Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/164
154 Southern Historical Society Papers.
most remarkable feature of the affair was the singularly prompt and salutary effect it produced in quieting the enemy. No other advance was attempted, and during the next two or three weeks in fact, until the commencement of General Grant's retro- gade movements the most perfect quiet prevailed between the lines.
The situation was now as follows: General Jackson, with the Confederate cavalay, hekl the country between Grenada and Coffee-
'ville. The infantry had crossed the Yalobusha at Grenada, and occupied defensive positions along the south bank of the river.
'General Van Dorn had been superseded by General Pemberton. A few reinforcements were added to the force about the time Gen- eral Pemberton assumed command, but the whole was entirely
-inadequate to cope with General Grant.
The main body of the Federal army was encamped near Water Valle} r , with advance outposts in the vicinity of Coffeeville. It seemed to have no rear, for strong detachments were posted all along the railroad, as far as our scouts had gone, and were known to extend as far north as Holly Springs. General Grant was accu- mulating an immense depot of supplies at Holly Springs; was re-
.pairing the railroad south of that place and hastening every prepa- ration necessary for a continuation of his advance. To arrest his
.progress was a matter of vital importance, otherwise the whole in- terior of the State, its capital, Vicksburg, and its railroads would fall into his possession. The force in his front being insufficient to offer battle with any hope of success, the only other alternative that of attacking his communications was adopted.
On the 15th of December the main body of the Confederate cavalry was quietly withdrawn from the enemy's front and crossed to the south side of the Yalobusha.
At 11 o'clock that night we received orders to be ready to move at daylight, with sixty rounds of ammunition and ten days' rations of salt. Many were the speculations indulged in by men and officers around the camp-fires in regard to our destination ; but on one point all were agreed, that the order meant an end to the mo- notonous duty of waiting and watching for Grant's advance.
At daylight the column moved eastward up the Yalobusha river, and soon after sunrise it became known for the first time that General Van Dorn was riding at its head.
Prior to that time the cavalry had seen but little of General Van Dorn, and the most of them knew nothing of their leader, except