The main body of Sturgis’s command halted at Salem, and a detachment of 300 men were sent out to reconnoitre the road to Ripley, a little town about twenty miles south-west of Corinth, Miss. When within a few miles of that place the advance guard of the detachment came upon and captured a squad of half-a-dozen rebel cavalry without firing a gun. As is customary, the prisoners were closely examined with a view to eliciting such information of the enemy’s whereabouts and intentions as they might be able to give.
A gaunt, stringy-haired man, who seemed to be the leader of the rebel party, was conducted to the officer in command of our advance.
“What regiment do you belong to?” asked the officer.
“I wont tell,” was the pointed reply of the rebel.
“How far is it to Ripley?” was the next question.
“”Don’t know,” answered the man, sullenly.
“Who is your commander?”
“How far off is the command to which you belong?” still inquired the persevering Federal, pretending not to notice the crusty demeanor of his prisoner.
Here the rebel informed him, in terms that would not be altogether comely in print, that he would see him in a much hotter region than Mississippi before he would tell him anything at all.
“Very well,” said the officer, drawing and cocking a revolver; “I will send you there to wait for me.”
“You may shoot me if you want to,” said the plucky Confederate, “but you will be sorry for it.”
“Because there is a hundred men over yonder in the woods, and if they hear you shoot they will come up and murder every man of you.”
“Well,” said the officer, “since you have told me just what I wanted to find out, I guess I won’t shoot you;” and in thirty minutes the whole hundred men were prisoners also.