wounds I was obliged to leave about forty of the worst wounded cases of my own command at Tupelo. I sent out one brigade of cavalry on the Pontotoc road to bring off a gun of the enemy's which has been disabled the day before, which they did after some slight skirmishing. It being now nearly noon, and no demonstration from the enemy, I directed Colonel Moore, commanding THIRD DIVISION, to withdraw his line and take the advance with his command and proceed on the Ellistown road, moving with sick and wounded, protected well on the flanks by a brigade of cavalry and in the rear by the colored brigade. General Mower and the remainder of the cavalry covered the withdrawal. On removing the troops from the eminence on the left of the line, they took possession of it and were attempting to place a battery in position, when Colonel Bouton, with two regiments of his command, and General Mower, with two brigades, charged and drove them from their position, following nearly a mile. The troops then withdrew without molestation. On reaching Old Town Creek, where we encamped for the night, the First DIVISION was ordered to pass the THIRD and take position in advance, so that they might be in readiness to take the advance in the morning. They had scarcely passed when a small force of the enemy, numbering perhaps 1,000 men, took position on the hill just passed and commenced shelling the camp. General Mower turned back two of his regiments, and with a brigade of the THIRD DIVISION turned and drive them back about a mile with heavy loss on their part. From this date nothing more was seen of them. We encamped at Ellistown on the 16th, near New Albany the 17th, near the Tippah the 18th, and reached Salem the 19th, where we found supplies waiting our arrival.
On the 20th moved to Davis' Mills, and on the morning of the 21st to La Grande, having been gone seventeenth days. The roads were in very fair condition, but dusty. The weather was exceedingly warm, and we found but very little water. The line officers and soldiers deserve lasting praise for the manner in which they endured the hardships and fatigues of the campaign; marching over dusty roads with only one-half or one-THIRD rations, under a broiling sun, with little water, is certainly a severe test of their zeal and patriotism. All honor be to the noble men whose breasts are the bulwarks of our nation.
The DIVISION commanders gallantly and faithfully discharged the duties assigned them with zeal and ability. I only ask that our country may always find such sons in her hour of need. General Mower was more fortunate than the others in being in the exact position where the hardest fighting occurred, and nobly bore the brunt and deserves the bays.
The colored brigade, under Colonel Bouton, fought excellently well, and showed the effect of discipline and drill, and I am free to confess that their action has removed from my mind a prejudice of twenty years' standing.
It is with pain that I have to announce the death of Colonel Alexander Wilkin, Ninth Minnesota Volunteers, who was killed early in the engagement of the 14th. He died as a soldier may, at his post on the field of battle. Although but a short time with the command yet his many noble traits had endeared him to all. Death's peace rest o'er him.
The enemy's loss will reach 3,000 men killed, wounded, and prisoners during the expedition.
I send herewith a full list of our casualties. *
* Embodied in table following.