War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0506 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter

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strong, With two pieces of artillery, had crossed at Wyatt, and that another column had crossed Coldwater near the depot of that name in time to reach Panola Friday morning, when the attack would have been made. We did not know where General Chalmers was, further than he went preceding Monday to the neighborhood of Commerce. Early Wednesday dispatched a courier to General Chalmers With the information we then had. You did the same on Wednesday, after we concluded to return to Panola. We hoped that possibly he might get to Panola to Friday morning, though we did not much expected it. From prisoners taken since recrossing the Tallahatchee, I learned the forces sent against Panola were larger than we estimated them. I have examined two of them separately, and they concur in the statement that there were nine regiments and two fractions. They gave the names as follows to it: THIRD Michigan, SECOND Iowa, THIRD Illinois, fourth of First Tennessee

, NINTH Illinois Battery, two pieces SECOND Iowa Battery, and two pieces Fourth Illinois Battery. These two prisoners belonged to the THIRD Michigan, and did not remember the names and numbers of the other two regiments. Captain James E. Matthews informed the that column which crossed Coldwater at his ferry were counted, and November 2,025. It is known that a considerable number did not go in that direction. I have made this statement because I have heard that a good deal of unfriendly criticism upon the retreat has been indulged in by that class who have seen proper no take no other part in this war than to remain at home and to embarrass to operation of the army by abuse of those who are intrusted With command. I felt great doubts at to the propriety of retreating without a contest, because I did not know that the information we had was correct; it appeared to be so then, and has been since confirmed. It would probably have been better had we retreated by the road leading near the railrst the party which actually destroyed it; but if we had gone in that direction, the whole force of the enemy would have followed, and we could not have saved it from them. It was impossible to save our train by any other route than the one by which be sent it. I will further add that I Telegraphed General Johnston the route over which we intended to retreat, and his answer did not disapprove it. I will furthermore add that I did not pretend to exercise any control over the Confederate forces under Colonel McCulloch; that and I co-operated at is each had entirely independent commands. The track of the enemy in this last raid is marked by robbery and arson. They store every mule and horse, buggy, carriage, and wagon which they could seize. They carried off every valuable slave which they could entice or force to accompany them. They burned corn-cribs, Mills, gin-houses, fences, blacksmith-shops, and wheat which had been cut and was then in the shock In many instances they robbed the citizens of clothing and furniture. Unless the force is increased in this section I see but little prospect of preventing a repetition of these raids and their bad effects. Property of a kinds is now utterly insecure north of the Tallahatchee. I most respectfully suggest that if our forces be not increased in this district, that most of those we have be employed as guerrillas as far as practicable. That mode of warfare seems to be more effective when our forces are so inferior in number to the enemy as they are as present. In conclusion, I will add that I found Colonel McCulloch active and