Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/537

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all needful preparations are being made for a proper and prompt evacuation of this place."

Gen. Robert E. Lee, being advised of the emergency, wrote to Beauregard expressing confidence in the wisdom of his arrangements; but expressing the hope, in case retreat was inevitable, that Beauregard would be able "to strike a successful blow at the enemy if he follows, which will enable you to gain the ascendency and drive him back to the Ohio."

On the 28th, Col. Joseph Wheeler, then in command of an infantry brigade, being ordered to the front on the Monterey road found Lieutenant-Colonel Mills, with about 200 men from the Seventh, Ninth, Tenth and Twenty-ninth Mississippi, and two guns of Robertson's battery, stoutly contesting an advance of the enemy in force. "Colonel Mills," General Wheeler reported, "had been driven back about half a mile by a superior force, who had established themselves in a densely-wooded swamp so favorable that this gallant officer had been baffled in repeated attempts to permanently re-establish his line of pickets." On the next day the united force of the Confederates drove the enemy from their position and then retreated in the night to Corinth. General Beauregard, having sent out nearly everything of value by the railroad to Tupelo, skillfully evacuated the town on the night of May 29th, leaving cavalry pickets to send up signal rockets at three o’clock the next morning.

A correspondent of a Northern journal, in his report of the event, writing on the 30th, said that on the 29th advances were made by Thomas and Pope, with heavy cannonading, but not a response of any kind was elicited from the enemy. "During that night we could hear teams being driven off and boxes being nailed in the rebel camp. Deserters, however, I understand, reported that they were making a stand and would fight the next day. Considerable cannonading was done by our forces and yet no response, and yesterday the same. Last night