menced. While part of the men tore up the rails, others piled crossties in square tiers, on which the rails were laid, so as to have a center bearing. Fire being communicated, it was found that the rails bent readily, even before the pile was consumed, thus rendering the destruction complete and final. In this manner nearly 2 miles were destroyed. In addition to this a large water station, the station house, and two box cars were consumed by fire. Having rendered the railroad useless and incapable of repair for some time to come, the expedition returned to Parker's Gap without molestation, arriving shortly after midnight.
Saturday, November 28, was spent without change other than a movement to a new camping ground about 1 mile nearer to Graysville.
Sunday, November 29, the brigade set out, in connection with the other troops of the corps, on the march toward Knoxville. Cleveland, Tennessee, was the halting place for the night. The night was very cold and the men without blankets or shelter tents. With plenty of fuel and some straw, they were, however, able to render themselves comparatively comfortable.
Monday, November 30, the march was resumed, this brigade leading, the Fifty-fifth Ohio being the extreme advance. The enemy's scouts having now shown themselves, and it having been reported that Charleston was occupied by some considerable force, it was deemed prudent to advance with some caution. In addition to the customary advance guard, skirmishers were thrown out right and left. In this manner the town was entered before noon, the men moving at double-quick; but though we passed their picket fires still burning on our way into town, it was found that they had all retired across the Hiwassee, destroying as they left a rude pontoon bridge and two short spans of the railroad bridge. By direction of General Howard, I immediately threw two companies of the Fifty-fifth Ohio across river in such rough boats as could be collected, the object being to secure some cars which were on the track near the village of Calhoun. The cars, 5 in number, loaded with flour, meal, salt, ammunition, bridge tools, &c, were secured,and afforded a timely issue of rations to at least tow brigades of the corps. During the afternoon the remainder of the Fifty-fifth Ohio and the whole of the Thirty-third Massachusetts were crossed in boats. Meanwhile, repairs were progressing on the railroad bridge, which was ready by midnight for the passage of troops, wagons, and artillery. The other two regiments remained in Charleston till a.m. on Tuesday, December 1, when the crossing commenced; thence the march continued, without noteworthy event to this brigade, as follows:
December 2, to Athens, Tennessee
Wednesday, December 2, through Philadelphia near to Loudon.
Thursday, December 3, to and through Loudon to a point about 1 mile easterly on the Tennessee River.
Friday, December 4, remained in camp at Loudon.
Saturday, December 5, marched at 1 a.m, to Davis' Ford, on the Little Tennessee, where we crossed the river on a bridge of wagons and proceeded to Louisville, Tennessee, some 14 miles south of Knoxville. Remained here until Monday, December 7,when,the object of the movement having been accomplished, the return march was commenced and continued with a tarry of three nights and two days at Athens, and a similar tarry at Cleveland until Thursday,