War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0251 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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Acting under orders from the major-general commanding, with Fourth Iowa Cavalry, I had the honor of escorting him to Big Black, arriving at Messinger's at daylight, morning of the 28th.

The three regiments remaining at Canton were placed in charge of Lieutenant-Colonel, Kerr, senior officer.

Not having received the reports of regimental commanders, I cannot give exact account of our casualties, but an confident they will not exceed following exhibit, viz: Officers, no casualties, enlisted men: killed, 10; wounded, 12; missing, 15; total, 37.* Our capture of horses largely exceeds the number of those killed and abandoned.

Just previous to our arrival at Canton the command gathered up a large number of negroes and mules. The negroes and several prisoners of war, captured on return march, were transferred to the infantry at Canton. Several mills, two fine bridges over the Pearl, and some other property was burned by order, and I regret to say that some other building were wantonly destroyed. The case of one officer caught firing a building has been reported through proper channels.

I cannot praise too highly the conduct of the entire command, when under fire, and respectfully mention following officers as deserving especial credit: Major F. W. Benteen and Captain Neet, Tenth Missouri Cavalry; Captains Dee and Parsons and First Lieutenant Alonzo Clark, Fourth Iowa Cavalry; also Captain M. H. Williams, acting assistant inspector-general, and First Lieutenant A. B. Fitch, acting assistant quartermaster (acting aides), both of whom rendered me valuable assistance.

The command traveled, previous to my leaving Canton, an average of 425 miles to the regiment.

The number of men on the expedition was 1,400, of whom 1,300 were subject to my orders.

I respectfully call your attention to the great want of horses and arms.

Hoping this brief of the operations of the command will be satisfactory, I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Colonel and Chief of Cavalry.

Lieutenant Colonel WILLIAM T. CLARK,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Seventeenth Army Corps.

Numbers 35. Reports of Brigadier General W. Sooy Smith, U. S. Army, commanding expedition from Memphis, including operations since December 28, 1863.


February 26, 1864.

SIR: Major-General Butterfield kindly offers to bear a letter to you, and as he boat is waiting to start I will write you as concisely as possible without referring to my journal for dates.

I moved the infantry brigade temporarily assigned to my command*


* But see revised statement, p.193.