As I approached the bridge, however, I could distinctly hear the rebels removing the flooring in the bridge, and apprehending they had received notice of our approach, and knowing the difficulty of success should they have time to assemble their troops, I gave the order, and Colonel Johnston dashed ahead on the guards, who fired and retreated into the bridge, in the centre of which the reserve was stationed behind cotton bales, in front of which twenty feet of bridge had been torn up. The detachment of the Second Michigan, led by Colonel Johnston in person, rushed into the bridge, halted for nothing until they had killed and captured the whole of the guard, and had possession of the bridge. They were moved ahead to cover the approaches to the bridge, and fifty men sent double-quick to seize the two pieces of artillery, the location of which I had learned, and which were soon in our possession. In the meantime the floor of the bridge was relaid so that footmen could pass, and the balance of the Second Michigan, the Sixth Kentucky, and Eighth Iowa thrown across dismounted, and put in position to cover the bridge against an attack from the militia and cadets which were assembling. They made several unsuccessful attempts to dislodge us, but failed, and morning found us in peaceful possession of the premises, with sixty prisoners and three pieces of artillery. April fourth. Destroyed the foundry, factory, two nitre works, the military university, a quantity of stores, and supplying the command with all the rations we could carry, spent the day resting men and animals, and reconnoitering and trying to discover some safe exit by which to rejoin the corps. The bridges over Hurricane creek had been burned, making it necessary to move south-east in the direction of Marion, which would bring me directly in contact with Jackson's division, supported by a brigade of Chalmers' division at Greensboro. Seeing no possible means of getting east to join the corps, I determined to recross the Black Warrior, and, if possible, destroy the railroad between Demopolis and Meridian, as I had been verbally instructed to destroy it west of Selma, and about Uniontown. At this time I could hear of no troops that could offer any resistance to my movement, and I was assured the Tombigbee could be forded at Jones' Bluff, reasoning upon this, as on all occasions, that if Forrest detached a force inferior to my own to look after me, I would smash it up and go whither I pleased, while if he sent a superior force it was my object to draw it as far as possible from the theatre in which the corps was operating, thus giving General Wilson still greater advantage in point of numbers, which I would be careful should not be counter-balanced by any disaster to my command. My only apprehension was that the General commanding would be embarrassed by my delay in joining, and that it might seriously affect the rapidity of his movements, on which I felt so much depended. Accordingly I despatched a scout with a despatch in cypher informing him fully of my movements and designs. April fifth. Recrossed the Black Warrior, burned the bridge, and took the Columbus road, encamping that night twenty-five miles from Northport at King's store, and sending a company of the Sixth Kentucky with Captain Sutherland, my A. A. G., on the upper Columbus road, with directions to cross the Sipsey, turn south, and join me. April sixth. Took the road to Pleasant ridge, and after marching twelve miles came to Laniers' mills on Sipsey, eight miles from Vienna, where I learned that three thousand men left by Forrest at West Point, were marching down the Tombigbee, and that owing to the late rains that stream could not be forded. Here also I learned that Selma had been taken, and that Forrest was at Marion, and Jackson in the neighborhood of Tuscaloosa. It was plainly impossible to execute my designs, and I determined to return to Newport, by which time I hoped to learn definitely the movements of the corps from Selma. Accordingly I crossed Sipsey, burning the mills with a large amount of flour, meal, and meat, and took the road for Tuscaloosa, and after marching several miles, halted two hours to feed. We had just resumed the march when Wirt Adams attacked my rear guard, with two brigades numbering twenty-eight hundred men, drove in the rear regiment (Sixth Kentucky cavalry) on the Second Michigan, which was thrown across the road, and after repulsing several charges were not molested further. In this affair we lost two officers and thirty-two men, two ambulances broke down and were left, the wounded being brought off. These troops of Adams' had been at West Point, and had crossed the Tombigbee the day previous at Pickensville. April seventh. Moved from Romulus to North-port, hearing nothing of the corps. April eighth. Owing to scarcity of forage at Northport, moved twelve miles north on the Boiler road, where we remained until the eleventh, attempting by various methods to communicate with the corps, or find out its movements from Selma, but without success. Finally I concluded that if the corps had moved at all, it was either south or east, as the movement west would have driven Forrest to Demopolis, cleared the country between Tuscaloosa and Marion, and enabled me to communicate beyond doubt. I determined, therefore, to recross the Warrior into Elyton valley, by which I should certainly learn whether Montgomery or Mobile was the destination. April eleventh. Moved to Windham Springs, where I learned that all the boats on the river had been destroyed, rendering it necessary for us to move further north in order to effect a
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Table of Contents:
Doc . 16 . operations in Tennessee .
Doc . 19 . the siege of Suffolk, Virginia .
Doc . 36 . General Rousseau 's expedition.
Doc . 59 . battles of Spottsylvania , Va: battle of Sunday , May 8 , 1864 .
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