Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/539

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Halleck, meanwhile, sent north dispatches of the most remarkable character. He first telegraphed that "the enemy's position and works in front of Corinth were exceedingly strong. He cannot occupy a stronger position in his flight. This morning he destroyed an immense amount of public and private property, stores, provisions, wagons, tents, etc. For miles out of town the roads are filled with arms, haversacks, etc., thrown away by his fleeing troops. A large number of prisoners and deserters have been captured, estimated by General Pope [a romantic authority] at 2,000." Next day he sent word that Colonel Elliott had struck Booneville at 2 a. m. on the 30th, torn things up generally, and captured and paroled 2,000 prisoners. And on June 4th, he telegraphed: "General Pope, with 40,000 men, is 30 miles south of Florence, pushing the enemy hard. He already reports 10,000 prisoners and deserters from the enemy, and 15,000 stand of arms captured. Thousands of the enemy are throwing away their arms. A farmer says, that when Beauregard learned that Elliott had cut the railroad on his line of retreat he became frantic, and told the men to save themselves the best way they could. We captured nine locomotives and a number of cars."

The statement of Colonel Elliott himself, about the affair at Booneville, was that he struck the station on the morning of the 30th as the result of a movement which he had begun on the 27th, and found there about 2,000 convalescent and sick Confederates, and a guard of something less than 1,000. The depot was filled with military stores and wounded, and a train was standing loaded with military stores. These he destroyed, after removing the wounded to a place of safety, and tore up the track, Col. P. H. Sheridan and Capt. R. A. Alger assisting in the work. A few hundred Confederate infantry were captured and paroled, and the cavalry fought the Federals during their operations and escaped without much loss.