previous next

[271] command of the corps, but before the Fifth division had joined me, it, with one of the siege-batteries, was reassigned to Major-General Buell.

On the fourth of May the reserves were moved forward by me — the Third division from their position near the Pittsburgh and Purdy bridge, across Owl Creek to Mickey's White House, and the First division under command of Brig.-Gen. Judah to the vicinity of Monterey. Encountering a heavy rain-storm on the march, the roads became very bad, and Lick Creek so swollen as to be impassable without re-bridging. This I caused to be done under the direction of Lieut. H. C. Freeman, Engineer of the corps.

Nor should I forget to state, that during this march, I received an order to send back a detachment of cavalry under instructions to proceed to the most convenient bridge across Owl Creek, and thence to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, at or near Bethel, for the purpose of destroying it. In conveying this order, amid the storm and press of troops and train, Capt. Norton, my Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, coming in contact with a miring, floundering horse, met with the misfortune of having one of his legs broken. Pressing on, however, he delivered the order.

Lieut.-Col. William McCollough, with the small available force at hand, consisting of only two hundred and fifty Illinois mounted men, started after nightfall, and marching through rain and mire all night, seventeen miles, came to the road, and dismounting his men under the enemy's fire, destroyed three bridges, a portion of the road-track and telegraph-wire — throwing the latter into Cypress Creek. Having accomplished this daring feat, he turned his small force against the enemy's cavalry and, boldly attacking them, drove them back in confusion upon and through Purdy, killing a number of them and losing one man and several horses. This achievement prevented the enemy from turning our flank at Pea Ridge, and while advancing upon Corinth. All credit is due to the officers and men accomplishing it.

Encamping the Third division at Mickey's White House, and the First division south of Lick Creek and within a mile of Monterey, they remained here until the eleventh. Meantime, heavy rains had fallen, sweeping away the bridge upon the main road, across Lick Creek, and overflowing the banks of the stream. For the purpose of preserving and facilitating our communications with the base, at Pittsburgh Landing, I ordered a detail of two thousand men, who, under the direction of Lieut. Freeman, of my staff, and Lieut. Tresilian, Engineer of the First division, renewed the old bridge, constructed a new one, corduroyed the valley of the stream, and repaired the road for the space of some five miles back.

At this camp, Col. M. K. Lawler, Eighteenth Illinois, who had been in command of the First brigade during the illness of Brig.-Gen. John A. Logan, was relieved by that officer. Brig.-Gen. L. F. Ross was in command of the Second brigade, and Col. J. E. Smith, Forty-fifth Illinois, in the absence of Col. Marsh, Twentieth Illinois, on sick leave, was in command of the Third brigade. Col. Smith was here relieved of the command of the Third brigade by Col. Lawler, his senior in rank.

Being visited by his Excellency, Richard Yates, Governor of the State of Illinois, at this place, the First division was drawn out and passed in review before him — receiving the honor of his congratulations for their patriotic devotion, the lustre they had shed upon Illinois, and their soldierly appearance and expertness.

At this camp Gen. Logan assumed command of the First brigade.

On the eleventh the same division struck their tents and moved forward about two miles and a half, in the direction of Corinth, to the crossing of the “Old State line” with the “Purdy and Farmington road.” Encamping here, near Fielder's house, a reconnoissance in the direction of Corinth was immediately made by companies C and D, Fourth Illinois cavalry, under command of Captain C. D. Townshend, accompanied by Lieut. S. R. Tresilian, of General Logan's staff. Pushing forward his reconnoissance in advance of any that had been previously made, Captain Townshend came in contact with the enemy's pickets near Easel's house, on the “Hack road,” leading from Purdy to Corinth, and drove back their accumulating numbers some distance.

This position, at the cross-roads, was vital to the line of our advance upon the enemy at Corinth, as it protected our right flank from attack. To strengthen and secure so important a position, rifle-pits were dug and earthworks thrown up both as a cover for our infantry and artillery. Among several outposts, one was established upon the Little Muddy Creek near Harris's house, which, although much exposed and often threatened by the enemy, was firmly held by the Twentieth Illinois and a section of artillery, under command of Lieut.-Col. Richards. Numerous reconnoissances were also made, resulting in repeatedly meeting the enemy's pickets and reconnoitring parties and driving them back.

On the fourteenth, the Second brigade, under command of Gen. Ross, was detached from the division and moved still further forward, about a mile and a half, to a position which had just been vacated by another division. Hearing that the enemy were using the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as a means of so disposing his forces as to enable him to turn our right flank, attack us in the rear, and cut off our communication with the base at Pittsburgh, I ordered Gen. Wallace to advance one of the brigades of his division to an intermediate point on the line between his camp and the “Cross-roads.” Col. Wood, Seventy-sixth Ohio, commanding the Third brigade of the Third division, accordingly moved forward with his brigade and took and strongly fortified a commanding position.

In combination with this movement, at four o'clock in the morning, Gen. Ross with his brigade, a battalion of cavalry and eight pieces of cannon, supported by Gen. Logan's brigade as a

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 4th (1)
14th (1)
11th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: