(then in Cairo awaiting orders to move), informing him of the expectation of a necessity to call for 2,000 men for this service, to which he responded, placing the force at my disposal. I was aware that the Fourth Division was awaiting orders for movement up the Tennesse, but as General Veatch was absent, transports, yet to come from St. Louis, and as I had no disposable force of my own, I made available this only mode of repelling an advance of the enemy, which threatened not only Union City, but Columbus, Hickman, and Paducah.
On reaching Union City Captain Odlin found the pickets driven in, and almost immediately the wire was cut, preventing further communication with me. this indicated the presence of the enemy on the railroad between Union City and Columbus. Having instructions not to endanger the engine and train, he immediately returned to Columbus, passing over the burning superstruction a few miles this side of Union City. From Columbus I was advised by him and by Colonel Lawrence, commanding that post, that Colonel Hawkins could probably hold out until aid would reach him.
At 9 this morning I left Cairo with the Thirty-fifth New Jersey, Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, and Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, Lieutenant-Colonel Rusk, being part of First Brigade, Colonel Montgomery, and the Thirty-second Wisconsin, Major De Groat, and Seventeenth, Howe, about 2,000 strong and taking Sparrestrom's battery and a party of mounted scouts on board, started at 3 p. m. for Union City, having been informed, however, that the road had been disabled by the burning of a bridge. Arriving at a station-miles this side of Union City I learned with great pain and surprise that Colonel Hawkins had surrendered at 11 a. m., and had with his force been removed and his force been removed and his fortifications destroyed.
The force of the enemy does not appear to have been more than a fourth of the number represented, and without artillery. The number of men surrendered is probably 500, some 75 having escaped. All were armed and equipped; about 300 mounted. A few mules, three wagons, and an inconsiderable amount of public property were lost and destroyed. I learn that Colonel Hawkins' command had been recently paid for over a year's service, and that the aggregate of individual loss, on the part of the officers and soldiers, will reach some $60,000.
The object of the expedition being thus defeated, I immediately returned the command to Columbus, and re-embarked the troops belonging to the Fourth Division on transports and returned them to Cairo, to be ready for their expected movement up the Tennessee on the morrow. Had the troops been at my further disposal I should have gone forward to Union city and proceeded to [drive] from this district all hostile forces and irregular bands now infesting it, but my instructions from General Sherman (received after my arrival at Columbus) being imperative not to divert these regiments from their designed movements up the river I could not do otherwise than replace them, for though I was willing to risk much to relieve and rescue a force supposed to be yet engaged in gallant defense, I could do nothing to mitigate even the accomplished misfortune of a surrender.
I omitted to state that anticipating a probable attack upon Hickman, defended by a small company and one gun, I this morning withdrew that force. With the approbation of my superior officer