Report of Lieut. Col. William B. Creasman, Twenty-ninth North
JULY 25, 1863.
SIR: Being informed on the 10th instant that Gen. Cosby was
moving from Mechanicsburg
in the direction of Canton, I immediately
sent out pickets on the different roads leading to Yazoo City. I also
4 of Lieut. Johnson's cavalry 12 miles below the city on the
road running down the west bank of the river.
7 p.m. On the 12th instant, I received information, through a
citizen living 25 miles below the city, that there were three
coming up the river, and immediately gave orders for the command to
be in readiness for action. A few minutes
later one of my pickets came
in from below and reported one gunboat within 12 miles of the city.
By a little after dark
the gunners were at their guns and the infantry
in the redoubts and rifle-pits, the right wing of my regiment resting
the Liverpool road and the left on the Vicksburg road, 1 mile from the
city. Captain [James A.] Hoskins' light battery
pieces on the Vicksburg road, and one on the Liverpool road.
In the mean time the baggage, cooking
vessels, &c., were placed on the
wagons and sent 2 miles north of town. About 10 p.m. I received a dispatch
me that Gen. Cosby had engaged the enemy near Canton, and
upon receipt of this information I immediately ordered the wagons
baggage on the boats, believing it impossible to retreat across the
country, if retreat should become necessary.
Consequently I determined,
if retreat should be inevitable, to go up the river and join Gen.
on the 13th, I called on Lieut. Johnson for four reliable
cavalrymen, whom I posted down the river, 5 miles distant from
other. About 10 a.m. One of these came in and reported four gunboats
and six transports passing Liverpool up the
river. Shortly afterward
another picket came in from the opposite side of the river, confirming
previous reports. Lieut.
Johnson and Adjutant [John E.] Hoey also made
a reconnaissance, and assured me the boats were coming up the river.
12 m. another picket came in and reported the enemy landing
3 miles below the city, though he could give no positive information
to their strength or the number of transports landing. I immediately
sent Captain Sanders and, Lieut. Johnson, with
about 20 men
(mounted), to ascertain, if possible, their strength and movements.
About 3 p.m. One gunboat appeared in
sight of our battery of heavy
guns, which promptly opened fire upon her at a distance of 11/2 miles.
She halted, replied,
and a brisk cannonade ensued, lasting about half
an hour, when she ceased firing and backed out of sight down the river.
this firing, Lieut. Johnson returned and reported Captain
Sanders and 3 men cut off, the enemy moving up Short Creek, endeavoring
turn our left flank. Soon after another picket from the Mechanicsburg
road reported Captain Sanders and 1 man captured
and 1 horse killed,
and confirmed Lieut. Johnson's report as to the enemy's direction.
Shortly after, a picket from
up the river reported the Saint Mary,
a small picket-boat, captured. This boat was up the river a distance
of 7 miles, but by land only 3 miles. The other boats were
still higher up the river. Those which were wooded moved up
and those not wooded were burned. Captain.[W. T.] Edwards, acting
commissary of subsistence, carried the
commissary stores off on
those boats which escaped. One hundred beef-cattle near Benton
I ordered out by way of Lexington.
5 p.m. I determined to evacuate the place, finding I was entirely
overpowered and almost surrounded. I concentrated my
forces at the
redoubt on the Canton road, half a mile from town, except Captain
[Robert] Voigt, of Waul's Texas Legion,
who, refusing to obey my
orders relative to the evacuation, was with his company (C) captured
by the enemy, when he
could have escaped with the rest of the command.
I considered it dangerous to send after him when I found he refused
come out, the enemy being then in sight on the west bank of the
river. I ordered Captain [Isaac N.] Brown, C. S. Navy,
to destroy or
render useless the heavy artillery, which he failed to do, informing
me afterward that he did not have
time, and to destroy them by blowing
up would have given the enemy notice of our intention to evacuate
and thereby endanger
I moved the command about 7 p.m. toward Lexington, via Benton,
crossed the railroad at Goodman, and
Pearl River at Edwards Ferry,
arriving at Hillsborough on the 20th, and reported to you on the 22d. I
would have reported
at an earlier moment but that droves of cattle were
being hurried through the town, and men and officers constantly passing,
reported two of your divisions coming upon the Hillsborough road and
your entire army moving toward Meridian. So soon as
I found the army was
still near Morton and Forest, at which former place I was told you had
headquarters, I reported
I am reliably informed that the baggage and cooking vessels are on
the road to Meridian from Winona or Louisville.
am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. B. CREASMAN,
Lieut. Col. 29th N. C. Regt., late Comdg.
Post at Yazoo City.
Col. [B. S.] EWELL.
Source: Official Records. MISSISSIPPI, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. [CHAP. XXXVI,
Series I, Vol. 24, Part II, Reports. Serial No. 37.]