On the 15th, my whole brigade was engaged in destroying the Southern Railroad, by tearing up the track and burning the iron on piles of ties. Some 5 miles of track were destroyed, including the large bridge across. Pearl River, twenty barrels of tar being placed upon it and fired. Several hundred yards of trestle-work and a large wooden bridge across a ravine were also destroyed on the WEST side of Pearl River, also a cotton factory, two foundries, and an extensive work-shop, used by the rebels in the manufacture of caissons and gun carriages, together with twelve new caissons, and a large amount of Confederate cotton.
Left Jackson at 9 a. m. on the 16th instant, and encamped at Bolton Station on Vicksburg Railroad.
On the 17th instant, moved forward and crossed Big Black at 11 p. m.
On the 18th, moved forward and arrived at Walnut Hills, near Vicksburg, about 4 p. m., and found the enemy (five or six regiments, with artillery) strongly posted. My brigade was deployed on the right of the THIRD Brigade, general Thayer, and skirmishers thrown forward, who engaged the enemy until dark, without loss.
On the morning on the 19th, found that the enemy had evacuated their position on our front, and fallen back toward Vicksburg, leaving their camps and camp equipage, which fell into or hands. I immediately moved forward my bridge, and occupied a hole 500 or 600 yards from the enemy, a deep and broken valley intervening. Found the enemy strongly posted, with from twelve to seventeen siege guns in position, covered by strong earth works, and commanding our position I ordered the Twenty-FIFTH Iowa on to the brow of the hill, to silence the enemy's guns, and ordered Landgraebers' dying battery(four guns) to move forward on the Ridge road, no other road being practicable at the time. They battery came over in most gallant style, the horses at their utmost speed, a distance of more than half a mile, under a tremendous fire from the enemy's batteries on our left, and a galling fire killed. The battery being placed in position behind the crest of the hill, together with the sharpshooters, soon drove the enemy from their guns. On the night of the 20th, having procured a few spades and shovels, I ordered the Seventy-sixth Regiment Ohio Volunteers, lieutenant-Colonel Woods commanding, to throw up rifle-pits on the brow been constantly employed in extending and strengthening them. The Twelfth Missouri also moved forward and took possession of extensive rifle-pits on the low ground on our right, extending to the Mississippi River, driving the enemy out, with 1 officer killed and several enlisted men wounded.
On the 21st, continued to strengthen my position on the hill, the First Brigade relieving me in the occupying of the riflepits on the extreme right.
On the 22nd, was ordered to the left, near the position of the THIRD Brigade, for the purpose of making a charge on the enemy's work, leaving one regiment to occupy the position.
Owing to the difficulty of moving my brigade so as to prevent the enemy from seeing our movements. Several hours were consumed in reaching our position, and having reached the rear of the position where the charge was to me made, it was necessary to press over several pieces of open ground within close range of the enemy's rifle-pits, part of the road being swept by artillery. FIFTY or sixty men and officers were killed and wounded in gaining our position. The Twenty FIFTH Iowa,