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[475] Ferry, and the Seventeenth, which formed the right, at the railroad-bridge, eight miles below.

No tents were taken with us, and all, from the General Commanding to the rank and file, bivouacked by a thousand camp-fires in the open air, on the first night, five miles east of Black River, having marched a distance of twenty miles.

One brigade of cavalry, under command of Colonel Winslow, and a battalion, commanded by Captain John Foster, accompanied the expedition, and on the morning of the fourth, Foster's advance-guard was met by Adams's rebel cavalry, at Champion Hills, who charged upon our small force, running over them, and taking seven prisoners. Their loss was one man killed and one wounded and left on the field. Captain Foster pushed forward and made a dash upon the enemy, and routed him with considerable loss. Their forces, consisting of about seven thousand men, commanded by Generals Wirt Adams, Ross, and Ferguson, and the whole under command of General S. D. Lee, then fell back to a commanding position on the west side of Baker's Creek, where our cavalry force encountered them in the afternoon, and were unable to dislodge them until an infantry force of the Seventeenth corps came up to join in the assault. The enemy had several pieces of artillery which he used upon us at this point with considerable effect. Our loss here was fifteen killed and a proportionate number wounded. The Tenth Missouri cavalry suffered most, but company I, Twelfth Wisconsin infantry, lost three men by a shell from the enemy, and Colonel Rogers, of the Fifteenth Illinois, was slightly wounded by a rifle-shot. At sundown the enemy had been driven across Baker's Creek, and we held the bridge during the night with two twenty-pounder Parrotts, supported by two regiments of infantry. During the night General McPherson communicated by one of his aids, Lieutenant Vernay, with General Hurlbut, who lay six miles north of us, and learned that the enemy was stubbornly disputing his advance.

At sunrise, on the morning of the fifth, the enemy commenced a heavy artillery-fire upon us from the crest of a long ridge which ran parallel with Baker's Creek and three fourths of a mile distant from it. An open level plain lay between us, and the enemy's column could be distinctly seen from our camp in line of battle. The third and fourth divisions of the Seventeenth corps, Brigadier-Generals Leggett and Crocker commanding, were thrown across the creek, and formed in line of battle, facing the enemy, while our Parrotts replied rapidly to the call made upon them by the enemy's guns. Twenty minutes were consumed in forming the line of battle, when the word “forward” was sounded along the lines, and the troops moved forward steadily, coolly, irresistibly, It was a spectacle which, for dazzling splendor, has been seldom equalled, never excelled. Our troops were formed in two columns, about half a mile in length, and with an interval of two hundred yards between, the whole preceded by a strong line of skirmishers; and as all moved forward with the precision of clock-work, with banners and battleflags unfurled, and ten thousand bayonets blazing in the light of a bright morning sun, while a solid column of, sullen, grim “graybacks” stood waiting their approach, each of us felt proud to claim a place in the army of the United States. Our troops were anxious, and all preparations had been made for a determined and desperate onset; but they were doomed to disappointment. When our front column came within long riflerange, the ranks of the enemy broke, and they fled in confusion. Our men went forward at a double-quick with a terrible yell, and overtook the retreating foe in a dense skirt of timber in rear of their position, and cut them to pieces badly, killing and wounding a great number of men and horses, all of which fell into our hands. Our loss here was about twenty-five killed and wounded.

The enemy retreated as fast as possible, and passed through Clinton as our advance entered the town. The road from Messenger's came in here, and the Sixteenth corps came in after the Seventeenth had passed through the place. Lee again planted his artillery in such a manner as to command the road two miles east of Clinton, but was soon routed, with slight damage to us. At this point, Lieutenant-Colonel William T. Clark's horse was shot from under him, and he received a slight scratch on the hand from a rifle-ball. We passed forward as rapidly as possible, and at ten o'clock P. M., the Seventeenth army corps bivouacked among the ruins of the fallen city of Jackson. Our cavalry had pressed the enemy closely to this point, and as he entered the town was compelled to abandon a fine Whitworth gun, which fell into our hands. From here the enemy went north, to Canton, and crossed Pearl River, and marched again to our front, with his forces augmented by the addition of General Loring's division of infantry, seven thousand strong.

The sixth was consumed in constructing a pontoon-bridge across Pearl River, and in destroying a large amount of public stores and arms, and the track of the Mississippi Central Road, which had been repaired a short time before by the confederate forces. Five of General Jackson's couriers were captured during the day, and from despatches found on their persons, we learned that their loss so far had been two hundred and fifty men killed and wounded.

On the twelfth, we crossed Pearl River, and marched twelve miles to Brandon. A small force of rebel cavalry skirmished with our advance-guard all day, and we took several prisoners, and captured a number of horses and mules. A large lot of corn-meal and other subsistence stores were found and destroyed. We also obtained late files of Southern papers, one of which contained a correspondence from one Miss Latham, who was expelled from our lines some time since for taking on “horse-airs” in church. It made the startling announcement to the Southern public, that the “Yanks” had added another


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