War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0177 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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above, a good floating bridge was constructed by Captain Hickenlooper, of General McPherson's staff, and the army passed Pearl River, 25th and 26th. Leaving a division to cover the bridge in case our cavalry should make its appearance, the army was bivouacked near Canton, where Colonel Winslow had arrived, having executed his orders to the very letter, but with no tidings of General Smith.

No enemy having troubled us during our march from Meridian to canton, and anxious to afford Memphis cavalry an opportunity to reach us, I left the army at canton, rode into Vicksburg on the 28th, received my dispatches from General Banks, as expected, and sent orders back to General Hurlbut to remain there until the 3rd of March, and then come into Vicksburg, while I hastened to New Orleans to confer with General Banks and Admiral Porter, and adjust the details of the next combined movement.

I returned to Vicksburg on the 6th instant, found all my army in, and learned that General Smith had not started from Memphis at all till the 11th of February; had only reached West Point, and turned back on the 22nd, the march back to Memphis being too rapid for a good effect. Nevertheless, on the whole, we accomplished all I undertook. Our march out and in from Vicksburg was well accomplished; we beat the enemy wherever he opposed or offered resistance. We drove him out of Mississippi, destroyed the only remaining railroads in the State, the only roads by which he could maintain an army in Mississippi threatening to our forces to the main river. We subsisted our army and animals chiefly on his stores, brought away about 400 prisoners and full 5,000 negroes, about 1,000 white refugees, about 3,000 animals (horses, mules, and oxen), and any quantity of wagons and vehicles. Beyond Pearl River we destroyed all C. S. A. cotton and all that was used in the enemy's work at Meridian; also many cotton-gins and piles of cotton were burned by our soldiers and by negroes, without orders and without detection.

I attach little importance to these matters, by the great result attained is the hardihood and confidence imparted to the command, which is now better fitted for war. Animals and men returned to Vicksburg after marching from 360 to 450 miles in the space of the shortest month in the year, in better health and condition than when we started.

Our losses may be summed up as follow:

Command. Killed. Wounded. Missing. Total.

General 5 21 26 52

Hurlbut's..

General 7 21 46 74

McPherson's..

Cavalry.. 9 26 9 44

Aggregate loss of 21 68 81 170

men*..

We lost some mules and wagons that were out foraging, but the mules were soon replaced by captured animals, so that no delay resulted, I know of no wagons lost save nine, reported verbally by General Hurlbut as having occurred after I came in form Canton.

Contemporaneous with these events was a diversion made on Mobile. I had requested it of General Banks before starting from Vicksburg, and he developed it on Admiral Farragut. Occurring at the

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* But see detailed statement in Addenda, p. 191.

12 R R - VOL XXXII, PT I

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