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[476] animal to their menagerie in the person of “Beast McPherson.” The General felt badly, but could not weep.

On the eighth, we encountered the enemy, fourteen thousand strong, at a point he had selected to check our progress, but a charge made by our cavalry, and a few rounds from our infantry, soon scattered them, and they again marched eastward in disorder. They formed their line of battle in front of a house occupied by a family, and a woman was unfortunately killed by one of our skirmishers. Lieutenant-Colonel Strong, under instructions from the General commanding, procured a coffin, and had the body decently interred.

A large number of prisoners and deserters were brought in at this place, who all agreed in saying that their army was in a most wretched state of demoralization, and that they were determined not to fight — that every preparation had been made here for fighting a desperate battle, and the officers made every effort to bring their forces into it, but utterly failed. The men said they had been defeated and cut to pieces by superior numbers repeatedly, under bad leadership; that they had retreated, and been harassed until they had no heart to fight and would not. One regiment was disarmed and sent back in arrest, and when volunteers were called for to attempt to hold their ground, they could not find an hundred to the regiment who were willing to make the trial.

The Seventeenth corps halted at Morton Station on the ninth, and the Sixteenth corps passed to the front. Great numbers of dead mules and horses lay along the road; wagons, ammunition, blankets, clothing, and guns, were scattered by the wayside, and all went to show the disastrous effects of that disorderly retreat.

We passed through Hillsboro, a town of about twenty houses, on the tenth, and on the eleventh passed on toward Decatur. During the day, Foster's cavalry was sent to Lake Station, on the Southern railroad, where they destroyed three steam-mills, two locomotives, thirty-five cars, depot, and machine-shop.

We encamped at Decatur, a dilapidated old town, on the night of the twelfth, and destroyed a large tannery. While the supply-train of the Sixteenth corps was passing through the place, Jackson's cavalry made a dash at it, and killed twenty-four mules, when a regiment of infantry came up and sent them howling to the woods, with a loss of several horses, and one man killed and one wounded. During the march of the thirteenth, they made a similar attempt upon the train of the Seventeenth corps, but were driven off before any damage was done.

On the fourteenth, we received word from the rebels that they would make a determined stand at “Summit Hill,” a few miles in advance, and we began to look for a fight; but when we reached that point, we found a board nailed to a tree, upon which was written, in frightfully unmistakable characters: “13 miles to Hell!” But it proved to be a migratory locality, as we never discovered it, unless the fellow meant Meridian, which we reached on the morning of the fifteenth, having marched one hundred and sixty miles in eleven days, with a desperate foe hovering upon our front, flank, and rear, during nearly every hour of the march.

Before we reached Meridian, General Force was sent to Chunky Station to destroy depot warehouses and a large amount of trestle-work, which he accomplished. He was attacked by Lee's cavalry, but soon put them to flight with severe loss. General Force captured and destroyed his train of seven wagons, all he had with him. Our loss was three men wounded, in the Forty-fifth Illinois infantry.

Meridian was a town made up of supply and railroad depots, storehouses, hospitals, officers' quarters, etc., all of which were burned. A large amount of shelled corn, salt, sugar, meal, bacon, and beef was found, which we either consumed or destroyed.

Detachments of the army went toward Mobile, Selma, and Columbus, Mississippi, and destroyed the track, trestle-work, bridges, and depots in all directions from Meridian. At Enterprise, a large amount of public stores, and several large supply depots and hospital buildings were destroyed. At Meridian, we found a large arms manufactory in successful operation, and it, with a large number of guns, was consumed by fire.

The army marched, on the twentieth, for Canton, coming on a route north of the one going out; arrived at Canton on the twenty-sixth, where it remained several days. Colonel Winslow had a severe skirmish with Adams's forces on the twenty-seventh, and on the twenty-ninth the same rebel force attacked and captured a forage-train of sixteen wagons, sent out by the Sixteenth corps. At Canton, twenty-one locomotives were captured and destroyed, together with a large number of cars and other public property. When we reached this point, we heard a great many rumors from General Smith's cavalry force, in most of which they claimed to have defeated Smith and driven him back.

General Sherman left his command at Canton, and came on with an escort to this place. The troops moved from there yesterday, and will be here in a day or two.

Some of the fruits of the expedition are the destruction of three hundred miles of railroad, cutting off all means of transportation this side of the Tombigbee, burning thirty mills, three thousand bales of confederate cotton, destroying twenty-five locomotives, one hundred cars, the capture of about five hundred prisoners, and between ten thousand and fifteen thousand negroes, who are on their way to this place. Besides this, about three hundred wagons and several thousand horses and mules were taken. The enemy, except a small cavalry force. was driven from the State, and all means of his occupying the country in force cut off.

Our troops subsisted on the country, and found large supplies of corn, etc., for stock, and subsistence for the men. Every thing was taken

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