General Veatch, consisting of six regiments, were organized in two brigades, Colonel M. Montgomery taking command of the First Brigade and Colonel Howe, of the Thirty-second Wisconsin, taking command of the Second Brigade, since which time I have been in command of the regiment.
We proceeded in line of march for parts then unknown, crossed Rig Black River on pontoons, and reached Jackson on the 7th; passed through Brandon, Hillsborough, Decatur, Little Chunky, and other places of less note, and reached Meridian, Miss., on the 14th and camped near the railroad.
Here we remained until the 16th, when we received orders to move to Marion, 5 miles distant, to support the Second Brigade, who were there fighting. On our arrival fighting had ceased, and the enemy routed. Here we remained till the 20th, tearing up railroad, destroying bridges, culverts, & c., and doing picket duty, grinding corn, foraging, capturing horses and mules.
Having fulfilled entirely and well the object of the expedition, we were ordered to return to the Mississippi River to embark in an equally important movement by the way of Union, Hillsborough, and Canton, where we encamped on the 26th, and where we remained till March 1, during which time we foraged and were on picket duty.
We then proceeded to Vicksburg by way of Livingston, Brownsville, crossed Big Black River, reaching Vicksburg the 4th of March.
The whole distance marched with expedition was near 400 miles in thirty-one days. During most of the time we were on half rations, but foraged for the other half, and did not suffer much except for the want of bread.
During this hazardous expedition in entering the heart of the enemy's country we have been peculiarly fortunate as a regiment, having lost not a man by straggling or neglect when men have fallen out of line through fatigue, while other regiments have lost men, as their reports will show, I believe from these causes. Our means of transportation were very limited, restricted to 2 army wagons and 2 ambulances, and reserved for forage and ammunition.
Many thanks are due the officers for their vigilance all along the route, and the men generally appreciated the care and efforts made in their behalf and obeyed the orders to the letter, published from time to time to the regiment.
From the time we crossed Big Black River until we recrossed it was one continued skirmish, the rebels watching for opportunities to harass us, laying heavy timber in impassable places, burning bridges, & c.
On the 12th of February, our regiment and train were fired into from the woods while passing, but no damage done. We halted and formed line of battle, sent out skirmishers to scour the woods, but the rebels had fled.
The casualties incident to our regiment since we left Helena, Ark., on the 1st February, are as follows: Private James Lick, Company C, while watering ambulance horses on board the H. Choteau, accidentally fell overboard and was lost in the Mississippi River on the 2nd of February. Private George W. Louthain, Company I, shot by accidental discharge of his gun while falling in company for line of march at Little Chunky Creek, Mississippi, on the 13th of February. Private John W. Bayse, Company B, died of typhoid fever at Decatur, Miss., on the 21st of February. At the time of his death was