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[474] our soldiers, for their hard tack had nearly given out. From Canton, the larger part of the train and the contrabands were sent to Vicksburgh in advance of the main army. The second night out from Canton it rained, and continued to do so the greater part of the next day. This was the first rain of any account that we had experienced on the expedition. This was enough to show us how impossible it would have been for the expedition to have succeeded had the weather been rainy instead of dry and pleasant. It was so muddy that the train was all day going the distance of eight miles, and worked very hard at that. It was enough to make one's heart bleed to see the poor contrabands, shivering with the cold, children crying, and women moaning piteously, all endeavoring to the best of their ability to keep up with the train. Their troubles were of short duration, for the weather soon cleared up, and they were able to keep up with the train quite comfortably. The rest of our march to Vicksburgh was accomplished without any event worthy of notice. We arrived on the second instant, having been absent from that place almost a month.

The confederates will consider this expedition as the boldest move of the war. For an army no larger than that which accompanied Sherman to advance into the very heart of the Confederacy without any communication for nearly a month, and that, too, where the rebels had a perfect railroad communication, was truly a bold move. It shows more plainly than any thing else that has transpired the real weakness of the Confederacy. Had they the troops to spare from any point, or could they have been raised in any manner, he would not have been allowed to return without serious opposition. It is an eye-opener to the people of Mississippi, and can hardly but convince them that it is useless to protract the war longer. Nearly all with whom we conversed, confessed as much. Regarded in this light, the expedition has done a great deal of good.

Nearly one hundred miles of railroad were destroyed, and that in such a manner that it will have to be entirely rebuilt with new iron — no very easy job, when we consider the scarcity of that article at the South, and the increasing scarcity of labor. These railroads were of untold value to the South, as a means of communication with different parts of the Confederacy, and for the transmission of supplies. Besides the railroads and railroad-buildings, other buildings and stores, horses and mules captured to the number of two or three thousand, and contrabands to the number of five thousand, will swell the amount of loss to the confederates to nearly twenty millions of dollars. The country through which we passed was obliged to be stripped of nearly every thing eatable to support our army. As the people must seek sustenance elsewhere, it is really. taking supplies away from the confederates. There was considerable destruction of private property, which may hardly be considered justifiable; yet the houses destroyed were almost invariably deserted, and their owners, in all probability, in the confederate army. Quite a quantity of cotton was also destroyed.

This was done with little or no additional expense to our Government, as the army drew most of its supplies from the country.

The loss on our side is trifling. Probably one hundred will cover the killed, wounded, and prisoners. The loss of the enemy was much greater in killed and wounded, and we captured more than two hundred prisoners and deserters, among them several officers. Our soldiers endured the long march remarkably well, and there were very few cases of sickness.

The five thousand contrabands is taking just so much from the productive interest of the country, and consequently from the confederates. Nearly all the able-bodied ones will enter the army. In fact, we were informed that one thousand have already done so. The remainder will be sent to the contraband camp and employed to work on the plantations as occasion may require.

The weather, with one or two slight exceptions, was delightful throughout the trip. Had this not been the case, the expedition would have been greatly delayed, as the roads in some parts of the route would have been nearly or quite impassable. The nights were cool and frosty, and sometimes the ice froze quite thick.

The expedition may be considered a success, as all was accomplished that was designed or in our power to accomplish. But for the unaccountable non-arrival of General W. S. Smith's cavalry expedition from Memphis, perhaps more of the confederate commissary stores and more prisoners might have been captured. Some may be disappointed, because Sherman did not follow up the enemy to Mobile, but a little consideration by one acquainted with the facts in the case and the difficulties to be overcome will convince him that such a thing was altogether impracticable. Mobile can be attacked with more hope of success in another direction.



Another account.

The great raid of the war is about ended, and the army which has marched over four hundred miles in thirty days, and which has left so many terrible marks of its prowess in its track, will soon be snug in quarters on the banks of the Mississippi. The consequences of the expedition are beyond calculation, and the damage done to the confederate cause cannot be estimated in dollars and cents. Injury has been inflicted which Jeff Davis and all his dominions have not the power to repair. A breach has been made within the limits of their dominions which will never be closed during the life of this rebellion.

Portions of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth army corps, commanded respectively by Major-Generals Hurlbut and McPherson, with Major-General Sherman in command of the expedition, left their camps on the third ultimo, and crossed Black River in two columns, the Sixteenth forming the left wing of the army, at Messenger's


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