Moved at 8 a.m. February 12, in the direction of Waterford, passing that place at dark; encamped 1 1/2 miles southeast.
At daylight moved one battalion, with pioneer corps, to prepare a crossing at Callahan's Mills on the Tippah River. At 9 a.m. received orders to proceed with the two remaining battalions to the river, and assist in constructing a bridge for the crossing of the command. Arrived at the river at 12 m.; completed the bridge at 3.20 p.m.; marched with the brigade to Okolona, Miss., encamping on the night of the 18th 5 miles east, where I received orders at 8 p.m. to move with the Sixth Illinois Cavalry and the battery of the Ninth Illinois Cavalry to a point 9 miles north of Aberdeen, Miss., communicating with Lieutenant-Colonel Burgh, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, at Aberdeen and taking possession of Cotton Gin Ferry, over the Tombigbee River, 10 miles above Aberdeen.
At daylight I moved slowly toward Aberdeen, halting 6 miles north of that place to feed. At 12 o'clock I fell in rear of the brigade, marching to a point 2 miles east of Prairie Station, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where the regiment encamped with the brigade.
On the morning of the 20th of February, I received orders from Brigadier-General Grierson to proceed with the regiment along the railroad to Loohattan Station to destroy all bridges, culverts, railroad buildings, and C. S. property of whatever kind. During the day the amount of property destroyed was estimated at 500,000 bushels corn and 200 bales fodder. I also burned 11 bridges and culverts.
Arriving at Loohattan Station, I found the enemy in force 1 1/2 miles east of the station. I took position at the railroad and communicated with General Grierson, who instructed me to remain until further orders, not, however, to advance. Soon after General Grierson arrived in person, with two battalions of Seventh Illinois Cavalry.
The enemy, consisting of the brigades of Colonels Forrest and McCulloch, having discovered the column moving on the main Okolona and West Point road, moved rapidly in that direction. At 1 a.m. General Grierson ordered the regiment to rejoin the column.
On the morning of February 20, I sent one battalion, under Major C. W. Whitsit, to reconnoiter on the Houston road. The enemy were found in small force about 2 miles out. Being superior in numbers to the battalion under Major Whitsit, the Second Iowa Cavalry moved on the Houston road, relieving him. Almost immediately after this, I was ordered to move in the direction of West Point, 1 mile distant, to ascertain the cause of an alarm in that direction. I posted my dismounted men on the railroad, and sent forward Captain Blackburn, Company A, Ninth Illinois Cavalry, and Captain M. L. Webster, with one company Seventh Illinois Cavalry, moving on the Columbus road. They encountered a considerable force of the enemy's cavalry; a vigorous attack made by the companies of Captains Webster and Blackburn dispersed them completely.
Receiving orders to take my place in the column, a line of march to the rear having been taken up, I marched out of West Point at 11 a.m., February 21. During the day so many details of companies and battalions were made to assist the Second Iowa Cavalry, then covering the retreat, that it is impossible to enumerate them.
At 10 a.m., February 22, I received orders from Brigadier General William Sooy Smith to proceed to the rear of the column with the Sixth