Egypt at 4.30 a.m. I immediately threw out a sufficient force to picket the roads; then destroyed the telegraph and fell to work at the railroad. Great difficulty was experienced in making rapid progress in the destruction of the road for want of proper tools, but shortly after the tools of the road were discovered in a house some distance from the station. These were at once brought into requisition, and by 9 a.m. some 300 yards of the road, were effectually destroyed, the rails torn up and bent, while large fires were built over the track, which I was unable, for want of time, to rear up. At 9.30 a.m. Colonel Waring came up and directed me to fire all the stores found in the place; then rejoin the brigade and act as rear guard.
The following articles were captured at Egypt, viz: 100 bushels of corn, 5,000 bushels of meal and bran, 5 sacks of salt, 4 boxes tobacco, 100 muskets, 2,000 grain bags, and a mail. The corn meal, muskets, and sacks were destroyed, together with the depot, a workshop, and a store-house. Other buildings were destroyed by stragglers of other commands.
I resumed the march taking the Aberdeen road. After proceeding 2 miles I met the brigade returning, having taken the wrong road. By order of Colonel Waring I took the advance of the brigade. The brigade encamped at Pine Grove at dark. Distance marched, 18 miles.
February 20, broke camp at 7 a.m. and marched to West Point . During the day the advance were engaged in skirmishing. Distance marched, 20 miles.
February 21, after having the prisoners, numbering some 80, captured by the different brigades, turned over to me, I with the rest of the command, commenced a retrograde movement. The rear were heavily engaged during the day. Several foraging parties sent out during the day from my command, by order of Colonel Waring, met parties of the enemy on the flanks and had several spirited skirmishers, which resulted without loss to us. One of the enemy was killed. The command reached Okolona at 8 p.m. Distance marched, 38 miles.
February 22, left camp at 7 a.m. At Okolona the rear brigade was attacked and driven back. The First Brigade countermarched and moved to its support, while I with my command and prisoners waited until the pack train and negroes had passed, and then moved in the rear. At Ivey's Hill the whole train was halted, and I was ordered by General Smith to a position to the left of the road on the edge of the woods, some 75 yards in rear of the summit of the hill, with directions to remain there until further orders. Here I waited until the whole of the three brigades, excepting a battalion of the Second Illinois, passed me, the First Brigade seeming to be the only one that maintained its organization. The enemy continued to advance, and finally drove the Second Illinois, while his balls came whistling through my ranks at every volley. Not thinking it likely that any further orders would be sent me, upon my own responsibility I moved to the rear of the new position taken by the First Brigade. Here I found the negroes panic-stricken, rushing in every direction in the wildest disorder, and it was only by the vigorous use of the saber that I prevented my command from being swept away in this human tornado. Although my column was broken several times, at last, in conjunction with the negro pioneer corps, I was able to form and maintain a good column of fours, and by making