Albany road. Cavalry encountered about a regiment of rebel cavalry on that road and drove them south. Several showers during the afternoon and the roads very bad.
Wednesday, June 8. -Received information at 4 a. m. that Colonel Karge was on an island in the Hatchie River, and sent him 500 men and two howitzers as re-enforcements. Winslow's brigade of cavalry moved six miles on the Fulton road; infantry and train moved five miles on same road. Colonel Waring's brigade remained in Ripley awaiting return of Colonel Karge, who joined him at 5 p. m., having swam the Hatchie River. Rained hard during the night.
Thursday, June 9. -Sent back to Memphis 400 sick and worn-out men and forty-one wagons. Cavalry and infantry moved to Stubbs', fourteen miles from Ripley. Issued five days' rations (at previous camp). Rained two hours in the evening.
Friday, June 10. -Encountered the enemy at Brice's Cross-Roads, twenty-three miles from Ripley and six miles from Guntown.
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At Ripley it became a serious question in my mind as to whether or not I should proceed any farther. The rain still fell in torrents. The artillery and wagons were literally mired down, and the starved and exhausted animals could with difficulty drag them along. Under these circumstances I called together my DIVISION commanders and placed before them my views of our condition. At this interview one brigade commander and two members of my staff were, incidentally, present also. I called their attention to the great delay we had undergone on account of the continuous rain and consequent bad condition of the roads; the exhausted condition of our animals; the great probability that the enemy would avail himself of the time thus afforded him to concentrate an overwhelming force against us in the vicinity of Tupelo, and the utter hopelessness of saving our train or artillery in case of defeat, on account of the narrowness and general bad condition of the roads and the impossibility of procuring supplies of forage for the animals. All agreed with mein the probable consequences of defeat. Some thought our only safety lay in retracing our steps and abandoning the expedition. It was urged, however (and with some propriety, too), that inasmuch as I had abandoned a similar expedition only a few weeks before and given as my reasons for so doing the "utter and entire destitution of the country," and that in the face of this we were again sent through the same country, it would be ruinous on all sides to return again without first meeting the enemy. Moreover, from all the information General Washburn had acquired, there could be no considerable force in our front, and all my own information led to the same conclusion. To be sure my information was exceedingly meager and unsatisfactory, and had I returned I would have been totally unable to present any facts to justify my course, or to showion might not have been successfully carried forward. All I could have presented would have been my conjectthe enemy would naturally do under the circumstances, and these would have availed but little against the idea that the enemy was scattered and had no considerable force in our front. Under these circumstances, and with a sad foreboding of the consequences, I determined to move forward, keeping my force as compact as possible and ready for action at all times, hoping that we might succeed, and feeling that if we did not yet our losses might at most be insignificant in comparison with the great benefits which might accrue to General Sherman by the depletion of Johnston's army to so large an extent.
On the evening of the 8th, one day beyond Ripley, I assembled the commanders of infantry brigades at the headquarters of Colonel McMillen, and cautioned them as to the necessity of enforcing rigid discipline in their camps, keeping their troops always in hand and ready to