War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0263 Chapter XLVI. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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was impossible to see the road in the night, I marched 14 miles instead of 5 and reached camp (Porter's farm) at 4 a.m. January 24. I immediately ordered out scouting parties toward Jackson and Ripley to learn the character of the roads and river crossings by the two routes. It was subsequently reported that the road via Ripley was good all the way through, and that the road from Trenton to Jackson was impassable.

During the night of the 23rd and the day following, the whole Seventh Indiana crossed with its ambulances. By this time the river had risen to such an extent that the horses had to be landed in 3 feet of water.

During the night of the 24th and until noon of the 25th, we were trying to establish a new ferry farther down the river, but the constant rising of the river rendered this impossible.

As Colonel Karge was cut off from all possibility of communicating with me, except by Colonel Shanks, of the Seventh Indiana Cavalry, who was the last man to cross, he sent me word by him that he would go back to Jacksonville, and thence by Dresden and Huntington to Jackson, unless he heard from me again. This state of affairs compelled me to take an easterly route, and rendered it impossible for me to go down west of the railroad without great loss of time.

At 8 p.m. of the 25th, I left camp with a small escort and marched 14 miles (to within 11 miles of Trenton), when I met the Second Illinois Cavalry, which I had sent to that place to examine the roads, and I encamped for the night.

That part of my command which had crossed the river marched early on the 26th, and encamped that night 4 miles north of Trenton. I arrived in Trenton early in the day, and immediately instituted inquiries about the roads over which the train might come from Dresden.

On the morning of the 27th, the column came up and I ordered Colonel Shanks, Seventh Indiana Cavalry, to proceed with his own regiment and the Nineteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry to Mount Pinson, on the south fork of the Forked Deer; there to leave the Nineteenth Pennsylvania to hold the bridge, and to go on with the Seventh Indiana Cavalry to Bolivar, on the Hatchie; there to make a bridge or ferry, and to hold the same the command to cross. The Second Illinois Cavalry I sent to Rodgers' Mill, on the middle fork of the Forked Deer, there to hold the bridge and to collect provisions for the remainder of the command.

I marched with the pioneer corps and the squadrons of the Fourth Missouri Cavalry to Parker's Ferry, over the south fork of the Obion, 12 miles southwest from Dresden, and crossed the pioneer corps the same night orders to report at once to Colonel Karge, and to bring through the train under his orders. I encamped at the ferry.

January 28, I sent a staff officer to communicate with Colonel Karge and to inform him of the character of the roads by that ferry, and to tell to use his best discretion as to which course he would take. He decided to go by the way of Huntington as the road had dried up and the bottom at Parker's Ferry was very heavy. I received his decision on the 29th of January.

January 30, I marched toward Spring Creek, where Colonel Karge was to communicate with me, and encamped for the night near Lavinia, 4 miles north of Spring Creek.