north and west from Brandon, from 1 to 5 miles distant, reported productive and wealthy. Encamped on a small creek of indifferent water, about 1 mile northeast of town, where some corduroy roads were built by Fourth Division pioneer corps. Details were also sent out to destroy railroad. Length of march, 13 miles. Forage, beef, pork, and corn sufficient for one trip; no surplus left.
February 8, route nearly northeast all day over low ridges, covered with pine and scattering oak; underbrush thin. Very sparsely settled by ignorant people tired of the war. Encamped on Pelahatchie Creek, a small, clear stream of excellent water and good sandy bottom, easily forded at this point; length of march, 17 3/4 miles. Forage not abundant. About dark, in accordance with your orders, I made a reconnaissance of the west bank for about 5 miles northwest, and found it to bee a low, swampy country, intersected by numerous sloughs or creeks impassable for anything but small bodies of infantry. The Fourth Division pioneer corps engaged in rebuilding small bridge across Pelahatchie Creek and repairing roads.
February 9, marched only 5 1/2 miles, over ridges similar to yesterday, to Morton, a station on the Southern Railroad, where we went into camp for the purpose of allowing the Sixteenth Army Corps to pass us and take the advance. Camped on high ground with water inconvenient and rather poor. Active preparations for cultivating visible. Heavy details from infantry and pioneer corps destroying railroads.
February 10, moved eastward over low, rolling pine country, with occasionally high hills and ridges; oak underbrush; soil poor, red clay and sand. Roads generally good, but in some places very bad, requiring corduroying. A few days' rain would render them almost impassable for a large train. Very few settlers along the road, but all busy preparing for corn. Encamped on Taala Creek, 3 1/2 miles east of Hillsborough, the county seat of Scott County, a small, wooden town, nearly deserted, and now mostly destroyed by fire. Forage, beef, port, and corn plenty. Camping-ground very good. Water excellent and convenient. Length of march, 16 1/2 miles.
February 11, accompanied cavalry expedition to Lake Station, on Southern Railroad, where we destroyed one-fourth mile railroad, 1 culvert, 2 locomotives, 35 cars, 1 depot, 1 warehouse, 1 machine-shop, 2 mills, and 1 water-tank. Marched only 7 1/2 miles over heavy roads, but less hilly country than formerly. Much corduroying required; during wet weather road would be nearly impassable for a large train without considerable work by pioneers. Wealthy plantations reported on both flanks 3 or 4 miles distant. Encamped on Tuscalameta Creek on good ground. Water convenient.
February 12, commenced work on road through Tuscalameta Swamp at 5.30 a. m., with both pioneer corps. General Hurlbut's train still in the swamp. Very heavy work, over 3,000 feet of corduroying and repairing. Road finished by the time the Sixteenth Army Corps train was fairly out of the way. The route lay this morning, after passing Tuscalameta Swamp, over rolling pine country, sparsely settled, to Decatur, the county seat of Newton County, a very small town containing but little more than the necessary county buildings. Soil, similar to yesterday. Forage, beef, and pork sufficient. Camping-ground dry. Water good, and convenient. Length of march, 14 1/2 miles.
February 13, moved nearly east all day over very heavy roads, requiring considerable repairing. Passed several very good planta