With this assurance, I moved on to Salem, struck their pickets, and there received information that McGrillis and Phillips had been compelled to fall back, owing to the superior force of the enemy and the fact that they were out of ammunition. I also learned that the enemy was considerably re-enforced during the preceding night. Ordering the skirmishers forward, with instructions not to bring on a general engagement there, I sent a dispatch to Colonel Rice, commanding the brigade at Davis' Mills, asking him to move up at once, as I intended to make the attack as soon as he did so. I did not deem it prudent to attack unassisted, as I had only 750 men and no artillery, while the enemy was estimated at not less than 3,000, with nine or ten guns.
We skirmished with the enemy for three hours, when, instead of re-enforcements, I received a dispatch from General Sweeny, stating that McGrillis and Phillips had fallen back to La Grange, and advising me to move back in that direction. Had the promised re-enforcements arrived, as I confidently expected, I am of the opinion that we could have defeated the enemy at Salem and prevented any movement against the railroad.
Finding that I must depend upon my own command exclusively, I moved back to La Grange to collect the whole command together and move in force. I was then advised that General Sweeny intended to move on Salem with infantry and artillery, and I was directed to co-operate with him.
On the 10th instant, I organized the entire division, including the Ninth Illinois Infantry, into two brigades, commanded respectively by Lieutenant-Colonels Phillips and Moyers, the whole numbering about 2,200 men and eight guns.
In compliance with orders from General Sweeny, moved out from La Grange on the morning of the 11th toward Salem to cover the movement of General Sweeny's infantry. The First Brigade, under Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, on reaching Salem found the Third Michigan Cavalry there, and learned the enemy had left Salem, going toward Holly Springs. Was then ordered by General Sweeny to cover his front toward Holly Springs.
On nearing Holly Springs and learning the enemy had made an attack on Collierville, marched one brigade by way of Hudsonville toward Mount Pleasant. Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, seeing the importance of moving on the south side toward Quinn's Mill, had taken this line of march, destroying the bridges on Coldwater and filling the fords with timber.
At 9 o'clock on the morning of the 12th, struck the enemy's rear at Quinn and Jackson's Mill, 8 miles south of Collierville, my command having marched-the main column-52 miles in twenty-four hours, steadily driving the enemy's rear 9 miles. Three miles south of Byhalia came upon the enemy, under General Chalmers and General [Colonel] Richardson, posted in a strong position on hills, with a swamp in front, with two 6-pounder guns in their center, commanding the road. Our men drove in the enemy's skirmishers out of the swamp, when the enemy opened from his artillery and line.
About 3 p. m. Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips deployed his men on the right and center, moving a howitzer battery to the front, and opened with shell on log-houses occupied by the enemy. The enemy charged the center spiritedly, and were met by the Seventh Illinois Cavalry and Ninth Illinois Infantry, repulsed, and driven