I cannot speak in too much praise of the promptness and gallantry shown by all my scouts in every affair in which they were engaged. So uniformly well did they all behave as to elicit my admiration, and so many were the feats of personal prowess that came under my own observation that I was constrained to believe if the whole army were composed of such men we would be invincible.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant, Commanding Scouts.
Numbers 71. Reports of Brigadier General Robert V. Richardson, C. S. Army, commanding brigade, of operations on the Yazoo River.
HEADQUARTERS WEST TENNESSEE BRIGADE,
Benton, Miss., March 7, 1864
MAJOR: On February 23 I received an order from Major General S. D. Lee, commanding cavalry west of Alabama, to move my brigade to Grenada for the protection of the public property at that point and to guard against raids from Yazoo City.
I started from Tampico on the of the 24th, and hearing that evening that the enemy was raiding unrestricted over the country between the Yazoo River and the Mississippi Central Railroad from Greenwood to Lexington, I moved rapidly to surprise and chastise him. I reached Elliott's Station on the evening of the 25th, and preparing three days' rations-leaving my train except my ambulances, taking only my effective men and horses,then numbering 600, and the rifle section of Thrall's battery-I started at noon on February 26 to Carrollton, hoping that by moving all night I would be able to pass between a party of negroes led by white officers, then raiding about Black Hawk, and their gun-boats and transports at Sidon, and cutting them off from their boats, would be able to capture and destroy them. I marched all night, and next morning learned that these negroes had returned to their boats. I moved on to Sidon, on the east bank of the Yazoo Rive, and finding that the enemy had gone down the river in his boats, I sent scouts to Tchula to find the locality if in that neighborhood. My scouts reported that eleven transports and three gun-boats had proceeded down the river to Vicksburg, and that one transport and two gun-boats were reported west of Honey Island loading with cotton. My information, derived from citizens and our soldiers captured and who had escaped, showed pretty conclusively that this armada was composed of twelve transports and five gun-boats, the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, one regiment of negro cavalry, and one regiment of negro infantry, variously estimated at from 1,000 to 2,000 men. It also appeared that their object was to take cotton, stock, and negroes and corn, and to hold and navigate the Yazoo River for the purpose of drawing from its rich granaries subsistence for the army at Vicksburg.
Feeling that the supplies of the Yazoo Valley were of great value to the country, I deemed it of vast importance to punish the enemy and drive him if possible, from this river, that we might preserve its rich abundance of army supplies for the use of the Confederate