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Starting out in a southeasterly direction, the expedition took the road toward Somerville, a county seat, fifteen miles from Decatur. The road crosses Flint river seven miles out, and passes over a country generally of flat surface. Somerville was reached about nine o'clock at night, and the command bivouacked until morning. A forage train accompanied it this far with corn for the horses — the wagons returning to Decatur next day. Henceforward the horses were to take the chances of such forage as the country afforded along the route.

July 11th.--The expedition was now fairly started in the enemy's country, and, judging from the rations issued, was not likely to return to our own lines in less than two weeks. The direction pursued was about the same as before — southeast. The distance marched was about thirty miles, and in the evening the command bivouacked on Sand Mountain, the dividing ridge which separates the waters flowing into the Tennessee river from those flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. The country was generally poor, and afforded but a scanty supply of forage for the horses.

July 12th.--Descending Sand Mountain in the morning, the expedition forded Black Warrior river, a tributary of the Tombigbee, and at ten o'clock reached Blountsville, the county seat of Blount county.

In the jail here were found two deserters from Johnston's army and four negroes, charged with the crime of seeking their liberty. All were released. A prisoner charged with murder was in confinement in the same jail, and was left to await his trial at the hands of the civil authorities. Beyond Blountsville the road crosses Strait Mountain, the descent of which is remarkably steep and rugged, but was passed without accident, and the command halted for the night in a fertile valley, where a good supply of oats was obtained for the horses. On this day's march the first armed rebels were met, a small party of them having fired on the advance guard on the mountain and then fled. Their shots were ineffective.

A regiment was sent forward in the night to Ashville, five miles, to secure any supplies the rebels might have at that point. A sufficient quantity of corn for the horses was obtained, and also a quantity of flour and bacon.

July 13th.--The command marched into Ashville in the morning, and remained for several hours, getting the horses completely shod up. All places of business were closed, and a number of the citizens had fled in terror at the approach of the dreaded Yankees. The printing office of the county paper (the “Ashville vidette,” ) was deserted by the proprietors and printers, leaving the forms on the press, the edition being partly worked off. The paper contained Vallandigham's speech at Hamilton, Ohio, and in an editorial article eulogized Val. as a “gifted statesman, orator, and patriotic exile.” The Editor further shows the following, looking to the peace party of the North for aid in sustaining the rebellion:

It is our desire to see the names of Fernando Wood and C. L. Vallandigham, or some of their co-laborers, placed upon the ticket of that party at the Chicago convention, for President and Vice-President of the United States, supported by such men as Long and Harris; and just in proportion to the support they receive will the North exhibit signs of returning reason and humanity. If they are elected we expect to have peace, independence, and constitutional liberty.

Several printers were detailed and sent to the office, and the press was soon put to a use never anticipated by its owner-printing orders and blanks for a Yankee command. The printers also amused themselves by taking out a column of secession stuff from the form of the “Vidette,” and inserting a short editorial, changing the tone of the paper, and also some items encouraging the arrival of General Rousseau's command. A few copies of the new edition were worked off before the command again took up the line of march.

Here a change was made in the organization of the brigades. The Ninth Ohio being without a field officer, and having an inadequate number of line officers, Colonel Hamilton took command of his regiment, which was placed in the First brigade, while the Fifth Iowa, Fourth Tennessee, and the battery were made to comprise the Second brigade, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick, of the Fifth Iowa.

In the afternoon the march was continued over a rough, barren country, and in the evening the expedition reached the Coosa river at Greenport. Here it was expected that the rebels would attempt to delay us, if they could gather any force, as news of our approach had been no doubt sent forward. None were to be seen when the bank of the river was reached. The ferryboat was on the opposite side, and was gained possession of by a party swimming over. General Rousseau at once ordered a detachment of three hundred men to be crossed to hold the ferry, and in the night the artillery was also ferried over, to prevent delay in the morning.

Here the Fifth Iowa performed the sad duty of interring the remains of one of its most efficient officers-Captain William Curl. The regiment was in the rear, and Captain Curl and Captain Wilcox, of the same regiment, were riding together a little separated from their companies, when they were fired upon by six men, who had concealed themselves in the bushes by the roadside. The rebels demanded their surrender before firing, but both officers attempted to escape, when they were fired on from the rear, and Captain Curl instantly killed. Captain Wilcox was severely, but not dangerously, wounded--eight buckshot having penetrated his thigh.

An inspection of the command was made,

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