But as our cavalry pickets still maintained their positions of the previous day, he was not, apparently, fully satisfied of our movements, until some stores, of little value, in the town were burned, which could not be removed. It was then, to his surprise, the enemy became satisfied that a large army, approached and invested with such extraordinary preparations, expense, labor, and timidity, had disappeared from his front, with all its munitions and heavy guns, leaving him without knowledge, as I am assured, whither it had gone; for his scouts were scattered in all directions, as I have since ascertained, to inquire what directions our forces had taken. Even now, indeed, I have reason to believe, the Federal commander has little knowledge of the position and disposition of my main forces. But for the unfortunate and needless delay, on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, of some five trains of box cars, (three miscellaneously freighted, and two empty,) in passing beyond the bridges over the Hatchie River and its branches, which in the plan of evacuation had been directed to be destroyed, at a certain hour, on the morning of the thirtieth ultimo, not an incident would have marred, in the least, the success of the evacuation, in the face of a force so largely superior. It was, however, through a too rigid execution of orders that these bridges were burned, and we were obliged to destroy the trains, as far as practicable, and burn the stores, including some valuable subsistence, to what extent will be more precisely reported as soon as practicable. The troops moved off in good spirits and order, prepared to give battle, if pursued, but no serious pursuit was attempted. Remaining in rear of — the Tuscumbia and its affluents, some six miles from Corinth, long enough to collect stragglers incident to new levies, my main forces resumed the march, and were concentrated on Baldwin, with rear guards left to hold the bridges across the Tuscumbia and tributaries, which were not drawn back until the evening of the second instant. Whilst at Rienzi, half way to Baldwin, I was informed that on the morning of the thirtieth ult. a detachment of the enemy's cavalry had penetrated to Booneville, eight miles south of Rienzi, and had captured and burned a railroad train of ammunition, baggage, and subsistence, delayed there forty-eight hours by some mismanagement. I regret to add that the enemy also burned the railroad depot, in which were, at the moment, a number of dead bodies, and at least four sick soldiers of this army, who were consumed; an act of barbarism scarcely credible, and without a precedent, to my knowledge, in civilized warfare. Upon the opportune appearance in a short time, however, of an inferior force of cavalry, the enemy left in great haste and confusion, after having received one volley. Only one of our men was carried away by him. Quite a considerable number of stragglers, and of our sick and convalescent, en route to Southern hospitals, who for a few moments had fallen into the enemy's hands, were rescued. These are the two thousand men, untruthfully reported by Generals Pope and Halleck to their War Department, as “captured and paroled” on that occasion. I desire to record that one Colonel Elliott, of the Federal army, commanded in this raid, and is responsible for the cruel death of our sick. As for the ten thousand stand of small arms, also reported by these officers as destroyed, the truth is, that not to exceed one thousand five hundred, mostly inferior muskets, were lost on that occasion. I had intimations of this expedition the day before the evacuation, and had detached immediately suitable commands of infantry and cavalry to foil its purposes, and to protect the bridges on the line of my march. Unfortunately the infantry passed through and south of Booneville but a little while before the enemy made his descent; the cavalry, as before said, reached there in time only to rescue our men who had been captured. Equally inaccurate, reckless, and unworthy are the statements of these Federal commanders, in their several official reports by telegraph, bearing dates of the thirtieth and thirty-first of May, and of first, second, and fourth of June, as published in Cincinnati and Chicago journals, touching the amount of property and stores destroyed by us at Corinth, and General Pope's alleged pressing pursuit. Major-General Halleck's despatch of fourth June may particularly be characterized as disgracefully untrue; possibly, however, he was duped by his subordinate. Nothing, for example, can be wider from the truth than that ten thousand men and fifteen thousand small arms of this army were captured or lost. In addition to those destroyed at Booneville, some five hundred inferior small arms were accidentally left by convalescents in a camp four miles south of Corinth. No artillery of any description was lost; no clothing. No tents worth removal were left standing. In fine, the letters of newspaper correspondents, enclosed, give a correct statement, both as to the conduct of the retreat, the scanty spoils of war left behind, the actual barrenness of substantial results to the enemy, and exhibit his doubt, perplexity, and ignorance concerning the movements of this army. Baldwin was found to offer no advantages of a defensive character, and being badly provided with water, I determined to fall back upon this point, some twenty miles south, fifty-two miles from Corinth, and here to await the developments of the enemy's plans and movements. Accordingly, leaving Baldwin on the seventh, (see papers appended, marked H,) the main body of my forces was assembled here on the ninth instant, leaving all the approaches from Corinth carefully guarded by a competent force of cavalry under an efficient officer, who occupied a line fifteen miles north of this place. Supported by my general officers, I am doing all practicable to organize for defensive operations, whensoever any movement of the enemy may give the opportunity, which I anticipate as not remote. I feel authorized to say, by the evacuation, the
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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