War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0267 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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their rear and marched to a point 9 miles the other side of Pontotoc, where it was ordered to encamp. The whole distance marched this day was 25 miles.

February 18, ordered to march at 6 a.m. Started at that hour and received an order to halt and allow the Second Brigade to take the advance, which occupied two hours. At the end of this time, the road being clear, started again and marched via Red Land to Okolona, where we arrived at 4 p.m., when the chief of cavalry ordered that this brigade march on the road toward Egypt Station to a suitable camping-place, and that parties be sent out to destroy such property along the line of the railroad as might belong to the rebel Government and to destroy the railroad itself.

As the column was marching from Okolona and was 2 miles distant therefrom the head of the column was fired upon by a party of the enemy, apparently about 20 or 30 strong, who fled on being pursued. In the night the pioneer corps and a detachment of the Nineteenth Pennsylvania were sent to destroy the railroad and Government supplies as far as Egypt Station, 8 miles south of Okolona. Distance marched this day, 23 miles. In the evening of this day the following order was received:


Okolona, February 18, 1864.

COLONEL: The general directs that you will move your brigade promptly at daylight to-morrow morning on the road leading to West Point via Egypt Station, leaving one battalion at Okolona with orders to send one company 5 or 6 miles out on the road leading north toward Corinth, and one company about the same distance on the road to Camargo. As you proceed throw forces over on the railroad to destroy it and Government stores, if any such there be collected. The general will accompany your column, escorted by the Fourth U. S. Cavalry.

I am, colonel, yours, very respectfully,


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

February 19, daybreak, the brigade marched on the road to Egypt Station, excepting one battalion of the Seventh Indiana Cavalry, which was left at Okolona as ordered, and which subsequently joined the brigade. The brigade arrived at Egypt Station between 8 and 9 a.m., destroyed the Government property at and near the station. I here learned that there were two leading to West Point, one across the prairie, about a mile west of Egypt Station, and one passing around on drier about a mile to the right of Aberdeen. I selected the latter road as being more strictly in accordance with the letter of my orders and less difficult to travel, though somewhat longer. After proceeding 4 miles from Egypt Station, I was ordered by General Smith to return and take the prairie road, and by that road the brigade reached Prairie Station at 6 p.m., the head of the column having had several trifling skirmishers in the course of the day. Distance marched, 22 miles.

February 20, marched at 9 a.m. in rear of the Second Brigade. Arrived at West Point at 3 p.m. with the command in excellent condition, the horses having had plenty of forage and the men cheered by the prospect of meeting the enemy in an open country. Distance marched, 9 miles.

February 21, ordered to return to Okolona. Marched at 9 a.m., following the Third Brigade. Received frequent reports of attacks on the rear of the Second Brigade, which was following us, and at