DECEMBER 15, 1862-JANUARY 3, 1863.
No. 2.--Reports of Brig. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, U. S.
commanding District of Corinth, of operations December 18-24,
1862, and skirmish near Clifton, January 1, 1863.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CORINTH,
Corinth, Miss., December 29, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the report of the
expedition that left this
place in pursuit of rebel forces under Forrest:
My troops consisted of First Brigade, Col. T. W. Sweeny, composed of the
Second and Seventh Iowa and Fifty-second Illinois; and Third Brigade, Col.
M. M. Bane, Fiftieth Illinois, composed of Seventh, Fiftieth, and Fifty-seventh
Illinois Infantry; two batteries of the First Missouri Light Artillery, under
command of Maj. George H. Stone; the Fifth Ohio, and Stewart's and Hurst's
cavalry, about 250 strong, left Corinth Thursday at midnight, reaching Purdy
at noon next day, where we were joined by one section of First Missouri
Light Artillery under command of Lieutenant Green, and Forty-eighth Illinois
Infantry under command of Colonel Sanford. Continuing the march we encamped
at Sweet Lip Creek. During the day heard the firing near Jackson, and receiving
various conflicting reports of the position and strength of the enemy, and also that
the enemy in some force was marching from Clifton to the aid of Forrest, I decided to
push on to Lexington, regardless of rumors, and stop the re-enforcements from the
Tennessee River or strike Forrest in the rear, as the case might require. At daylight I
marched and pushed through to within 5 miles north of Sodus Creek, on the
Lexington road, and encamped. During the night I received dispatches from
Brigadier-General Sullivan, whose camp was near Juno, on Jackson and
Lexington road, that the enemy, 8,000 strong, were again menacing Jackson,
and that he should return to Jackson. I immediately dispatched Stewart's
cavalry to the Tennessee River opposite Clifton, with orders to go to Clifton,
ascertain facts in relation to the enemy, divide at that place, one part moving
toward Lexington to join me there and one part moving up the Tennessee River
to Pittsburg Landing, destroying all boats and rafts, and thence to Corinth.
This order was executed by Stewart's battalion of cavalry and Captain Ford's
company (Fifty-third Illinois Independent Cavalry) with promptness and
efficiency and swept away a cloud of false rumors. They traveled 90 miles in
twenty-four hours, captured a messenger from General Maney to Forrest,
telling him to keep our communication with General Grant broken and to hold
Jackson; and they also captured a messenger from Colonel Roddey, commanding
at Tuscumbia, informing Forrest that he was waiting for orders. I immediately
took the messenger's horse and equipments, mounted one of my own scouts, and
answered the dispatch, ordering Colonel Roddey to hold Tuscumbia and watch
the movements of a force said to be approaching him from Corinth. This, with
other rumors that he got, so frightened Roddey that he broke camp and made south
to Bay Springs and then west. At daylight (20th) I moved forward to Lexington,
arriving at noon; ascertained to my own satisfaction that Forrest's force did not
exceed 5,000 men (if so many), with one battery, and that he had scattered his forces
along the railroad north of Jackson. I captured and paroled 7 of French's cavalry at
this place and immediately pushed toward Pinch with my infantry and artillery,
sending my cavalry to Huntingdon to feel the enemy in that direction.
During the day I rebuilt the bridge across Beech River destroyed by Colonel
Ingersoll, and encamped for the night at Juno or Pinch. My cavalry reported
during the night, and I found that the enemy were then north and east
of Trenton; that no force was threatening Jackson; that no force was east
of me toward Tennessee, and also heard that a force had taken Holly Springs.
I determined to return to Corinth, and therefore marched to Henderson by way
of Crucifer and Mifflin, building a floating bridge across the Forked Deer,
and taking the cars at Henderson Station, sending my train by land with
instructions to take all cattle, hogs, and sheep on the road for subsistence
at Corinth. The command reached Corinth December 24, marching 130 miles in
four days and one night. Great credit is due the officers and men of the command
for the soldierly manner in which they bore up under so fatiguing a march, and also
for the orderly manner in which they conducted themselves on the march, being
entirely free from pillaging or unauthorized depredations of any kind.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. M. DODGE,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District of Corinth.
Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Tennessee.
CORINTH, January 3, 1863.
GENERAL: Forrest escaped across the river at Clifton at 7
a.m. January 1,
having traveled all the time since his fight, and immediately attacked my
cavalry. They kept him from the river until night, when they found they were
surrounded by a very heavy force and two pieces of artillery. They cut their
way out down river and got into his rear next morning. Forrest commenced
crossing that night, his men on rafts, his horses swam. The cavalry attacked
again the 2d, and this morning he had everything across by 10 o'clock. I could
not reach him with my forces; but sent forward all the mounted men I could
raise, with one section of artillery. They will get to Clifton to-day. No
gunboats in the river. Heard nothing from Sullivan's forces. Our cavalry
have lost considerable in killed and wounded, but not many prisoners.
They took several of Forrest's men. I have just returned.
G. M. DODGE,