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Series 1 Volume XXX; Part 1

Official Report Number 2



 
Reports of Col. Edward F. Winslow, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, comanding expedition.
 
MEMPHIS, TENN., August 22, 1863.
 

DEAR SIR: I have the honor to report that with my command I arrived here this evening, having been thirteen days from camp.


I captured a down train at Durant, 14 miles east of Lexington; burned a piece of trestle 5 miles below that place, and moved directly on Grenada with all engines, cars, &c., arriving there at 7 p. m., 17th instant. I was obliged to leave all rolling stock collected (17 engines and about 100 cars) at Winona, 20 miles below Grenada, as the enemy had destroyed a bridge just above Winona.


Found Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, with 1,500 cavalry, had reached G[renada] about four hours in advance of my coming, having driven out Slemons (with, say, 600 men), but not before the railroad bridges had both been destroyed by fire.


Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, fearing an attack from Jackson, had set fire to all the engines and cars in Grenada, about 30 and 200, respectively.


I remained in Grenada one day and with the whole command moved northward via Panola and Coldwater, separating from Colonel Phillips at a point 10 miles north of Panola.


Found the crossing at the Coldwater in possession of a force of the enemy under Colonel Blythe, but he was speedily driven out. I had not a day's rations when we left Yazoo City, yet we made a very favorable impression south of Grenada.


Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips had instructions directly antagonistic to those in my possession.


I shall have the honor to make an official report at once, and send or carry it to you.


Very truly, I have the pleasure of being your obedient servant to command,


 
E. F. WINSLOW
Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Forces.
 
Major-General SHERMAN,
Commanding Fifteenth Army Corps.
 
 

 
 
HDQRS. CAVALRY FORCES, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., August 23, 1863.
 

CAPTAIN: In accordance with instructions, the forces under my command, consisting of the Third Iowa, Fourth Iowa, and Fifth Illinois Cavalry Regiments, 800 men, left camp on Big Black River, at 5 a. m., 10th instant, and halted at 1 p. m. 8 miles below Mechanicsburg, 8 miles from camp, until 5 o'clock next morning, when we moved through Mechanicsburg to the plantation of Mr. Roach, and halted at noon, being then 9 miles from Yazoo City, which place was reached at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 12th instant.


The gunboat, transports, and troops had left this place early on the 11th instant, and after waiting in bivouac until the morning of the 14th I decided, in opposition to the voices of officers commanding the regiments, to push forward without further delay, and accordingly moved at 4.30 for Lexington via Rankin.


We bivouacked at 10 p. m. on Harlan's Creek, 30 miles from Yazoo City, 8 miles from Lexington, and entered Lexington at 8 a. m., where the Third Iowa, Major Noble, with Lieutenant Jones, acting assistant commissary of subsistence, was left to procure rations, while the main force rushed forward to Durant, 14 miles, and captured at noon a train of cars just from Grenada.


Captain Peters was immediately placed in charge of the engine, and proceeded 5 miles below Durant and burned a bridge on the track. I learned that there was one engine and about ten cars below Durant, also that the railroad bridge over Big Black had just been repaired, the captured train being the first one ordered over it.


Resting till 6 p. m., when the Third Iowa came up, the column was moved to West's Station, going into bivouac at 11 p. m. on Jordan's Creek, 24 miles via Durant and 20 miles direct from Lexington. At this point some engines and cars were found, and with the train from Durant, forwarded to Vaiden, 12 miles, arriving at 11 o'clock, the 16th, where the cavalry was delayed until 5p. m. to make up trains. Reaching Winona, 12 miles, at daybreak, the 17th, it was found that the enemy, who now appeared in front, had destroyed a small bridge above town; therefore I decided to leave the trains, now composing 13 engines and 60 cars, and push forward into Grenada, where I heard of some force of the enemy being posted.


I had caused to be burned a bridge below West's Station, one below Vaiden, and two below and near Winona, that the trains' could not be carried off if we should be forced to abandon them temporarily.


Under my instructions I expected to return to Winona, and run the trains to Grenada. Leaving Winona at 7.30 a. m., the column reached Duck Hill Station, 12 miles, at 11 o'clock, and was halted to feed and rest at Jackson's Creek, 11½ miles from Grenada, till 3 p. m., then moved to that place, arriving at 7.


From Winona to Grenada, 25 miles, the advance, Third Iowa, was briskly skirmishing, and at Payne's plantation, 5 miles from Grenada, we came upon quite a force posted behind Berry Creek, which, however, was speedily forced to abandon the position, retreating eastward. Upon arriving at Grenada, I found Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips, Ninth Illinois Mounted Infantry, with two brigades, 1,500 men. The railroad bridge over the Yalabusha having been burned by the enemy, Colonel Phillips, hearing nothing of our advance, and fearing an immediate attack from Jackson's cavalry, set fire to the long trains of cars and engines which he found there.


His arrival about noon had been followed by the burning of the bridges and the retiring of the enemy (at 4 o'clock), after several hours' skirmishing, with little or no loss on either side.


Colonel Phillips had retired most of his troops north of the river, intending to move northward at once, believing General Ruggles would intercept him at or near Panola.


