War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0315 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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them over the fire made by cross-ties; then returned to the brigade, which I found just leaving camp for West Point.

On returning from West Point to Okolona, by your order, I formed in front of the Seventy-second Indiana Mounted Infantry, and in rear of the Fourth U. S. Cavalry, with the First Illinois Battery* on my left, for the purpose of charging the enemy if the column should be attacked while passing.

No attack being made at that time, I received your order to fall back in column in the regular order of march, which I did. After marching about 1 mile I heard the order "halt" passed up from the rear. Having halted, I rode back to the rear of the First Battalion. I found the Second Battalion, under Major Stephens, moving to the rear, when I moved back with the First Battalion, following up the Second, when directed by Colonel McCrillis to form on the right in the field, which I attempted to do, but the rush from the rear was such that I found it impossible to move my column or form a line, as it was broken in several places and a portion of it carried off by the rushing mass from the rear. Then moving back, collecting my men, I commenced forming near some buildings, where a road intersects coming from the south.

Learning that the enemy was advancing on this road and unless checked would cut off the Second Tennessee Cavalry and Fourth U. S. Cavalry, I moved down the road about 400 yards, formed in line in the woods, where we poured several volleys into the enemy, and half them in check until the column had passed. From there I fell back, forming several lines, checking the enemy, and at one time charged the enemy and drove them back.

After passing the line formed by the Second Brigade, I was ordered by General Smith to move forward to the pack train, rest my horses, and collect my stragglers, which having done I dismounted my men, formed them on the right of the Fourth U. S. Cavalry behind a fence on a ridge, where we severely punished the enemy, holding my position until the enemy had taken possession of a ridge in our right rear, when I fell back with the column, the enemy ceasing to press us.

The regiment lost 11 men killed, 2 officers and 16 men wounded and 5 men missing; total, loss, 34.

I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. THORNBURGH,

Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding.

Lieutenant R. W. PIKE,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Numbers 59. Reports of Colonel James H. Coates, Eleventh Illinois Infantry, commanding Yazoo Expedition.

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES, YAZOO RIVER,

On Board Steamer Des Moines, February 3, 1864.

COLONEL: I have the honor to report that my command encountered the enemy to-day in considerable force, variously estimated at

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*Battery K, First Illinois Light Artillery.

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