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[477] but what was actually necessary for the subsistence of families residing on the line of march. A great deal of property was destroyed and many houses burned in all the towns we passed through — some of them unnecessarily perhaps, but it is accounted for by the fact that we did not enter a town, except Canton, from which we were not fired upon.

From Jackson to Meridian there is nothing but a succession of pine barrens and almost interminable swamps, across which the pioneer corps, under the direction of Captain Hickenlooper, constructed many miles of corduroy road before the trains could pass over.

I have not time nor space to relate incidents of the trip, but a report made to General Polk by a citizen scout whom he had sent out to ascertain our numbers, intentions, destination, etc., should not be lost. He had probably seen our wagon train, which required five hours to pass a given point, and became frightened at it, as his official report will show. It was that “there were precisely one hundred and fifty thousand Yanks, and that they were coming like damnation!--that each one had a label on the front of his hat, on which was the inscription, in large letters, ‘Moblle or hell!’ ” About this time our cavalry entered the town, and the General mounted his horse and skedaddled. This was related to me. by citizens, and is not a romance.



Another account.

Sixteenth Iowa Volunteer infantry, Canton, Mississippi, February 29, 1864.
Mr. Editor: General Sherman having taken the job of “cleaning out” Mississippi, we have “gone and done it,” making a clear track from Vicksburgh to Demopolis, and are this far on our return, stopping a few days here to finish up a few little jobs, such as destroying twenty-three locomotives, a number of freight and passengercars, gather in a few thousand head of horses and mules, destroy a few miles of railroad, etc.

But to the expedition: we shall not attempt to give you all the particulars, nor half the important results of this expedition; but simply attempt to interest you by a narration of such incidents as may have transpired within our own observation, leaving the particulars and more important parts to those whose business it is to note these, and whose opportunities for knowing what has been accomplished are better than ours, a non-combatant in the rear of a regiment. On the evening of the second, we received marching orders, and at eight o'clock next morning were on the road. The expedition consisted of the Sixteenth army corps, and the Third and Fourth, and the Iowa brigade of the First division of the Seventeenth army corps, the whole estimated at about thirty thousand strong. The train consisted of about one thousand wagons, beside a large number of corps ambulances; you can perhaps imagine the majestic appearance of such an immense body of men and animals and wagons in motion; but to realize the scene requires a personal observation, obtained only by standing a whole day in one place and seeing it pass. Our first day's march was not marked by any incidents of importance, save the excitement and commotion of getting fairly under way. We arrived at Black River about sunset, and encamped on the west side. The country from Vicksburgh to Black River is very rough, and the whole, as far as can be seen from the road, is one continued scene of desolation — deserted plantations, blackened chimneys, and fenceless fields, tell of the gloomy past. On the morning of the fourth we were again on the march at eight o'clock, passed safely over Black River on a pontoon-bridge, (small “flat-boats” laid side by side, fastened with ropes on each side of the river, and planked over.) A short distance on the east side of the river we passed through the battle-field of last summer; large trees cut entirely off, others split and shattered and scarred, tell of the terrible missiles which laid many a brave soldier wounded and lifeless upon the bloody field. We travelled slowly all day, and the same scene of desolation presented the day before was again witnessed to-day; in the evening we passed the place near Champion Hills where the rebels burned our wagon train last summer; a portion of the wreck still remains. At Champion Hills our front had a severe skirmish with the rebel cavalry; a number of both armies were killed and taken prisoners, but how many I have not learned, and do not expect to until I see it in Northern papers. We passed the battle-field of Champion Hills in the night, so we did not get to see that historical ground. About eleven o'clock at night we went into camp three miles west of Clinton, the “boys” in fine spirits, singing and laughing during the tedious night march as gayly as though they were approaching home, anticipating sweet repose on “downy pillows” instead of “grassy couches.” The next morning we were awakened by heavy firing in front, and on looking round found marked evidences of there having been considerable fighting yesterday at the place where we were encamped; the rebs had made rail stockades, (rails built up in the form of a very acute fence-corner,) several horses lay dead and wounded, and some pieces of “grayback” uniforms lay around loose. The firing continued sharper and fiercer while we took breakfast and prepared to advance, but by the time we got started the reports were fewer and farther off. It was amusing to hear the talk among the boys as they listened to the booming of cannon and cracks of musketry; remarks like the following could be heard: “Them fellows in front are getting their veteran bounty.” “Yes, in hard money, too; don't you hear them plank it down on the table?” After breakfast we moved forward, and within about a mile and a half from our place of encampment came to the place where our front had been engaged. The first thing I observed was a cap, half of which was torn off. I presumed some boy had torn it up and thrown it away; but a few steps brought me to the place where its former wearer lay, the front and top of his head blown entirely off, and


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