Under cover of this diversion, Sherman
's two corps of infantry rapidly crossed the Big Black and advanced to Clinton
Here the brigades of Adams
engaged in a heavy skirmish February 4th, and then hung on the front of the advancing columns during the following day, steadily fighting though fully aware of the overwhelming strength of the enemy.
Marching through Jackson
on the night of the 5th, General Lee
turned to the north to cover Loring
's division while it could cross Pearl river
, and was joined by Ferguson
Early on the 8th, finding that Sherman
was crossing Pearl river
to cover Loring
's front, called Ross
up from Yazoo
and ordered Jackson
' and Starke
's brigades to harass the flank of the enemy.
became convinced that Sherman
's object was Mobile
, not Meridian
, and ordered Lee
on the 9th to cover the railroad south of Meridian
while he returned to Mobile
its garrison which he had withdrawn.
The cavalry made every effort to disable the enemy's column, but it marched with such care that a dash made by Adams
' brigade on the 12th, disabling thirty wagons, was the most successful attack, and that was followed by an instant advance of the enemy in line of battle.
The enemy occupied Meridian
on the 14th, and Polk
fell back with the small command of infantry at his disposal to Demopolis, Ala.
, putting General Lee
in command of all cavalry in Mississippi
, with orders to communicate with General Forrest
's cavalry expedition made a fatal delay of ten days in starting.
After making demonstrations toward Panola
being behind the Tallahatchie
, he crossed that river at New Albany and marched toward Pontotoc
, not encountering any of the Confederate forces until General Gholson
with a small body of State troops confronted him near Houston
As the enemy approached Houston
closer a determined