this work of destruction. They jointly destroyed Bear Creek Bridge and five hundred feet of trustle work, that cannot be repaired in a month. Bear Creek is very bad in itself and the swampy bottom is impassable to wheeled vehicles, so that the breach is vital to the operations of an enemy. Having thus fulfilled well their orders, Major Bowman and Genl Fry returned to Chickasaw with their commands reaching the boats about 9 P. M., having marched about 30 miles Having thus succeeded in the main purpose of the expedition I wanted to proceed twenty miles further up the Tennessee and there make another break, as well as to push on to Tuscumbia Landing and Florence. At Florence there is a very fine Bridge for a branch Railroad that connects Florence with Tuscumbia, with a Road Bridge underneath, but it was the unanimous opinion of all the pilots, that the Gun boats and even one of the transports could not pass Bee-tree Shoals or Colbert Shoals, both rock bottom, on which it would not do to risk the Gunboats. Having no personal knowledge on the subject, and bound to defer to the opinion of pilots who had navigated the Tennessee for thirty years, I was reluctantly compelled to abandon the latter part of [your] design, the destruction of the Florence Bridge. I am still ready to undertake it with boats of light draft, made secure by some field pieces and bales of hay; or to march by land from Waterloo, just above Chickasaw, to Florence Our Cavalry under Major Bowman moved finely on this ocassion, and the Infantry column of Gen'l Fry sustained their well earned reputation for steadiness and discipline" LS, DNA, RG 94, War Records Office, Union Battle Reports. O. R., I, x, part 1, 644-45; O. R. (Navy), I, xxiii, 60-61. In an undated endorsement, USG forwarded this report to hd. qrs. of the army. ES, DNA, RG 94, War Records Office, Union Battle Reports. On April 14, Maj. Samuel M. Bowman, 4th Ill. Cav., reported his actions at Bear Creek Bridge to Sherman. ALS, ibid., RG 393, District of West Tenn., Letters Received. O. R., I, x, part 1, 646. Also on April 14, Sherman wrote to his wife, discussing this expedition. ALS, Sherman Papers, InNd.
Headquarters District of West Tennessee,
Pittsburg, April 12, 1862.
I am directed by Major-General Halleck to organize a force for special service to-night. You will therefore report one brigade of your command on board the steamers White Cloud and Universe this evening with one day's rations. The lateness of the