The whole command being without rations, I decided to remain one day and procure them, and placing the Third Iowa in charge of the town, with Major Noble as provost-marshal, I caused the fires on the bridges to be extinguished and prevented the extension of a conflagration which threatened to destroy the town, two large blocks having already been burned. Keeping the entire command, except provost guard, picket, and commissary details, on the north side of the river, I had the condition of the trains examined into, and here with I submit a statement showing the number, condition, &c., of all rolling stock on the Mississippi Central and Mississippi and Tennessee Railroads.


At 4.30 a. m. the 19th instant, the entire force moved northward, via Oakland, to Panola, where the Tallahatchie was crossed during the evening of the 20th instant after a slight skirmish with some guerrillas.


On the 21st the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Phillips moved east toward Tchulahoma, while my proper command marched to the crossing of the Coldwater.


At this point the enemy was found in some force, posted on the opposite bank of the river. Directing Major Noble, with 75 men of the Third Iowa, to occupy their attention in front, I sent Major Farnan, Fifth Illinois, with three companies of his own and two companies of the Third Iowa Regiment (supported by four companies of the Fifth Illinois), all dismounted, with instructions to cross the river lower down half a mile, and get in the rear of the enemy, if possible. Through the indiscretion of some of his command the alarm was given ere this was done, and the enemy in front retreated with some loss, just as the flanking party came in sight. During this time there was continued skirmishing in our rear and on both flanks, several hundred men being in that direction.


Repairing the boat we crossed and encamped at dark 4 miles from the river, and arrived at Cane Creek, 4 miles from Memphis, at noon the 22d instant, having marched 265 miles, with loss as follows:


Third Iowa, 4 privates wounded, not dangerously; Fourth Iowa, 4 privates and 1 sergeant missing; Fifth Illinois, 1 private killed and 1 wounded seriously.


There were captured and paroled 55 prisoners of war, and I brought to this point 25 railroad engineers and mechanics, thus damaging the enemy much, as this latter class of persons are not numerous in Mississippi.


The regiments which I have the honor to command did not commit any excesses; did not enter one house from camp to Grenada, except on duty, and the property was respected, while the inhabitants were kindly, firmly, and fairly treated by the entire command.


Very few able-bodied citizens were in the country, and there was little hope, apparently, of success of the Confederate cause.


A large amount of growing corn was everywhere seen and some beef cattle, but bacon is quite scarce. In the central portions of the State considerable wheat has been harvested.


I could not have returned via Yazoo City without undoing the good conduct and feeling created, because of the scarcity of provisions, and on account of condition of my command as regards rations, health, and ammunition, and with consideration for the horses, many of whom became temporarily unserviceable from sore backs, &c., I deemed it best to return via this city. I had every reason to believe that a portion of Jackson's cavalry would endeavor to prevent my return southward.


Nothing could be done toward running the railroad stock toward Memphis because of lack of means of repairing bridges over the Yalabusha, Tallahatchie, and Coldwater Rivers.


At Grenada there had been burned by Colonel Phillips a large mill with a quantity of flour sufficient for our entire force, though his division was out of food.


I take pleasure in stating that the cavalry as a whole did everything which could be asked, and would mention particularly the valuable services of Captain Peters, Fourth Iowa Cavalry; Lieut. D. E. Jones, acting assistant quartermaster of the expedition, and the gallant conduct of Major Noble and Major Farnan.


Trusting my conduct and operations will meet your approval, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant to command,


 
E. F. WINSLOW,
Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Forces.
 
Capt. R. M. SAWYER
Assistant Adjutant-General, 15th Army Corps.

 
 
[ Inclosure. ]
 
ON MISS. CENTRAL AND MISS. AND TENN. RAILROADS,
August 20, 1868.
 
No.
Character.
Condition.
Where left.
2
Engines ................
Good ...............
Grenada.         
28
...do...................
Partially burned...
   Do.
3
...do...................
Good ..............
Winona
10
...do...................
Needs repairs......
   Do.
4
...do...................
Good ..............
Duck Hill.
6
...do...................
Partially burned...
Above Grenada on Miss. Central Railroad.
82
Cars, box and platform
Good ...............
Grenada.
59
...do...................
Running Order ......
Winona.
10
...do...................
...do...............
Big Black River.
20
...do...................
...do...............
Duck Hill.
4
...do...................
Burned .............
Above Grenada.
5
Passenger ..............
Good ...............
   Do.
86
...do...................
Burned .............
Above Grenada.
2
...do...................
Good...............
   Do
11
...do...................
...do...............
Below Grenada and Duck Hill and Winona.
2
Baggage ................
...do...............
Grenada.
21
Box and Platform .......
...do...............
   Do.
2
Hand cars ..............
...do...............
   Do.
Summary — Engines, 53; cars, passenger, 99; baggage, 2; box, &c., 196; hand, 2. Total 299. *
 
E. F. WINSLOW,
Colonel, &c.
 

 

 
* [author] Summary — Engines, 53
Cars, passenger, 104; baggage, 2; box, &c., 196; hand, 2. Total Cars 299.

 

 
Title: The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.
Series 1Volume XXX; Part 1 - Reports; Page 7 - 11
Chapter:XLII - Operations in Kentucky, Southwest Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, North Alabama, and North Georgia. August 11-October 19, 1863.
Author: United States. War Dept., John Sheldon Moody, Calvin Duvall Cowles, Frederick Caryton Ainsworth, Robert N. Scott, Henry Martyn Lazelle, George Breckenridge Davis, Leslie J. Perry, Joseph William Kirkley
Published: Washington: Government Printing Office
Date: 1890