Thursday, May 3, 2012

Operations at Farmington and Purdy

While Halleck was warning his right flank of reported rebel troop movements toward Purdy, TN,  General Pope's Army of the Mississippi unexpectedly encounters the enemy at division strength on his left.  The following report to E.M. Stanton describes the encounter on this day in 1862.

May 3, 1862-9 p. m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:

Paine's division made a reconnaissance to Farmington to-day. Found about 4,500 of the enemy. Drove them in handsome style, killing 30, wounding many, capturing some prisoners, their tents, camp equipage, &c. At dark our cavalry was in pursuit of their artillery and a baggage train beyond Farmington, in the direction of Corinth. I witnessed the fight. Our men behaved splendidly. An artillery reconnaissance went to Glendale this morning, and destroyed two trestle bridges and some track of the Memphis and Charleston Road. It has been a splendid day's work for the left wing. Camp will be moved forward to Seven Mile Creek, within 1 mile of Farmington, tomorrow. Weather clear. Road becoming good.

Assistant Secretary of War.*

Meanwhile, Lew Wallace's Reserve Division has arrived at Purdy and encountered no resistance.  In the following letter, he seeks direction from headquarters.  Much like his earlier expedition to Crump's Landing in March, he is becoming isolated from the main body and faces little opposition from the enemy.

Purdy, May 3, 1862.

Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: Say to the general that I reached this place last evening in advance of my regiments, one of which has since arrived, while the others are momentarily expected.

My cavalry have been already sent forward to take possession of the Hatchie Bridge. They left for that purpose last night at 10 o'clock. Two citizens of Bolivar came in about midnight, sent to invite our forces to take possession of the town and protect it from the rebel cavalry, who are marauding in small parties, burning cotton, of which there is said to be in the county about $1,200,000 worth. There is an intense anxiety to have it saved, if possible.

The two citizens inform me that Grand Junction is unoccupied, and, save the marauding squads of cavalry, the entire army of Beauregard has gone southward, leaving no considerable body nearer than Holly Springs.

Communicate, if you please, with the general commanding, and inform me whether or not I shall send to take possession of Grand Junction, if I ascertain it unoccupied. I shall push on for Boliver instantly upon the arrival of a brigade.

My command was so scattered that the whole of it may not effect a junction at this place until toward evening.

My compliments to the general.

Very respectfully,
General Third Division, Reserve.*

*Thanks to my Favorite Link, Ohio State's eHistory for today's links from the ORE

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