countered Jackson's cavalry in front of Canton, and drove him through the town and east beyond Pearl River. They then destroyed cars, locomotives, turn-tables, and every manner of thing pertaining to the railroad in Canton, with 3 miles of the track, and the cavalry proceeded to the bridge and destroyed it effectually.
Whilst this was in progress, the cavalry belonging to Od's corps went south to Gallatin and Brookhaven, 60 miles, breaking up the road, destroying cars, and damaging the road in its whole extent. For the amount of damage thus done I must refer to the reports of the officers charged with the work, which will accompany this report.
Whilst these expeditions to our right and left were progressing, the main force before Jackson was strengthening the parapets and rifle-pits, and preparing for a general attack as soon as the ammunition train should get up from the rear. This did not reach camp till late in the night of the 16th, too late to distribute the ammunition.
During the night, within the town of Jackson, could be heard the sound of wagons, but nothing that betokened an evacuation, for the picks and shovels were at work until midnight; but at dawn of day it became manifest that the place was evacuated, and the enemy had withdrawn across Pearl River. The place was simultaneously entered at several points, a brigade of Potter's DIVISION, Parke's corps, being the first to reach the State-house and plant its colors thereon. Blair's DIVISION was soon on hand, and to it I assigned the charge of the city. All other troops were kept outside.
The enemy, in retreating, had burned all the bridges, and had placed loaded shells with torpedoes in the roads leading out from the river. The explosion of one of these wounded a citizen severely, and another killed a man and wounded two others of Lightburn's brigade. The enemy had also fired a building containing commissary stores, which extended and consumed one of the most valuable blocks of the city. He had also during the progress of the siege burned many handsome dwellings outside and near his line of defenses. Indeed, the city, with the destruction committed by ourselves in May last and by the enemy during this siege, is one mass of charred ruins. I soon became satisfied that General Johnston had, by means of the railroad to his rear, removed in advance nearly all his material of war and his impedimenta, and that pursuit across the reach of land of nearly 90 miles in extent between the Central Railroad and the Mobile and Ohio road, devoid of water, in the intense heat of a July sun, would be more destructive of my own command than fruitful in results, and determined to let him go. We had driven him out of the valley of the Mississippi, and out of his intrenched camp. I then ordered all ordnance to be collected and destroyed, and put working parties to make more perfect and complete the destruction of the railroads.
Besides to break at the north and south, before recounted, 12 miles north and south of the town were absolutely destroyed; every tie burned and every rail of iron warped so as to be utterly useless.
About 20 platform car and about 50 box and passenger cars were burned in the city, and all the wheels broken. About 4,000 bales of cotton, used as parapets, were burned. Two heavy rifled 6-inch guns with an immense pile of shot, shell, and fixed ammunition, were destroyed and cast into Pearl River.
General Steele, with three brigades of the Fifteenth Army Corps, was sent forward on the 17th to the town of Brandon, 13 miles, where he encountered Jackson's cavalry, already broken down by its long circuit to our rear and round by way of Canton, and drove him father