of rebel cavalry on that road and drove them south. Several showers during the afternoon, and roads very bad. Wednesday, June 8.--Received information at four o'clock A. M. that Colonel Karge was on an island in the Hatchie River, and sent him five hundred men and two howitzers for reinforcements. Winslow's brigade of cavalry moved six miles on the Fulton road. Infantry and train moved five miles on same road. Colonel Waring's brigade remained in Ripley awaiting the return of Colonel Karge, who joined him at five o'clock P. M., having swum the Hatchie River. Rained hard during the night. Thursday, June 9.--Sent back to Memphis four hundred sick and worn-out men, and forty-one wagons. Cavalry and infantry moved to Stubbs', fourteen miles from Ripley; issued five days rations (at previous camp); rained two hours in the evening. Friday, June 10.--Encountered the enemy at Brice's cross-road, twenty-three miles from Ripley, and six miles from Guntown. * * * * * * * * At Ripley it became a serious question in my mind as to whether or not I should proceed any further. The rain still fell in torrents — the artillery and wagons were literally mired down, and the starved and exhausted animals could with difficulty drag them along. Under these circumstances I called together my division commanders, and placed before them my views of our situation. At this interview, one brigade commander (Colonel Hoge) and two members of my staff were incidentally present also. I called their attention to the great delay we had undergone on account of the bad condition of the roads, the exhausted condition of our animals, the great probability that the enemy would avail himself of the time thus offered, to concentrate an overwhelming force against us in the vicinity of Tupelo, and the utter hopeless-ness of saving our train of artillery in case of defeat, on account of the narrowness and general bad condition of the roads, and the impossibility of procuring supplies of forage for the animals. All agreed with me in the probable consequences of defeat. Some thought our only safety lay in retracing our steps and abandoning the expedition. It was urged, however, (and with some propriety, too), that inasmuch as I had abandoned a similar expedition only a few weeks before, and given as my reason for so doing, “the utter and entire destitution of the country,” and that in the face of this we were again sent through this same country, it would be ruinous of all sides, to return again without meeting the enemy. Moreover, from all the information General Washburn had acquired, there could be no considerable force in our front, and all my own information led to the same conclusion. To be sure, my information was exceedingly meagre and unsatisfactory, and had I returned, I would have been totally unable to present any facts to justify my course, or to show why the expedition might not have been successfully carried forward. All I could have presented would have been my conjectures as to what the enemy would naturally do under the circumstances, and these would have availed but little against the idea that the enemy was scattered, and had no considerable force in our front. Under the circumstances, and with a sad foreboding of the consequences, I determined to move forward, keeping my force as compact as possible, and ready for action at all times, hoping that we might succeed, and feeling that if we did not, yet our losses might, at most, be insignificant, in comparison to the great benefits that might accrue to General Sherman by the depletion of Johnston's army to so large an extent. On the evening of the eighth, one day beyond Ripley, I assembled the commanders of infantry brigades at the headquarters of Colonel McMillen, and cautioned them as to the necessity of enforcing rigid discipline in their camps, keeping their troops always in hand, and ready to act on a moment's notice; that it was impossible to gain any accurate or reliable information of the enemy, and that it behooved us to move and act constantly as though in his presence; that we were now where we might encounter him at any moment, and that we must, under no circumstances, allow ourselves to be surprised. On the morning of the tenth, the cavalry marched at half-past 5 o'clock, the infantry at seven--thus allowing the infantry to follow immediately in rear of cavalry, as it would take the cavalry a full hour and a half to clear their camp. The habitual rules of march were as follows, to wit: Cavalry, with its artillery, in advance; infantry, with its artillery, next; and lastly, the supply train, guarded by the rear brigade, with one of its regiments at the head, one near the middle, and one, with a section of artillery, in the rear. A company of pioneers preceded the infantry, for the purpose of repairing the roads, building bridges, &c. On this morning I had preceded the head of the column, and arrived at a point some five miles from camp, where I found an unusually bad place in the road, and one that would require considerable time and labor to render practicable. While halted here to await the head of the column, I received a message from General Grierson that he had encountered a portion of the enemy's cavalry. In a few minutes more I received another message from him, saying the enemy numbered some six hundred, and were on the Baldwin road; that he was (himself) at Brice's cross-roads, and that his position was a good one, and he would hold it. He was then directed to leave six hundred or seven hundred men at the cross-roads, to precede the infantry on its arrival, on its march toward Guntown, and with the remainder of his force to drive the enemy toward Baldwin, and then rejoin the main body by way of the line of the railroad, as I did not intend being drawn from my main purpose, Colonel McMillen arrived at this time, and I rode forward toward
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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