War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0699 Chapter XLIV. EXPEDITION TO RIPLEY, MISS.

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when I halted the cavalry to await the approach of Colonel McMillen's brigade, who informed me by courier that he had succeeded in crossing the Wolf River with one regiment of infantry and three companies of cavalry. The regiment of infantry he immediately sent forward to bridge the north fork of the same stream. I subsequently received word from him that in attempting to cross his train the bridge, which he reported as being a very breaking through and sinking one of the boats. This made it necessary to construct a new bridge, and the remainder of his command could not be moved over until 3 o'clock Tuesday morning (May 3).

Having received information that Forrest was concentrating his force at Jackson with the intention of moving south, and also intelligence from the major-general commanding the district that it had been unofficially reported to him that a division of our infantry had moved up the Tennessee River with the intention of occupying Purdy, and thus to cut off Forrest's line of retreat in that direction, I did not deem it safe to move forward the entire cavalry force until the infantry had arrived to within supporting distance, or had at least effected the crossing of the Wolf River and its fork, as it would have enabled the enemy to pass over the Hatchie River at the Easternaula crossing, on the direct road from Somerville to Jackson, by means of the pontoon he had with him, and to move between the cavalry and Colonel McMillen's infantry brigade, thus giving him an opportunity to destroy both in detail. Under these circumstances I ordered Colonel Waring, at 1 p. m., May 2, to send Colonel karge forward to Bolivar with the Second New Jersey and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, with two pieces of artillery (in all, 700 strong), for the purpose of gaining more definite information of the enemy's movements, and, if possible, to secure the bridge he had thrown across the Hatchie River at that point. The remainder of Colonel Waring's division I halted 5 miles from Somerville, on the Bolivar road, to support Colonel Karge should he meet with any considerable force, or to oppose an advance from the Estenaula crossing should that be attempted, until I could gain satisfactory tidings from Colonel McMillen, to whom I had sent word to move up with all dispatch.

During the night I received information from Colonel Karge that his advance had encountered the enemy's vedettes, 7 miles from Bolivar, to which place he pursued them, and then met the enemy with a force equal if not larger then his own, commanded by forrest in person. After a sharp engagement of nearly an hour's duration he had succeeded in dislodging the enemy from the earth-works and rifle-pits, which had been thrown up there before, and finally drove him through the swampy bottoms in the direction of Pocahontas and Middleton, not, however, until the bridge over the Hatchie River had been destroyed. Our loss in this engagement was 2 killed and 10 wounded. The enemy's loss was much heavier, owing to the determination of our troops and the superiority of our arms and artillery, which the enemy was not at all provided with. Among his wounded were several officers, including Forrest's adjutant-general, whose arm was shattered by a carbine ball.

I immediately ordered the entire cavalry force to move to Bolivar at daylight in the morning (May 3), and ordered Colonel McMillen to join there as rapidly as possible with his own brigade, as well as the additional infantry force commanded by Colonel Harris, and which had overtaken him while bridging the Wolf River.