At daybreak on the 11th, I moved out in the direction of Salem, with six day's rations, two in haversacks, and 200 rounds of ammunition to the man. The entire force consisted of two brigades of cavalry, including the Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, with six mountain howitzers and four steel guns, six regiments of infantry, averaging 285 men to a regiment, and two batteries of artillery, ten pieces; in all, about 4,000 men of all arms.
I left Colonel Spooner here in command during my absence with three regiments of infantry and a section of artillery.
The cavalry moved in advance by brigades, with instructions to deploy to the right and left as they approached Salem and prevent any attempt on the part of the enemy to escape until I came up with the infantry and artillery. At Davis' Mills Colonel Hatch reported to me that the enemy were retreating toward Holly Springs.
Dispatch from Colonel Hatch:
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION, SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Davis' Mills, October 11, 1863.
General SWEENY and
I have the honor to report that the enemy have left Salem and moved back on Holly Springs.
I learn from reliable sources that Jackson and Chalmers had 4,000 men, and that Richardson re-enforced them with 1,200.
I am moving toward Holly Springs.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I told him to press them hard, communicate with me frequently, and that I would follow up as rapidly as I could.
While moving on the Holly Springs road heavy firing could be distinctly heard in the direction of Moscow, whereupon I immediately sent the following dispatch to Colonel Hatch:
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, In the Field, on Holly Springs Road, October 11, 1863.
Commanding Cavalry Division in the Field:
If the enemy are not in force in your front, fall back. Heavy cannonading is heard in the direction of Moscow. If this finds you south of Hudsonville, take the road that leads from that place to Moscow. I turn off from the Holly Springs road to Mount Pleasant, about a mile north of Lamar. Communicate with me often.
T. W. SWEENY,
P. S.-Am now awaiting news from La Grange. It may be of such a nature as to compel me to fall back on that place. If you don't find my trail at the intersection of the Moscow and Mount Pleasant roads, conclude that I have fallen back to La Grange.
While on my way to Mount Pleasant, and about sundown, I received the following dispatch from La Grange:
HEADQUARTERS POST AT LA GRANGE, TENN., October 11, 1863-3.10 p. m.
GENERAL: The following dispatch from the operator at Moscow will speak for itself:
"MOSCOW, October 11.
"Operator at La Fayette says Sherman, with his train, and Collierville are in the hands of the enemy; 3 p. m.