Numbers 58. Report of Colonel Willard A. Dickerman, One hundred and THIRD Illinois Infantry. NEAR JACKSON, MISS., July 18, 1863.
COLONEL: The One hundred and THIRD Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry moved from Oak Ridge on the 4th of July at 5 p. m., marching some 8 miles, and resting for night on the hills about 2 miles from Black River(Company C on picket).
Morning on the 5th, at 7 a. m., the regiment and the Fortieth Illinois moved to the ford on the river, having four companies of skirmishers in advance and under cover on the bank, skirmishing with the rebels across the river during the day, two companies from each regiment supporting them on the road some 100 yards in rear, and remainder of the two regiments in line on each side of road in edge of the woods(the bottom timber being about 200 yards wide). At 9 p. m. an attempt was made to cross the ford, the One hundred and THIRD leading the brigade. The water was found to be swimming deep(from the late rains), and all were obliged to retire. From 11 p. m. until 2 a. m., Major Willison, of the One hundred and THIRD Illinois, and 50 men were engaged in felling trees to make crossing. No trees could be made to reach across, and the major and Joseph Weston, Company I, swam the river, which waked up a rebel fire; kept up for some time; no one hurt; the major and Weston playing musk-rat, and returning across the river in good order.
On the 6th instant, the whole regiment was skirmishing during the day along the river bank, with the loss in wounded of 4 men: Miriam Stevens, Company F, in calf of leg; George W. Beams, Company D, in left shoulder; George Hart, Company C, two wounds in right leg, and Thomas K. Smith in ankle by piece of shell. The regiment ferried the river on raft, one-half mile above ford, at 10 p. m., and camped on bank for the night.
At daylight on the 7th, moved some 6 miles to a house three-fourths of a mile from Birdsong Ferry, where we remained until 5 p. m., and then marched (without supper, beef and coffee having to be left as it was just ready) some 8 miles, resting on north side of road, in grove of timber, during a most terrific thunder-storm.
July 8. - At 3 p. m. ordered forward, and marched until 11. 30 p. m., resting for the night in corn-field on roadside.
July 9. - Moved forward at 7 a. m., kept up line of march, with continued delays, until 9. 30 a. m., when, taking by-roads through fields and thickets, moved uninterruptedly until 2. 30 p. m., when halted very opportunely. The extreme heat having caused 8 or 10 men to fall out, overcome during the last half hour, a rest of two and one-half hours refreshed the command, and we moved forward. Companies D and I, as skirmishers, under Major Willison, met the rebels about sundown, keeping up a brisk fire for a few minutes. A section of artillery was brought forward, on the right of which we formed in line and rested for the night.
July 10. - Marched at 7 a. m., moving slowly over the fields until 10. 30 a. m., rested fifteen minutes, then moved forward until 12. 30, when we formed in line and rested for dinner, being in sight of the dome of the lunatic asylum, north of Jackson, MISS. Formed in line of skirmishers 400 yards in front(Companies A and F skirmishers from the One hundred and THIRD Regiment). After dark halted in line in the garden of Brigadier-General Griffith, C. S. Army, for the night.