fatigued and exhausted my command, and rest and food were absolutely necessary for its safety. From captured mails and information obtained by my scouts, I knew that large forces had been sent out to intercept our return, and having instructions from Major-General Hurlbut and Brigadier-General Smith to move in any direction from this point which, in my judgment, would be best for the safety of my command and the success of the expedition, I at once decided to move south, in order to secure the necessary rest and food for men and horses, and then return to La Grange through Alabama, or make for Baton Rouge, as I might hereafter deem best. Major Starr in the mean time rejoined us, having destroyed most effectually three bridges and several hundred feet of trestle-work, and the telegraph, from eight to ten miles east of Newton Station. After resting about three hours, we moved south to Garlands-ville. At this point we found the citizens, many of them venerable with age, armed-with shotguns, and organized to resist our approach. As the advance entered the town, these citizens fired upon them, and wounded one of our men. We charged upon them, and captured several. After disarming them we showed them the folly of their actions, and released them. Without an exception they acknowledged their mistake, and declared that they had been grossly deceived as to our real character. One volunteered his services as guide, and upon leaving us declared that hereafter his prayers should be for the Union army. I mention this as a sample of the feeling which exists, and of the good effect which our presence produced among the people in the country through which. we passed. Hundreds who are skulking and hiding out to avoid conscription, only await the presence of our arms to sustain them, when they will rise up and declare their principles; and thousands who have been deceived, upon the vindication of our cause, would immediately return to loyalty. After slight delay at Garlandsville, we moved south-west about ten miles, and camped at night on the plantation of Mr. Bender, two miles west of Montrose. Our men and horses having become gradually exhausted, I determined on making a very easy march the next day, and looking more to the recruiting of my weary little command than to the accomplishment of any important object; consequently I marched at eight o'clock the next morning, taking a west and varying slightly to a northwest course. We marched about five miles, and halted to feed on the plantation of Mr. Nichols. After resting until about two o'clock P. M., during which time I sent detachments north to threaten the line of the railroad at Lake Station and other points, we moved south-west toward Raleigh, making about twelve miles during the afternoon, and halting at dark on the plantation of Dr. Mackadora. From this point I sent a single scout, disguised as a citizen, to proceed northward to the line of the Southern Railroad, cut the telegraph, and, if possible, fire a bridge or trestlework. He started on his journey about midnight, and when within seven miles of the railroad he came upon a regiment of Southern cavalry from Brandon, Miss., in search of us. He succeeded in misdirecting them as to the place where he had last seen us, and having seen them well on the wrong road, he immediately retraced his steps to the camp with the news. When he first met them they were on the direct road to our camp, and had they not been turned from their course would have come up with us before daylight. From information received through my scouts and other sources, I found that Jackson and the stations east, as far as Lake Station, had been reenforced by infantry and artillery, and hearing that a fight was momentarily expected at Grand Gulf, I decided to make a rapid march, cross Pearl River, and strike the New-Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad at Hazlehurst, and after destroying as much of the road as possible, endeavor to get upon the flank of the enemy, and cooperate with our forces, should they be successful in the attack upon Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. Having obtained, during this day, plenty of forage and provisions, and having had one good night's rest, we now again left, ready for any emergency. Accordingly, at six o'clock on the morning of the twenty-sixth, we crossed Leaf River, burning the bridge behind us, to prevent any enemy who might be in pursuit from following; thence through Raleigh, capturing the sheriff of that county with about three thousand dollars in Government funds; thence to Westville, reaching this place soon after dark. Passing on about two miles we halted to feed, in the midst of a heavy rain, on the plantation of Mr. Williams. After feeding, Colonel Prince, of the Seventh Illinois cavalry, with two battalions, was sent immediately forward to Pearl River to secure the ferry and landing. He arrived in time, to capture a courier, who had come to bring intelligence of the approach of the Yankees, and orders for the destruction of the ferry. With the main column I followed in about two hours. We ferried and swam our horses, and succeeded in crossing the whole command by two o'clock P. M. As soon as Colonel Prince had crossed his two battalions, he was ordered to proceed immediately to the New-Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad, striking it at Hazlehurst. Here he found a number of cars containing about six hundred loaded shells and a large quantity of commissary and quartermaster's stores, intended for Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. These were destroyed, and as much of the railroad and telegraph as possible. Here, again, we found the citizens armed to resist us, but they fled precipitately upon our approach. From this point we took a north-west course to Gallatin, four miles, thence south-west three and a half miles to the plantation of Mr. Thompson, where we halted until the next morning. Directly after leaving Gallatin we captured a sixty-four pound gun and a heavy wagon-load of ammunition, and machinery for mounting the gun, on the road to Port Gibson. The gun was spiked and the carriages and ammunition destroyed. During the afternoon it rained in torrents, and the men were completely drenched. At six
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.