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No. 68.-report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, of skirmish near Corinth, Miss., May 9.

headquarters Second Indiana Cavalry, May 10, 1862.
Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of copy of communication of this date, addressed to you by Colonel Fry and referred to me for explanation.1

In response I would respectfully state that two companies of my regiment were on duty yesterday with General McCook, the right of their vedettes stationed on this side of the glade, where the engineers were at work, the chain extending to the left until it connected with General Pope's pickets.

None of my men crossed to where the firing took place until I came up, except Sergeant Tucker; he went over and brought to this side on [832] his horse a dying man of the Twenty-ninth Indiana, who had been deserted by the retreating infantry. I came up with a company to relieve the one then on outpost just before the firing ceased, and did not suppose the skirmishing was serious until parties of infantry commenced retreating across in squads, some accompanied by their officers and all apparently very much excited and frightened. I ordered their officers to halt the men and form them, which they did. Some mounted officer afterward came up and ordered them to resume work again, which they did. These men were detachments, I believe, from the Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania, Twenty-ninth Indiana, and Michigan Engineers. Their officers told me that 4,000 or 5,000 of the enemy had attacked and driven them back.

Colonel Innes, of the Engineers, came to the road where the engineers had been working, and requested me to send some of my men to the other side of the slough. I sent a sergeant and 4 men, who took position behind the log house in the field and drove the enemy back with their carbines through the skirt of woods. They remained there for an hour and a half after the working party had been withdrawn, and only returned to this side of the glade when ordered to do so by me, and after I was fully satisfied there was no further prospect of a fight.

None of my men on yesterday or at any other time have ever behaved in a manner which Colonel Fry terms “discreditable to the army and themselves.” They did all and more than duty required, and I regard it, to say the least, as unjust and unsoldierly to cast this stain upon the honor of the regiment and the State before carefully investigating the facts and fully ascertaining whether so serious a charge, and one so fatal to the reputation of both officers and men, had any foundation. I have no doubt but that the statements which have misled the general commanding have been made by parties who desire to cover their own shame and cowardice by casting undeserved odium upon another arm of the service.

I respectfully demand an official investigation of this matter.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Edward M. McCOOK, Colonel Second Indiana Cavalry. Col. James S. Jackson, Commanding Cavalry, Army of the Ohio.


The language quoted above as the “terms” of my letter is not cor rect according to the records made of the letter in my office. The terms used were “In a manner not at all creditable,” and not , “discreditable,” &c. The difference between the two phrases is apparent.

James B. Fry, Colonel and Chief of Staff.

headquarters Army of the Ohio, In Camp, May 10, 1862.
Colonel Jackson, Commanding Cavalry:
The cavalry force in front of General McCook's division yesterday were approached by small parties of the enemy's skirmishers (who were [833] feeling for information), and when the enemy fired our cavalry broke and fled in disorder and in a manner not at all creditable to themselves or our army. You are desired to express General Buells disapprobation of the behavior of the part of your command referred to, and to make known to your entire command what is expected of them under similar circumstances in future. Please report what companies were on duty with General McCook yesterday.

The working party of Michigan Engineers and Mechanics left their tools, took their guns, after the cavalry fled, and drove back the enemy.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

James B. Fry, Colonel and Chief of Staff

1 Following.

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Corinth (Mississippi, United States) (1)
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Edward M. McCook (4)
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