FEBRUARY 9, 1865.-Skirmish near Memphis, Tenn.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Cameron, Second Arkansas Cavalry (Union), commanding Fourth Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee.
HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE, CAVALRY DIVISION,
February 9, 1865.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that the escort having charge of the wood train from this brigade was attacked this morning at 8 o'clock about the time it arrived in the wood-yard one and one-quarter miles outside the pickets by a party of rebels believed to be seventy-five in number. The escort comprised seventeen mounted Second Arkansas Cavalry, twelve dismounted Second Missouri Cavalry, and eleven dismounted First Iowa Cavalry, making forty men, commanded by Second Lieutenant Laban N. Garrett, Company A, Second Arkansas Cavalry. At 8.30 o'clock I received information by messenger that the escort had been driven back and the train captured. I at once sent messengers to division headquarters with the information and for orders and immediately ordered out al the cavalry of the brigade. My messengers, returning, met me near the Carr avenue picket about 9 o'clock, bringing orders for me to pursue the rebels some distance beyond where the train was captured. I pushed forward as fast as possible ten miles on the rebel trail, but did not overtake any of any of the party. Had my men been mounted on serviceable horses I might have overtaken and severely chastised them. The trail was through the woods in the direction of Hernando, as I followed it. Doctor Raines, living about one mile west of the Hernando road and ten miles from the city of Memphis, informed me that the rebel force passed his house on the way to the wood-yard at 4 a. m. and returned with the captured mules at 9.15 a. m. in a hurry; that they divided just before they reached his place,thirty-five or forty passing his house, and he remainder turning to the right and making for a skirt of timber southwest of his hourse, though which the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad passes.
I abandoned pursuit, satisfied that I could accomplish nothing with my broken-down horses, and determined to return. Dividing my detachment of sixty-six men, I ordered Captain O'Brien back over the road we came with thirty-three men, and with the remainder I returned by the Hernando road. On reaching the Hernando road I captured Doctor Gabbert, who said he lived in the vicinity of Hernando, and supposing that he might give important information I brought him along. I have turned him and the property captured with him over to the provost marshal. A negro moving his family to Memphis told me that he passed a rebel force having a large of mules with them about twelve miles from Hernando; he supposed about 11 o'clock . In the encounter at the wood-yard our casualties were 1 sergeant, Second Arkansas Cavalry killed; 1 man, Second Missouri Cavalry, mortally wounded, and 3 slightly; 1 man, of the first Iowa Cavalry, severely wounded; 1 man, of the Second Missouri Cavalry, prisoner; also 5 teamsters, Second Arkansas Cavalry, prisoners. Loss of property, 111 U. S. mules in harness. Rebel casualties, as far as ascertained, 1 man killed, from whose person was taken, it is reported, a cotton pass dated February 8, 1865, and a letter containing valuable information. I have delayed this report, expecting to be able to get said cotton pass and letter and forward them with it, but have failed. I have placed the lieutenant