War of the Rebellion: Serial 077 Page 0304 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS, ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

Search Civil War Official Records

Numbers 35. Report of Brigadier General Benjamin H. Grierson, U. S. Army, commanding Cavalry DIVISION.


Memphis, Tenn., July 25, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that in pursuance of the orders of Major General C. C. Washburn, commanding District of WEST Tennessee, dated June 18, 1864, I concentrated the effective portion of my command, numbering about 3,200 men, on the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, in the vicinity of La Grange, Tenn., about June 28, 1864, subject to the orders of Major General A. J. Smith, commanding Right Wing, SIXTEENTH Army Corps.

On the 5th instant, leaving one regiment to guard La Grange till troops should come for that purpose from Memphis, I moved southeasterly toward Ripley, Miss., my advance guard repeatedly skirmishing with small parties of rebel cavalry.

I arrived at a point three miles northeast of Ripley on the afternoon of the 7th, when I was rejoined by the regiment which had left as guard at La Grange on the 5th. At that point I found one brigade of the enemy, which was driven from our front in one hour's fighting by one regiment without loss; the enemy left 4 dead in our hands.

Marching on the next day, the 8th, wherever, it was practicable I moved the main portion of my command upon the left flank of the infantry and was constantly skirmishing with the enemy.

Reaching Pontotoc on the morning of the 11th, we found McCulloch's rebel brigade occupying the town, with at least a brigade in reserve upon a hill south of the town. While the enemy were engaging the Seventh Kansas, which found the advance guard of the infantry, I moved in upon the east side of town and compelled the enemy to evacuate precipitately and in some confusion, leaving several dead and wounded in our hands.

The next day we remained at Pontotoc, and I sent the THIRD Iowa Cavalry, Colonel Noble, and the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, Lieutenant- Colonel Burgh, upon a reconnaissance, the THIRD upon the Houston road and the Ninth upon the Okolona road. Soon after passing the pickets the Ninth became briskly engaged with Lyon's (rebel) brigade, and drove it about two miles. Our loss in this engagement was 1 killed and 7 wounded.

On the morning of the 13th we resumed the march toward Tupelo, reaching that point about noon, having skirmished with and drove the enemy almost the entire distance. During this day they left 7 dead in our hands.

On the 14th, during the engagement at Tupelo, my command was disposed on the right and left, one brigade being occupied in picketing, demonstrating, and skirmishing on each flank. Detachments were employed at times as dismounted skirmishers in front and center, and the different portions of my command, especially the Ninth Illinois Cavalry, were several times very sharply engaged by the enemy.

On the 15th, on the march toward Ellistown, while my command was much divided and employed as advance, flank, and rear guard, the last, composed of parts of three regiments, was very vigorously attacked near [Old] Town Creek by Buford's DIVISION of the enemy. I was with the rear guard in person, and was following the main column, gradually falling back from one position to another, when I suddenly discovered,