front in any way up to this time and know nothing of the strength, position, or movements of the enemy. I ordered McCulloch's brigade to Pontotoc and moved with Rucker's brigade to the infantry camp and sent Major Crump, of my staff, to Tupelo to ask for instructions, as I had received none, except to communicate with the major-general at Gorman's Mills, to which place all of our troops had been ordered. Major Crump returned at daylight with instructions for me to join General Buford, who was in front with his DIVISION and Mabry's brigade, assume command of the whole force, skirmish with the enemy, and make him develop his strength, but not to bring on a general engagement. I had some difficulty in finding General Buford, but at length came up with him on the evening of the 10th near Pontotoc, and then made my dispositions to carry out the instructions I had received, General Buford, acting under instructions from General Forrest, had sent to Okolona one of his brigades and a section of artillery. I wrote at once to the major-general that the enemy was moving very slowly, and usually with a line of battle and skirmishers about one mile in length, and that I could not without artillery make him develop his strength without endangering a general engagement, which I was instructed to avoid. He replied declining to send me artillery, but direction me to hold the enemy in check two days longer, if possible, until he could prepare to receive him near Okolona. This order was received on the night of the 11th instant. We had been skirmishing with him since the evening of the 10th, and held him in check very easily. Colonel McCulloch had skirmished with him on the morning of the 11th from a point two miles north to one four miles south of Pontotoc, losing 1 man killed and 1 wounded. Here he was relieved by General Lyon's brigade, which was dismounted and well posted in a strong position on Pinson's Hill.
The enemy's main force reached Pontotoc about 9 a. m. on the 11th, but did not attempt to move out farther than our picket on that day. Being instructed to prevent his moving in any direction without my knowledge, I placed Barteau's regiment on the Tupelo road, and Rucker's brigade on the Cotton-Gin road with orders to watch the Tupelo road and to re-enforce Colonel Barteau if necessary without awaiting further orders. General Lyon's and Colonel Mabry's brigades, under General Buford, were placed on the Okolona stage road, and McCulloch's brigade was stationed on the Houston road, and all these dispositions were communicated to Major-General Forrest. On the night of the 11th instant, under orders from Forrest, Barteau's regiment was sent to the rear.
On the morning of the 12th a brigade of the enemy's cavalry made an attack on General Lyon's position, but were easily repulsed. They also moved out three miles on the Houston road and were checked by Willis' battalion of McCulloch's brigade, and five miles on the Tupelo road, where they were driven back by a portion of Rucker's brigade, under Colonel Duff. About this time (9 a. m. on the 12th.) I received orders from the major-general to send one of my brigades immediately to the rear, and to let the enemy come on if he would, as everything was ready to receive him. Under this order I started Rucker's brigade to the rear, and all the wagon and ordnance trains six miles back on the Okolona road, and about 6 o'clock in the evening was withdrawing the whole command, when Colonel Galloway, of General Forrest's staff, came up and ordered me to remain where I was, stating that Generals Lee and Forrest would be up that night with all the force, to give battle there, and that he had ordered Rucker's brigade and the wagon trains back. The sudden change of orders, being made at night, produced some confusion.