On Sunday, October 11, having put in motion my, whole force, I started myself for Corinth in a special train, with the battalion of the Thirteenth U. S. Regulars for escort. We reached Collierville Station about noon-just in time to take part in the defense made of that station by Colonel D. C. Anthony, of the Sixty-sixth Indiana, against an attack made by General Chalmers with a force of about 3,000 cavalry, with eight pieces of artillery. He was beaten off, the damage to the road repaired, and we resumed our journey next day, reaching Corinth at night. I immediately ordered General Blair forward to Iuka with the First Division, and, as fast I got troops up, pushed them forward of Bear Creek, the bridge of which wad completely destroyed, and an engineer regiment, under command of Colonel Flad, engaged in its repair.
Quite a considerable force of the enemy was assembled to our front, near Tuscumbia, to resist our advance. It was commanded by General Stephen D. Lee, and composed of Roddey's and Ferguson's brigades, with irregular cavalry, amounting in the aggregate to about 5,000.
In person I moved from Corinth to Burnsville on the 18th, and to Iuka on the 19th, of October.
Osterhaus' division was in the advance, constantly skirmishing with the enemy. He was supported by Morgan L. Smith, both divisions under the general command of Major-General Blair. General John E. Smith's division covered the working party engaged in rebuilding the railroad.
Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennessee, I had written to Admiral Porter at Cairo, asking him to watch the Tennessee and send up some gunboats the moment the stage of water admitted, and had also requested General Allen, at St. Louis, Blair. General John E. Smith's division covered the working party engaged in rebuilding the railroad.
Foreseeing difficulty in crossing the Tennessee, I had written to Admiral Porter at Cairo, asking him to watch the Tennessee and send up some gunboats the moment the stage of water admitted, and had also requested General Allen, at St. Louis, to dispatch up to eastport a steam ferry-boat. The admiral, ever prompt and ready to assist us, had 2 fine gunboats up at Eastport, under Captain Phelps, the very day after my arrival at Iuka, and Captain Phelps had a coal barge decked over, with which to cross over horses and wagons before the arrival of the ferry-boat.
Still following literally the instructions of General Halleck, i pushed forward the repairs of the railroad, and ordered General Blair, with the two leading divisions, to drive the enemy beyond Tuscumbia. This he did successfully after a pretty severe fight at Cane Creek, occupying Tuscumbia on the 27th of October.
In the meantime, many important changes in commands had occurred, which I must note here to a proper understanding of the case.
General Grant had been called from Vicksburg and sent to Chattanooga to command the three Armies of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and the Department of the Tennessee had devolved on me, with instructions, however, to retain command of the army in the field.
It Iuka I made what appeared to me the best disposition of matters relating to the department, giving General McPherson full powers as to Mississippi, and General Hurlbut as to West Tennessee, and assigned General Blair to the command of the Fifteenth Army Corps, and I summoned General Hurlbut from Memphis and General Dodge from Corinth, an selected out of the Sixteenth Corps a force of about 8,000 men, which I directed General Dodge to organize with all expedition, and with it to follow me eastward. On the 27th of October, when General Blair with two divisions was at