border of the State
--destroying a vast amount of railroad property, bridges, trestles, track, locomotives, cars, &c., &c. Lt.-Gen. Polk
, with French's and Loring
's divisions and Lee
's cavalry, fell back before our army ; skirmishing occasionally, but making no serious resistance; retreating at last behind the Tombigbee
Yet the expedition, though scarcely resisted, and doing vast damage to the Rebels
, was essentially a failure, because too weak in cavalry.
This deficiency was to have been supplied by a strong division sent by Hurlbut
, under Gen. Win
; but that officer, who was to have been here on the 10th, did not leave Memphis
till the 11th, and failed to reach even West Point
, nearly 100 miles north of Meridian
; whence he turned back,1
and made all speed to Memphis
was therefore obliged to retrace his steps; leaving Meridian
on the 20th, and sending Winslow
's cavalry so far north as Louisville
to feel for Smith
, but without success: so our army slowly returned unmolested to Canton
Its total loss during the expedition was but 171; while it brought away 400 prisoners, 1,000 White
refugees, with 5,000 negroes, and returned in better condition for service than when it started.
Gen. W. S. Smith
, with about 7,000 men, including a brigade of infantry, had advanced by New Albany and Okolona
nearly to West Point
; when he found himself confronted by Forrest
, and Chalmers
, with more Rebels than he felt able to master; and, turning a very short corner, he made his way back to Memphis
in the best time on record — his van reaching that city at 11 P. M. on the 25th.
Attacked at Okolona
he had lost 5 guns in making good his escape; but it was claimed on his return that he had devoured or otherwise destroyed a large amount of Rebel property, mainly corn, and had lost but 200 men. Still, it is not recorded corded that he was ever again put in command of an important expedition.
Simultaneously with his advance from Vicksburg
sent some gunboats and a detachment up the Yazoo
against Yazoo City
; which did not succeed in again capturing that city, but claimed to have done considerable damage, with a loss of but 50 men.
was taken and occupied soon afterward by a Union force consisting of the 11th Illinois, Col. Schofield
, 8th Louisiana (Black), Col. Coates
, and 200 of the 1st Mississippi cavalry (Black). Col. Osband
, who had dropped down the river from above, was here attacked4
by a far superior Rebel force under Ross
, and a desperate street-fight ensued, in which our loss was 130; that of the enemy reported by them at 50, and by our side at 300.
They carried a good part of the town, but could not take the fort, and were finally repelled by reenforcements from below.
The place was evacuated, by order from Vicksburg
, soon afterward.
Gen. Jo. Johnston
, commanding in northern Georgia
, having dispatched two divisions of Hardee
's corps, under Stewart
, to the aid of Polk
, Gen. Grant
, still commanding at Chattanooga
, sent forward5