War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0219 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

Search Civil War Official Records

connected it with the abutment, and strong 1 1/2-inch flooring laid over the whole. In consequence of the precipitous nature of the opposite side we omitted the crib, and put in a heavy sill. The approach and debouche having been completed, the boats were moved out to their positions connecting with the bent on the east, and secured fore and aft to a heavy 2-inch sheet-line. Four 6 by 9-inch stringers, 25 feet in length, were secured to the sill upon the opposite side, and extending down rested upon the boat stringers 11 feet from the end of the boat; a double flooring being laid upon this, a railing constructed and pumps in position, the bridge was completed, and the command commenced moving over at 5 p. m. The cavalry, two brigades of infantry, with some artillery, passed, when a sudden stoppage at the west end of the bridge caused some heavy guns, with infantry, & c., to stop on the center of the bridge, springing the bulk-heads and causing the boats to leak badly. Repairs being necessary, the balance of the command was bivouacked upon the east side of the river. The boat was raised and repaired, light sprung bents placed under the bulk-heads fore, aft, and center, supported by a light pontoon-boat on each side. The Third and Fourth Divisions moved from Hurricane Creek to Ratliff's plantation over roads similar to that traveled yesterday.

February 26, bridge guards having been placed with proper instructions, the column commenced moving over at daylight. The Third Brigade moved nearly west over a good road. Country well settled and cultivated to Canton, the county seat of Madison County, a town of 2,000 inhabitants before the war. Houses mostly of wood; some few very fine residences of brick; streets regular; yards well laid out, showing taste and wealth; county buildings neat and substantial. Madison County is considered one of the wealthiest counties in the State, with good soil and almost unbounded resources. Length of march, 11 1/2 miles. The Third Division encamped about 1 1/2 miles east of town, and Fourth Division at Terry's plantation, about 1 1/2 miles west of river. In accordance with your orders, I remained at the bridge with the Third Division pioneer corps, having sent the Fourth Division corps with the advance.

February 27, in accordance with your order, I left written instructions with Colonel Hall as to the manner in which the bridge should be destroyed, and at 12 m. moved forward with Third Division pioneer corps, arriving at Canton at 4.30 p. m. The Fourth Division pioneer corps, under Captain Merritt, are destroying railroad stock.

February 28, pioneer corps, with infantry details, destroying railroad and railroad stock. In accordance with your order, I made a reconnaissance of the Sharon roads for about 4 1/2 miles northeasterly.

February 29, pioneer corps still at work on railroad. In accordance with your order, I made a sketch of roads leading from Canton to Livingston, Vernon, & c., for use of General Hurlbut. Weather, which has been fine since leaving Meridian, suddenly changed and became quite cold, with light rain. Third Division pioneer corps accompanied train which left this morning.

March 1, the army commenced moving toward Vicksburg this morning, the Sixteenth Army Corps taking the advance. The Seventeenth Army Corps commenced moving out of Canton about 1 p. m. on the Livingston road. Cold, disagreeable rain-storm. Moved over a rich, rolling country, and encamped on a small creek and swamp 6 miles from Canton. Camping-ground on west side. Water good and convenient. Forage and provisions scarce.