NP, AC 12/19/1862

From the American Citizen (Canton, Miss.)
December 19, 1862
Federals Moving on Columbus
   A friend who left Okolona on Monday evening, brings us important intelligence of the movements of the Federal forces southward along the line of the Mobile & Ohio railroad. On Sunday evening a force, its strength unknown, occupied for the night two miles west of Saltillo. On Monday at eleven o'clock, A. M., Pontotoc was occupied. On Monday afternoon, between three and four o'clock, a cavalry force about three thousand strong, made its appearance at Coonawah station, twenty-five miles north of Artesia, just as the train from the North arrived. The train was filled with ladies, etc., fleeing from above, and the enemy as he came up commenced forming a line within twenty steps of the engine, and firing at the engine and train. The engineer, in reply to a taunt from one of the enemy, replied -- fire away, and commenced moving his train. His head of steam was so small that but slow progress was made, but the enemy did not pursue, and the train proceeded until it crossed a swamp a mile south of the station, where it halted until steam could be raised. Five cars, three passenger and two freight, were abandoned.
   While the train was waiting a dense smoke was seen to arise from the depot, and the impression was that it had been fired. The platform was covered with the baggage of parties who had expected to take the train south all of which was left behind.
   The escape of the train was alone due to the boldness and presence of mind of the engineer, whose conduct was so highly appreciated by the passengers that a purse of one hundred dollars was raised and presented him, accompanied by the thanks of those who had escaped.
Memphis Appeal