Before our arrival in Louisville, company B, of the Seventh Illinois cavalry, under Captain Forbes, was detached to proceed to Macon, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, if possible to take the town, destroy the railroad and telegraph, and rejoin us. Upon approaching the place, he found it had been reenforced, and the bridge over the Oka Noxubee River destroyed, so that the railroad and telegraph could not be reached. He came back to our trail, crossed the Southern Railroad at Newton, took a south-east course to Enterprise, where, although his force numbered only thirty-five men, he entered with a flag of truce, and demanded the surrender of the place. The commanding officer at that point asked an hour to consider the matter, which Captain Forbes (having ascertained that a large force occupied the place) granted and improved in getting away. He immediately followed us, and succeeded in joining the column while it was crossing Pearl River at Georgetown. In order to catch us, he was obliged to march sixty miles per day for several consecutive days. Much honor is due to Captain Forbes for the manner in which he conducted this expedition. At Louisville I sent Captain Lynch, of company E, Sixth Illinois cavalry, and one man of his company, disguised as citizens, who had gallantly volunteered to proceed to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and cut the wings, which it was necessary should be done to prevent the information of our presence from flying along the railroad from Jackson and other points. Captain Lynch and his comrade proceeded toward Macon, but meeting with the same barrier which had stopped Captain Forbes, could not reach the road. He went to the pickets at the edge of the town, ascertained the whole disposition of their forces and much other valuable information, and returning joined us above Decatur, having ridden without interruption for two days and nights without a moment's rest. All honor to the gallant Captain, whose intrepid coolness and daring characterize him on every occasion. During the expedition we killed and wounded about one hundred of the enemy, captured and paroled over five hundred prisoners, many of them officers, destroyed between fifty and sixty miles of railroad and telegraph, captured and destroyed over three thousand stand of arms, and other army stores and Government property to an immense amount; we also captured one thousand horses and mules. Our loss during the entire journey was three killed, seven wounded; five left on the route sick, the Sergeant, Major, and Surgeon of the Seventh Illinois left, with Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, and nine men missing, supposed to have straggled. We marched over six hundred miles in less than sixteen days. The last twenty-eight hours we marched seventy-six miles, had four engagements with the enemy, and forded the Comite River, which was deep enough to swim many of the horses. During this time the men and horses were without food or rest. Much of the country through which we passed was almost entirely destitute of forage and provisions, and it was but seldom that we obtained over one meal per day. Many of the inhabitants must undoubtedly suffer for want of the necessaries of life, which have reached most fabulous prices. Two thousand cavalry and mounted infantry were sent from the vicinity of Greenwood and Grenada north-east to intercept us; one thousand three hundred cavalry and several regiments of infantry with artillery were sent from Mobile to Macon, Meridian, and other points on the Mobile and Ohio Road. A force was sent from Canton north-east to prevent our crossing Pearl River, and another force of infantry and cavalry was sent from Brookhaven to Monticello, thinking we would cross Pearl River at that point instead of Georgetown. Expeditions were also sent from Vicksburgh, Port Gibson, and Port Hudson, to intercept us. Many detachments were sent out from my command at various places to mislead the enemy, all of which rejoined us in safety. Colton's pocket map of the Mississippi, which, though small, is very correct, was all I had to guide me, but by the capture of their couriers, despatches, and mails, and the invaluable aid of my scouts, we were always able by rapid marches to evade the enemy when they were too strong, and whip them when not too large. Colonel Prince, commanding the Seventh Illinois, and Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, commanding the Sixth Illinois, were untiring in their efforts to further the success of the expedition, and I cannot speak too highly of the coolness, bravery, and above all of the untiring perseverance of the officers and men of the command during the entire journey. Without their hearty cooperation, which was freely given under the most trying circumstances, we could not have accomplished so much with such signal success. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
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.