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[462] plantation of Benjamin Kilgore, eleven and a half miles south-east of the latter place, on the road toward Starkville. The following morning, at six o'clock, I resumed the march southward, and about eight o'clock came to the road leading south-east to Columbus, Miss. Here I detached Colonel Hatch, with the Second Iowa cavalry and one gun of the battery, with orders to proceed to the Ohio and Mobile Railroad in the vicinity of West-Point, destroy the road and wires, thence move south, destroying the railroad and all public property as far south, if possible, as Macon; thence cross the railroad, making a circuit northward, if practicable take Columbus and destroy all government works in that place, and again strike Oklaona, and destroying it, return to La Grange by the most practicable route. Of this expedition and the one previously sent back I have since heard nothing except vague and uncertain rumors through secession sources. These detachments were intended as diversions, and even should the commanders not have been able to carry out their instructions, yet, by attracting the attention of the enemy in other directions, they assisted us much in the accomplishment of the main object of the expedition.

After having started Colonel Hatch on his way, with the remaining portion of the command, consisting of the Sixth and Seventh Illinois cavalry, about nine hundred and fifty strong, I continued on my journey southward, still keeping the Starkville road, arriving at Starkville about four o'clock P. M.; we captured a mail and a quantity of government property, which was destroyed. From this point we took the direct road to Louisville. We moved out on this road about four miles, through a dismal swamp near belly-deep in mud, and sometimes swimming our horses to cross streams, when we encamped for the night in the midst of a violent rain. From this point I detached a battalion of the Seventh Illinois cavalry, under---, to proceed about four miles, and destroy a large tannery and shoe manufactory in the service of the rebels. They returned safely, having accomplished the work most effectually. They destroyed a large number of boots and shoes, and a large quantity of leather and machinery, in all amounting probably to fifty thousand dollars, and captured a rebel quartermaster from Port Hudson, who was there laying in a supply for his command. We now immediately resumed the march toward Louisville — distance twenty-eight miles--mostly through a dense swamp — the Noxubee River bottom. This was for miles belly-deep in water, so that no road was discernible. The inhabitants through this part of the country, generally, did not know of our coming, and would not believe us to be any thing but confederates. We arrived at Louisville soon after dark. I sent a battalion of the Sixth Illinois, under Major Starr, in advance, to picket the town and remain until the column had passed, when they were relieved by a battalion of the Seventh Illinois, under Major Graham, who was ordered to remain until we should have been gone an hour, to prevent persons leaving with information of the course we were taking, to drive out stragglers, preserve order, and quiet the fears of the people. They had heard of our coming a short time before we arrived, and many had left, taking only what they could hurriedly move. The column moved quietly through the town without halting, and not a thing was disturbed. Those who remained at home acknowledged that they were surprised. They had expected to be robbed, outraged, and have their houses burned. On the contrary, they were protected in their persons and property. After leaving the town we struck another swamp, in which, crossing it, as we were obliged to, in the dark, we lost several animals drowned and the men narrowly escaped the same fate. Marching until midnight, we halted until daylight at the plantation of Mr. Estus, about ten miles south of Louisville.

The next morning, April twenty-third, at day-light, we took the road for Philadelphia, crossing Pearl River at a bridge about six miles north of the town. This bridge we were fearful would be destroyed by the citizens to prevent our crossing and upon arriving at Philadelphia, we found that they had met and organized for that purpose, but hearing of our near approach, their hearts failed, and they fled to the woods. We moved through Philadelphia about three P. M., without interruption, and halted to feed about five miles south-east on the Enterprise road. Here we rested until ten o'clock at night, when I sent two battalions of the Seventh Illinois cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, to proceed immediately to Decatur, thence to the railroad at Newton Station. With the main force I followed about an hour later. The advance passed through Decatur about daylight, and struck the railroad about six o'clock A. M. I arrived about an hour afterward with the column. Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn dashed into the town, took possession of the railroad and telegraph, and succeeded in capturing two trains in less than half an hour after his arrival. One of these, twenty-five cars, was loaded with ties and machinery, and the other thirteen cars were loaded with commissary stores and ammunition, among the latter several thousand loaded shells. These, together with a large quantity of commissary and quartermaster's stores, and about five hundred stand of arms stored in the town, were destroyed. Seventy-five prisoners captured at this point were paroled. The locomotives were exploded and otherwise rendered completely unserviceable. Here the track was torn up, and a bridge half a mile west of the station destroyed. I detached a battalion of the Sixth Illinois cavalry, under Major Starr, to proceed eastward, and destroy such bridges, etc., as he might find over Chunkey River. Having damaged as much as possible the railroad and telegraph, and destroyed all government property in the vicinity of Newton, I moved about four miles south of the road and fed men and horses. The forced marches which I was compelled to make in order to reach this point successfully necessarily very much

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