Springs. This grand crossing of the main railroads of the south-west, at Meridian, is crossed out for the war, and the “tax in kind” will hardly be wagoned out of Mississippi to any great extent. February twentieth, commenced our return march, making sixteen miles. February twenty-first, marched fourteen miles to Decatur. February twenty-second, marched eighteen miles. February twenty-third, marched twelve miles to Hillsboro. Found the graves of Walker (company I) and Griggs, privates of the Thirteenth Iowa, both murdered after being captured, as narrated above. February twenty-fourth, the “Iowa brigade” marched twenty-three miles in eight hours and a half, to Pearl River, to guard pioneers in building bridges over the river on the Canton road. February twenty-fifth, finished the bridge and crossed to-day. February twenty-sixth, marched thirteen miles to Canton, county-seat of Madison County, remaining four days, the town guarded by the Iowa brigade. March first to fourth, marched sixty-four miles to Vicksburgh. Some skirmishing. Lieutenant Kilpatrick, with nine men, was captured while out foraging. As the result of our expedition, we cut off the rebel supplies from this State, demonstrated the ability of our veterans to go where they please, brought in some two hundred and fifty prisoners of war, about as many refugees, nearly six thousand negroes, (several hundred of whom go into our army,) several hundred teams, with cattle, mules, horses, etc., in large numbers. We buried sixty rebels killed, and lost ten killed in action. Our losses were small, and mostly from stragglers and small foraging parties captured — in all not exceeding two hundred and fifty.
A national account.
on board the steamer Constitution, March 5, 1864.The expedition under the command of General Sherman set out from Vicksburgh on February third, in two columns, one under the command of General Hurlbut, proceeding by the old Jackson road, and crossing the Big Black by a pontoon-bridge at Messenger's Ferry; the other under command of General McPherson, crossing the river at the railroad bridge. In order to facilitate the progress of the army, all unnecessary baggage was left behind, the soldiers taking twenty days rations. The weather was beautiful, and the roads in excellent condition, and every thing bid fair for a speedy and successful march. What made it much more auspicious than such expeditions usually are, was the fact that the enemy knew little or nothing in regard to our numbers and intentions; in fact, the expedition was a complete surprise to them, and throughout the march they seemed completely nonplussed and at a loss what to do. The country from Vicksburgh to the Big Black is completely stripped of every thing that can afford sustenance to man or beast, and such is the case only in a less marked degree as far as Jackson. After crossing the Big Black, both columns had skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry at intervals until we arrived at Jackson. The cavalry belonged to S. D. Lee and Ferguson's commands. These skirmishes, though in some cases severe, caused our forces but little delay, as they speedily drove the enemy back. In this day's skirmishes, the enemy acknowledge a loss of ten killed and thirty or forty wounded. Among the former was Major Bidden. This loss was at least twice as great as our own. The confederates had four pieces of artillery, and there is no doubt that it was their intention to make a stand at the fortifications of Jackson. These fortifications consist of earthworks and rifle-pits, and would have afforded considerable protection against an assailing party. A force of cavalry was sent out by another route, which ran parallel to the main road, and succeeded in flanking them, when they retreated in great haste. Our cavalry captured one of their guns, a rifled tenpounder, with caisson, horses, etc., and several prisoners. The flight of the enemy through the town and across Pearl River, was a perfect skedaddle. So great was their haste, that they had no time to destroy the fine pontoon-bridge which they had erected across Pearl River, except to cut the ropes; and it was used the next day by our troops in crossing. After our army had crossed, and was on the way to Brandon; the bridge was destroyed by the confederates to cut off our retreat. We had no desire to retreat till our mission was accomplished. Jackson is a sorry-looking place; all the public buildings having been destroyed, except the State House and City Hall. Besides the public buildings, nearly all the stores and many private dwellings have been burned. Most of it was done during the occupation of the city by our forces one year ago. Our march from Jackson to Brandon was mostly free from skirmishing, the enemy having become thoroughly demoralized and chiefly occupied in making good their escape. We found plenty of meat and corn on the route, which the soldiers were not slow to avail themselves of to lengthen out the supplies which were brought with us. It was the expectation, when the expedition started out, that they would draw most of their supplies and all the forage for horses and mules from the country. There was very little difficulty in finding enough for our purpose, even in the most barren part of the country which we passed through. There was nothing left, however, after our passage, and in many instances the people must suffer for the want of food. The statements that the confederates would suffer from starvation are without foundation. There is plenty of corn and meat in the country, but very little else; yet this will serve to sustain life, and people can fight, living on this alone, if they can get nothing else. They appear to