaving their sick, a quantity of guns, ammunition, and camp and garrison equipage, also two caissons and battery wagons and battery forge behind, which were secured by the SECOND Brigade.

Learning that Chalmers had gone north With some 1,200 men, and that General George was pushing southwest toward Charleston so rapidly that pursuit would be useless, I determined to cross the Tallahatchee immediately, and, if possible, intercept Chalmers on his return.

Having dispatched the First Brigade and several detachments to scour the country in all directions for stock, and repaired the ferry-boat, which had been but partially destroyed by the affrighted enemy, I began crossing the SECOND Brigade at 11 a. m. The entire force, including the detachment from the Yockeney, which joined me at near sunset, crossed before dark and camped some 6 miles north, leaving a strong picket at the river, which were fired upon by a small body of the enemy from the opposite bank on the morning of the 20th, while destroying the ferry-boat. Receiving a heavy volley from our men, they soon disappeared, and the destruction of the boat was completed without further interruption. Moved north until reaching a point near Sledgeville, where I issued the following order, detaching my command so as to sweep the