Today in History:

217 Series I Volume XVII-II Serial 25 - Corinth Part II


SEPTEMBER 13, 1862.

General GRANT:

The little fight at Iuka was a cavalry attack. The rebels, supposing we had evacuated, were much surprised and badly scared. A Tennessee captain taken says Price with his staff was at Bay Springs, but the infantry were two days behind. The scout from Ripley went all the way down to 4 miles of Guntown. There was no force or movement in that direction. Report at Guntown, Baldwyn, and up to Booneville water so scarce that it seems strange to me if they have a large force. I go up to Ord's to consult with Prime about cavalry defense works here.


Memphis, Tenn., September 13, 1862.


Assistant Adjutant-General, Corinth, Miss.:

SIR: I wrote yesterday as to the movements of troops in this quarter. Since its dispatch the command of Brigadier General Morgan L. Smith has returned. The expedition was eminently successful, and I will send a full report as soon as it is made up by the officers composing it. The force, composing 1,500 infantry, 400 cavalry, and one company of artillery, marched 17 miles toward Holly Springs, when the cavalry was sent forward 7 miles farther to Coldwater, where it encountered a force of about 600 Confederate cavalry (Jackson's and Pinson's) and drove them after a sharp fight. We lost 1 man mortally wounded and 2 slightly. Colonel Grierson, who command our cavalry, reports a heavy loss of the enemy, greater than I deem possible; but will leave him to report.* General Smith, hearing of the cavalry skirmish, hurried forward to Coldwater, but on arriving found that Colonel Grierson had dispersed the force, and he therefore, in fulfillment of his written instructions, turned to the south to Hernando and on to the railroad bridge at Coldwater, 7 miles farther south, or 30 miles from Memphis. The enemy had reconstructed this bridge in the most substantial manner, and it would have been redy to receive the rails in a very few days, but he caused its utter destruction by fire, including over 500 feet of high trestle-work connected with the bridge. A saw-mill, which had furnished the timber for the bridge, was also very properly destroyed by fire. This railroad bridge was about 1 1/2 miles east of the road bridge, which was set on fire by the enemy's pickets as they retreated across it, but the fire was extinguished, and pursuit was made to within 27 miles of Senatobia. After having completed the work of destruction the forces sent across Coldwater were withdrawn and the road bridge effectually destroyed, when the command returned to Memphis. I consider this expedition to have been of importance. First, I know it has held in check the enemy's force assembling at or near Holly Springs for the purpose of moving on Bolivar or your communications. Second, by the destruction of the new railroad bridge across Coldwater, the effect of which is to keep any force of the enemy on that line at a distance from our flank if a movement is ever contemplated from Memphis to the east or northeast.

The fort is progressing, and I have now mounted enough heavy guns to keep at defiance any force. With the present resources of the enemy in this quarter, I would surely think it well to re-enforce me with some


*See Grierson's report of expedition to Coldwater and Hernando, Miss., Part I, p. 58.