advance of the cavalry until our infantry and artillery came up.
The country being very rough and impracticable for cavalry movements, I directed Colonel Winslow to take the main portion of his force, move as rapidly as possible across to the Canton road, thence to the intersection of the Canton and Clinton and Vernon roads, and thence down in rear of the enemy, while Maltby's brigade and one regiment of cavalry engaged their attention in front, the main portion of the infantry moving after the cavalry on the Canton road.
On reaching Bogue Chitto Creek, Colonel Winslow found Whitfield's brigade, with two pieces of artillery, in position to dispute his farther advance. The infantry came up, and one brigade crossed the creek and drove the enemy's skirmishers back to the hills, when it became too dark to distinguish objects, and the command bivouacked for the night.
Early in the morning, Leggett's brigade was thrown across to the support of Force, and the cavalry moved to our left to come in on the flank of the enemy, when, after some little artillery, practice, they suddenly fell back on the roads leading to Canton and Vernon. The force in front of Maltby had abandoned their position during the night and joined Whitfield. Our cavalry immediately started in pursuit on the Vernon road, and our infantry on the Canton road.
After going about 3 miles on the Vernon road, the cavalry struck off toward Livingston, and came together near Robinson's Mills, a short distance from the latter place, where they made another stand, from which they were driven and the mills destroyed by my direction.
At this point, I learned from pretty good authority that by the time I could reach Canton a larger force of infantry would be assembled there than I had of infantry and cavalry; besides, their cavalry force was a third larger and much better in quality. I deemed it advisable to return, which I did, via Clinton and Big Black Bridge, having been out seven days. Our loss was 4 men killed, 10 wounded, and a few stragglers missing. We captured about 20 prisoners, among them a lieutenant, and, from their own reports, killed 5 and wounded 20, among the latter Wirt Adams, slightly. We passed through the camps of Cosby's and Whitfield's brigades, but captured no property, as they started all their trains and everything back to Pearl River the day we crossed the Big Black.
Owing to their superior knowledge of the country, it was impossible to surround them, and I do not think we succeeded in demoralizing their cavalry much.
I send you herewith copy of a letter from General Tuttle and my letter to General Grant.* Some recent reports from another scout, a refugee, and a deserter, all go to confirm, to a certain extent, the statements of the first scout, though I am satisfied the numbers of the enemy are greatly overrated. I think they had, or would have had, about 10,000 infantry, besides the three brigades of cavalry at Canton, by the time I could have reached there. I have some more scouts out, and may hear something definite soon.
Davis and Joe Johnston were in Jackson last Tuesday week, one day after my return. Three days after I had started, General Hawkins, in command at Goodrich's Landing, sent down to General McArthur, who was left here in command, for re-enforcements, 2,000 infantry and a battery of artillery, stating that the enemy, about 4,000 strong, had crossed Bayou Macon to attack him and clean out
*For McPherson to Grant, October 24, 1863, inclosing letter from Tuttle, see Vol. XXXI, Part I, p. 721.