War of the Rebellion: Serial 037 Page 0204 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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traversed the Mississippi River levee, and from thence along the margin of Lake Saint Joseph; halted on bayou Durssette, having overtaken the Sixth DIVISION, SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, brigadier-General Quinby commanding. At daybreak, when the THIRD DIVISION was put in motion, Sparrestrom's battery, company G. SECOND Illinois Artillery, submerged the bridge over the bayou. I had to take down the adjacent houses and use the weather-boarding, one half inch thick, laying it down both transverse and longitudinally. Layer over layer, until I obtained sufficient buoyancy, and covered the trestle into a floating mass. The bottom of this bayou is a malry quicksand, and very unsafe for any other structure than a flotilla or pontoon bridge. At about a half mile in advance of this last-named point, captain Moore, of General Logan's staff, constructed a bridge under similar circumstances and with equal success. I found all the other bridges to Hard Scrabble, below Grand Gulf, on the Mississippi, sufficiently sage to sustain our DIVISION, arriving at said place on the morning of April 30, about 10 'clock, having marched over 70 miles. To general features of the country are similar to all the Mississippi bottom which I have seen. The surface soil is a bluish retention clay, underlaid by a strata of hard-pan. Generally speaking, the timber easiest to be found along the bayous is that most valuable for the construction of bridges, stockades, block-house,&c., and is the cypress, beech sycamore, cottonwood, holly, and water-oak. I crossed the Mississippi on the morning of May 1, and. Landing at Bruinsburg, advanced on the Port Gibson, and meeting you near the burned suspension bridge, across the south fork of Bayou Pierre, I accompanied you, and when you had selected the site for the new bridge you instructed me to try and procure some spikes,&c., in which I succeeded, and the materials were on the ground before the brigade you had ordered from General McClernand's command had reported. Together with Captain Patterson, in charge of the pioneer corps attached to General Carr's DIVISION, and my own pioneers, in charge of Sergeant [William] Ross, seventy-eight Ohio Volunteers, we commenced operations, and in less then four hours the whole structure was completed and the entire army crossed with perfect safety. The structure was 166 feet, with in the vicinity were torn down and carried by the men over a distance of 100 yards. From this point we advanced in the direction of Willow Springs, and at dusk arrived at the suspension bridges across the north fork of Bayou Pierre, which we found partly destroyed. The bridge having been reconstructed under you personal supervision, captain Hickenlooper, chief engineer SEVENTEENTH Army Corps, and myself, the army passed of General Bowen and Loring. When I arrived at Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black River, the enemy was in the act of destroying the bridge, under the supervision of General Bowen in person. The skirmisher of the Twentieth Ohio coming up, they field, leaving the pioneer tools and General Bowen's pistols, which were picked up by a private of the regiment.