brigade was sent across to the support of Force, and two batteries and three regiments of cavalry were also moved across and passed down to the left, to try and get round to the right flank of the enemy, and Mower's brigade was moved down to the bridge, as a reserve, to be followed, if necessary, by Colonel Geddes.
The enemy during the night withdrew from the position in front of Maltby, and concentrated the whole of the three brigades, Cosby's, Whitfield's, and Logan's, on the hills, occupying a most splendid position in front of Force and Leggett, as was understood by the citizens in the neighborhood, for the purpose of giving battle.
While the dispositions of the troops were being made, the enemy kept up an irregular artillery fire at long range.
When everything was ready a battery of rifled guns opened on them, and Leggett's and Force's brigades advanced.
The enemy did not wait to receive the attack, but left suddenly, [a part] taking the road to Vernon and the remainder, with the artillery, toward Canton.
Winslow's cavalry was immediately started in pursuit on the Vernon road, and Leggett's brigade pushed on toward Canton.
About 7 miles from the cross-roads, [in] the position occupied by the enemy, on the road to Canton, were some mills (Robinson's), and a wagon repair-shop, containing considerable unfinished work. Leggett was directed to push on an destroy these and await further orders.
In the meantime, from information, which I deemed reliable, I learned that Loring's division had been hurried to Canton, that a brigade of infantry, which had been sent up to Grenada, had been brought down, that 800 men from Mobile had reached Brandon, thus giving the enemy a larger force of infantry than I had, while their cavalry was more than double.
Such being the condition of affairs, I deemed it prudent to return, which I did, coming back via Clinton and the railroad bridge, having been absent seven days.
As a reconnaissance and diversion, the expedition answered the purposes for which it was intended, though we did not succeed in breaking up or demoralizing any of the enemy's cavalry.
We passed through the camps of Cosby's and Whitfield's brigades.
Our loss was 5 killed and 15 wounded, and some few missing-stragglers who were probably picked up.
We captured 20 prisoners, among them a lieutenant, and probably killed and wounded a greater number of the enemy than we lost.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
Brigadier General JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Vicksburg, Miss., October 20, 1863.
GENERAL: I returned yesterday from the reconnaissance in the direction of Canton, the particulars of which will be found in the report sent, this day, to Brigadier-General Rawlins.
After reaching Robinson's Mill, near Livingston, I was satisfied that the enemy would have a force of infantry superior to mine, be-