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[574] Harnden learned from the ferryman that the party he was pursuing had crossed about one o'clock that morning, and were only a few hours ahead of him on the road leading to Irwinsville. He also learned from the ferryman several facts apparently trivial in themselves, but which, taken with what he already knew, were strongly confirmatory of the belief that he was on the right track. At Abbeville, a village of three families, he halted to feed, and just as he was renewing his march he met the advance guard of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Pritchard commanding, moving southeasterly on the road from Hawkinsville. Ordering his detachment to continue its march, Colonel Harnden rode to meet Colonel Pritchard, and after recounting his orders, gave him such information in regard to Davis' movements as he had been able to gather. This was about three o'clock in the afternoon. After a conversation between these officers, the precise details of which are variously reported, they separated, Colonel Harnden to rejoin his command, already an hour or more in advance, and Colonel Pritchard continuing his march along the south side of the Ocmulgee. It will be remembered that Colonel Pritchard began his march from the vicinity of Macon, on the evening of May 7th, under verbal orders given him by General Minty, in pursuance of instructions from corps headquarters. His attention was particularly directed to the crossings of the Ocmulgee river, between Hawkinsville and Jacksonville, near the mouth of the Ohoopee, with the object of intercepting Davis and such other rebel chiefs as might be making their way out of the country by the roads in that region. I{e had, however, not gone more than three miles from Abbeville before he obtained from a negro man (perhaps the same one which Harnden had met previously) such additional information in regard to the party as convinced him that it was his duty to join in the pursuit. In this he was clearly right, and had he done otherwise would have been censurable for negligence and want of enterprise. Colonel Harnden having informed him that he had force enough to cope with Davis, Colonel Pritchard determined to march by a more circuitous route toward Irwinsville. Why he did not send a courier on the trail pursued by Colonel Harnden, to notify the latter of his newly-formed plan, has not been explained. This would probably have prevented the collision which afterward occurred between his regiment and that of Colonel Harnden, and would not have rendered the capture of Davis less certain. No reflection upon the conduct of Colonel Pritchard is intended by this remark, for it is believed that this omission was simply an oversight, which might have occurred

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Henry Harnden (7)
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