We were then ordered to fall back to the rear, and on the morning of the 22nd we were detached from the Second Brigade and attached to the Third Brigade for the day, as they were in rear and had no artillery with them. We marched on until about 10 o'clock, when we arrived at Okolona and formed ready for a fight, but were soon ordered to march on. We had not proceeded very far when we were unexpectedly surprised by the presence of fleeing cavalry on both sides of us. They were in perfect confusion; some hallowing, "Go ahead, or we will be killed;" while some few showed a willingness to fight. After some several unsuccessful attempts to form by battery I gave it up, and marched as best I could until I received an order, purporting to come from headquarters, for me to try and save the artillery by marching through the field to the right. I proceeded to comply with orders, and after crossing some two or three almost impassable ditches, and my horses being nearly entirely exhausted, I came to another ditch some 6 feet deep. I managed to get one gun over safe by the men dismounting and taking it over by hand, and one other, which by the time we got it over was broken so we had to leave it. I ordered them to cut the horses loose and cut the gearing up, and go ahead with the gun and lead horses. I kept the orderly sergeant, 1 corporal, and 2 privates back to held me destroy the ammunition and spike the guns, and when we left them we left them effectually disabled, for the present at any rate. I then proceeded to gather up my company with my single gun, and marched with the Ninth Illinois battery* during the rest of our march.
I lost 30 horses during the march. Some of them I lost in the stampede, but most of them were worn out on march. I still have 80 horses, part serviceable and part unserviceable. I lost my 5 packsaddles. The men and negroes, they say, were ordered to leave them in the stampede, and I couldn't find them any more. Nothing more worth note transpired.
I. W. CURTIS,
Lieutenant, Company K, First Illinois Light Artillery.
Colonel WILLIAM P. HEPBURN.
Numbers 52. Report of Colonel La Fayette McCrillis, Third Illinois Cavalry, commanding Third Brigade, of operations February 10-26.
HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE,
Germantown, Tenn., February 29, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my brigade during the recent expedition into Mississippi:
On the 10th instant, by order of General W. S. Smith, I marched from Collierville with an effective force of 1,900 men, crossed the Coldwater at Quinn's Mill and camped that night at Raiford's plantation, 4 miles east of Byhalia.
February 11, remain in camp by order of General Smith. Lost
*Operated by men of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry.