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Doc. 80.-Beauregard's retreat from Corinth.

Letter from General Granger.1

headquarters cavalry division, army of the Mississippi, July 4, 1862.
I have read with mingled feelings of surprise and regret a communication signed by G. T. Beauregard, addressed to the Mobile News of the nineteenth ultimo--surprise, that facts so patent and so easily susceptible of proof, should be denied by him; and regret, that so weak, wicked and unholy a cause as is this cursed rebellion, should have rendered utterly false and unscrupulous a man whom, for fifteen years, I have always associated with all that was chivalric, high-minded and honorable.

The pursuit from Corinth I led with one brigade of my cavalry and a battery, leaving Farmington at noon on the thirtieth day of May. On the evening of the same day I came upon the rear-guard of the enemy, whom I found strongly posted in the bottom of Tuscumbia Creek, eight miles south of Corinth. The next day this rear-guard was driven out, and on Sunday, the first June, the pursuit recommenced. We passed Rienzi only two hours behind the retreating army, and found the bridges between Rienzi and Booneville so recently fired that the timbers were nearly all saved. My advanced guard came up with the enemy late in the afternoon of the first June, about four miles from Booneville, and chased them within one mile of the town, when it was halted by my order, on account of the lateness of the hour. At five o'clock on the morning of the second June, I entered Booneville, and during all of that day my cavalry was constantly skirmishing with the enemy on every road leading southward and westward from Booneville to Twenty-mile Creek.

On the next day I made a reconnoissance in force towards Baldwin, driving the enemy across Twenty-mile Creek; and on the fourth another reconnaissance was made by Colonel Elliot, via Blacklands, with similar results. On the tenth, Baldwin and Guntown were occupied by my troops, which was as far as the pursuit has been carried.

Booneville is twenty-four miles by the railroad from Corinth, and Twenty-mile Creek is eleven miles further. By the highway the distance from Corinth to Twenty-mile Creek is reckoned by the inhabitants at thirty-nine miles.

The facts of the “farmer's story” are these. I met at Rienzi, on Sunday, the first June, the citizen whose house Beauregard occupied while there, and his statement to me was that Beauregard was much excited and utterly surprised at the explosion of the ordnance in the burning cars, fired by Colonel Elliott at Booneville, that he pronounced it to be at Corinth, and that he violently swore at a report that reached him, that the explosions were at Booneville. That he sent all over town to ascertain the author of the rumor, and while engaged in this search a messenger arrived direct from Booneville confirming the report that “the Yankees were there.” Whereat, Beauregard altered his route and galloped away immediately, taking the roundabout way of Blackland to Baldwin. This statement was made in the presence of several officers, and was entirely voluntary and unasked for.

Colonel Elliott arrived at Booneville on the thirtieth of May, at two o'clock A. M. He remained secreted in the woods east of the railroad until daylight, when he moved down upon the town, and was met by a body of about two hundred rebel cavalry, who incontinently fled at a volley from Captain Campbell's Second Michigan revolving rifles. This was the only resistance Colonel Elliott encountered. He found in the town about eight hundred well soldiers and two thousand sick and convalescent; but none were inclined to oppose him. On the contrary, at least five hundred wished to go back with him as prisoners, but it was impossible for him to take them.

The two thousand sick and convalescent found by Colonel Elliott were in the most shocking condition. The living and the putrid dead were lying side by side together, festering in the sun, on platforms, on the track and on the ground, just where they had been driven off the cars by [270] their inhuman and savage comrades. No surgeon, no nurses were attending them. They had had no water or food for one or two days, and a more horrible scene could scarcely be imagined.

Colonel Elliott set his own men to removing them to places of safety, and they were all so removed before he set fire to the depot and cars, as can be proved by hundreds.

General Beauregard states that the burning of two or more cars is not enough to make him frantic. The exact number of the cars destroyed by Colonel Elliott is as follows:

Five cars loaded with small arms.

Five cars loaded with loose ammunition.

Five cars loaded with fixed ammunition.

Six cars loaded with officers' baggage.

Five cars loaded with clothing, subsistence stores, harness, saddles, etc.

Making a total of twenty-six cars, besides three pieces of artillery and one locomotive.

This os course does not include the depot and platform, which were filled with provisions and stores of every description.

The nine men of Colonel Elliott's command taken prisoners were a party who had taken a hand-car, and gone up the track a mile or two to destroy a water-tank. It is presumed they were surprised by some skulkers who were afraid to approach Booneville while Colonel Elliott was there.

The charge of burning up five sick men in the depot and handing down Colonel Elliott's name to infamy, I must confess is only in character with General Beauregard's previous statements. He knows better. He knows it is false. The rebellion in which he is a prominent leader must have imbued him with more credulity than reason; a spirit of malicious exaggeration has taken the place of truth. To convict himself of inhumanity, treachery and deception in almost every word, act and deed, he has only to take the combined and concurrent testimony of thousands of his own subalterns and men, especially those who have fallen into our hands as prisoners and the large numbers who have deserted his sinking cause.

G. Granger, Brigadier-General.

1 see Doc. 78, page 221 ante.

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