March 14-17, 1862.-expedition from Savannah, Tenn., to Yellow Creek, Miss., and occupation of Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.
Reports, etc.No. 1.-Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding expedition, with abstract from “Record of events” in his division for the month of March, 1862. No. 2.-Maj. Elbridge G. Ricker, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, of expedition against Memphis and Charleston Railroad. No. 3.-Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles, C. S. Army, of landing at Pittsburg, Tenn., with orders. No. 4.-Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers, C. S. Army, of expedition against Memphis and Charleston Railroad. No. 5.-Lieut. Col. John A. Jaquess, First Louisiana Infantry, of expedition against Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
No. 1.-reports of Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding expedition.
headquarters First Division, Steamer Continental, Savannah, Tenn., March 14, 1862.Sir: I would suggest, as a precautionary measure, after I pass up the river with one gunboat and my division, that the other gunboat and one division, say Hurlbut's or Wallace's, move up to Pittsburg Landing and there await our return. My belief is that the enemy's force under Cheatham will, after we pass Pittsburg, fall back on Corinth. Yet, if the force at Corinth be already large, Cheatham may remain at or near Pittsburg Landing and embarrass our return. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Hdqrs. First Division, Expeditionary Corps, Steamer Continental, March 15, 1862.Sir: I have the honor to report that in obedience to the order of the major-general commanding, received at 10 a. m. on the 14th instant, I started from Savannah at 12 m. with my division, embarked in nineteen steamboats, escorted by the gunboat Tyler, Commander Gwin. We proceeded steadily up the river to the mouth of Yellow Creek, reaching that point at Tyler's Landing at 7 p. m. I ordered the immediate debarkation .of the cavalry, consisting of six companies of the Fifth Ohio, under command of Maj. E. G. Ricker, and ordered him, under the guidance of a man named Bird, to proceed by the way of the Red Sulphur Springs to a point on the Memphis and Charleston road near Burnsville, there to tear up and destroy some trestle-work and as much of the railroad as time and the circumstances would permit. I ordered him to take axes, crowbars, and picks, and sent with him one of my chief aides, Major Sanger. It was 11 o'clock at night before he got off, but as the estimated distance of 19 miles caused to be traveled in five hours, I dispatched him that he might execute his work before the news of an arrival could possibly reach Corinth or Iuka, the two points on the railroad held by the enemy in force. The night was very stormy, heavy rain having fallen all day, but at the time of his departure it seemed to clear away; but the rain again began to fall, and continued all night and passed off to-day. The guide was of opinion that the Sandy, the only stream of consequence that had to be passed, would offer no serious obstacle, but the amount of rain was so great that ravines became rapid torrents, creeks became as rivers, and streams such as the Sandy were utterly impassable. My plan was to follow up with the four brigades of my division to a point about half way, where the road branches to Iuka, and there await the return of the cavalry force, and accordingly ordered the First Brigade, Colonel Hicks, to move at 3 a. m.; the Second Brigade, Colonel Stuart, at 4; the Third Brigade, Colonel Hildebrand, and the Fourth Brigade, Colonel Buckland, at daylight. Notwithstanding the pouring rain and snow-storm the brigades were  put in motion at the hours appointed, but upon examinat on of the ground between the landing and the foot-hills I determined to halt the last two brigades and proceed to the appointed place with the first two, and by daylight took the road, leaving word to send forward frequent reports of the effect of the storm and rain upon the streams between the landing and high ground. These reports overtook me frequently, reporting the water as rising at the rate of 6 inches per hour. This and the terrible condition of the roads induced me to order back one of the two batteries. The head of the column was brought to a halt by the swollen creek without name 44 miles out. Colonel Hicks partially bridged it, but the water soon rose above the timbers, and as our cavalry had passed it quite early in the night and had gone on, I ordered the construction of another bridge. While at work on this a messenger returned from the cavalry, stating that they had found it impossible to proceed and were returning. I awaited their return, received the verbal report of my aide, Major Sanger, and was satisfied that no human energy could have overcome the difficulty. The streams were impassable, save by the slow process of bridging, which was inconsistent with the object of our expedition. The rain was still falling and the slough to our rear rising rapidly. I saw no other alternative but to return to our boats. On reaching the slough the water had risen so that the battery could not pass, and had to be taken to pieces and carried on boats down to the steamboat. The severity of the storm and amount of rain which fell in those few hours are shown by the fact that the Tennessee rose 15 feet from 7 p. m. of yesterday till 6 p. m. to-day. The landing, which was last evening ten feet above water, is now submerged from the bank back to the bluff. Disappointed in this result, I determined to proceed farther up the river (Tennessee) to another landing, at the mouth of Indian Creek, almost in sight of the enemy's redoubt at Chickasaw, and Commander Gwin politely offered me the use of his gunboat. I found the landing utterly inaccessible-entirely under water. To keep the enemy in mind of our presence the gunboat was run up to the point within range of their rifled guns of the battery at Chickasaw, but we could see little or nothing of a force there, although Captain Gwin had on a former occasion drawn their fire from five guns, two of which are rifled and of heavy caliber. Finding the whole shore under water from Chickasaw down to Pittsburg, I had no alternative but to run down to the latter place and report to you. The object of our expedition failed on account of the severe rain, but we obtained much information useful for future operations. Lieutenant Jenney, of Engineers, of your staff, who was on board the gunboat, has compiled a map, which embraces all the authentic data collected, which he will hand you. I understand the enemy has fortified Chickasaw, and has there a force of some 3,000 or 4 000. Back of Chickasaw, at the Bear Creek Bridge, is also represented a large camp, but the main force is quartered at Iuka and Corinth. They are shifted from one to the other and back again, but the accounts of the actual force vary so widely that I do not pretend to form an opinion, but knowing the importance to them of the safety of the Charleston and Memphis Railroad, no one can doubt that between those two points will be gathered all the force they can command. The bridges and trestle-work are generally guarded, not with least care, at the point I aimed at near Burnsville, as no doubt the fact of our landing and marching into the interior has reached them. We should not  expect any further neglect on their part. For the present the condition of the boat will prevent her going to Pittsburg, from which point there can be but one point of attack, and that is Corinth. All the Union people whom I found (and they were few) represent Corinth as the place where they expect an attack. Yet, by seemingly advancing on Corinth with a well-appointed force, and sending off a small party of cavalry to the left, by Farmington, it may be still that the interruption of the road without a general engagement could be successfullyaccomplished. I am willing to undertake it with such force as the general may designate. Inclosed please find the report of Major Ricker. The return of the division for yesterday gives the strength, to which has been added six companies Fifth Ohio Cavalry, one battery of four rifled 10-pounder Parrott guns, Captain--, and Colonel McDowell Sixth Iowa Infantry, from none of which have morning reports yet been submitted. I await the general's further orders at Pittsburg Landing. I am, sir, your obedient servant,
headquarters First Division Steamer Continental, Pittsburg Landing, March 16, 1862.Sir: Inclosed please find a report of Major Bowman, Fourth Illinois Cavalry.1 The general impression of General Hurlbut here and of the people is that the cavalry of the enemy is scattered all over the country in small bands. I have been out to Bethel, 3 miles, and think the force which was here was a regiment of infantry and four companies of cavalry. General Cheatham's force has gone toward Purdy. I have made preparations for a strong reconnaissance toward Corinth which I will convert into a destruction of the telegraph and railroad lines if possible, and report its result as soon as I return. I will use the cavalry and my division. General Hurlbut will guard this point. A full return will be sent to-morrow. I will send down the two companies of the Fifth Ohio as soon as the reconnaissance is complete.
headquarters First Division, Pittsburg Landing, March 17, 1862.Sir: Last night I dispatched a party of cavalry at 6 p. m., under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath, Fifth Ohio Cavalry, for a strong reconnaissance, if possible, to be converted into an attack upon the Memphis road. The command got off punctually, followed at 12 at night by the First Brigade of my division, commanded by Colonel Mc-Dowell, the other brigade to follow in order.  About 1 at night the cavalry returned, reporting the road occupied in force by the enemy, with whose advance guard they skirmished, driving them back about a mile, taking 2 prisoners, and having their chief guide, Esquire Thomas Maxwell, wounded, and 3 men of the Fourth Illinois. Inclosed please find the report of Lieutenant-Colonel Heath;2 also a copy of his instructions and the order of march. As soon as the cavalry returned I saw that an attempt on the road was frustrated, and accordingly have placed McDowell's brigade to our right front guarding the pass of Snake Creek, Stuart's brigade to the left front to watch the pass of Lick Creek, and shall this morning move directly out on the Corinth road, about 8 miles, to or towards Pea Ridge, which is a key-point to the Southwest. General Hurlbut's division will be landed to-day, and the artillery and infantry disposed so as to defend Pittsburg, leaving my division entire for any movement by rail or water. As near as I can learn there are five regiments of infantry at Purdy, at Corinth, and distributed along the railroad to Iuka are probably 30,000 men, but my information from prisoners is very indistinct. Every road and path is occupied by the enemy's cavalry, whose orders seem to be to fire a volley, retire, again fire and retire. The force on the Purdy road attacked and driven by Major Bowman yesterday was about 60 strong. That encountered last night on the Corinth road was about five companies of Tennessee cavalry, sent from Purdy about 2 p. m. yesterday. I hear there is a force of two regiments on Pea Ridge, at the point where the Purdy and Corinth road comes in from this place. I am satisfied we cannot reach the Memphis and Charleston Road without a considerable engagement, which is prohibited by General Halleck's instructions, so that I will be governed by your orders of yesterday to occupy Pittsburg strongly. Extend the pickets so as to include a semicircle of 3 miles, and push strong reconnaissance as far as Lick Creek and Pea Ridge. I will send down a good many boats to-day to be employed as you may direct, and would be obliged if you would send us if possible a couple thousand sacks of corn, as much hay as you can possibly spare, and if possible a barge of coal. I will send a steamboat under care of the gunboat to collect corn from cribs on the river bank. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,