War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0275 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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and, arriving upon the ground, immediately formed in line of battle on the right of the road and in good order. Remaining in this position for nearly an hour, it was ordered still farther to the right in support of the Fourth Regiment of Regulars for he purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy, who was reported to have been recently seen in that direction. A march on the double-quick of some 5 or 6 miles brought us at dark to the place selected for the night's bivouac without our having discovered the enemy in force.

On the return to Okolona on the 21st, this regiment was placed in the column of march at the rear of the First Brigade, the Second Battalion constituting its rear guard. Toward evening the enemy appeared in considerable numbers on our right flank, and made a demonstration on our rear guard; but two companies being promptly thrown out as skirmishers to meet them, they retreated without attacking. At this time the regiment was ordered to the rear to the assistance of the Second Brigade, which had been during most of the day engaged. It was countermarched and proceeding rapidly to the rear, when the enemy was discovered in force upon our right, marching parallel with our column. Major Beck with a company was sent forward to feel for them, supported by another company, under the personal command of Colonel Shanks, while I formed the residue of the command in line for action. Major Beck fired upon and drove in their flankers, when the enemy retired to a safe distance; but a further and more vigorous attack by us, and for which we had prepared, was prevented by the character of the intervening ground. The Second Brigade, arriving in the mean time, we were ordered to rejoin the command.

On this day Captain Elliott, in command of a small detail of foragers, was attacked near the roadside by an equal number of the enemy, when the captain charged upon them with such spirit that he killed 1, wounded 2 severely, captured 6 prisoners with their arms, horses, and equipments, bringing them safely to the command without the loss of a man.

On the 22nd, the regiment was again placed at the rear of the brigade, and to the rear of the train of contrabands, captured mules and horses. Upon arriving near Okolona, the enemy was discovered upon the right, moving in the same direction with ourselves in the open prairie, but keeping the embankment of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad between them and us. By the order of General Grierson the regiment left the train and moved to the right, deploying Company H as skirmishers, who soon became engaged with those of the enemy. Moving rapidly forward through the center of town and to the north side of it, the regiment formed in line of battle, the enemy forming in our front to the east, and still hugging closely the railroad embankment. The First Battalion engaged the enemy's skirmishers briskly for a few moments, and drove them rapidly back upon their line. Other regiments were soon brought to our rear and formed for our support, artillery put in position, and everything seemed to indicate that an engagement was at hand. Our regiment having been cut off from the brigade, left the rear of the train exposed and measurably unprotected; therefore, after occupying the above position for some time, we were, by General Grierson's order, relieved by another regiment and directed to resume our place in the column of march.

This order was being executed, but the regiment had moved but a few miles from Okolona, when a portion of the force left in our rear