War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0377 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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the Mobile and Ohio Railroad from Tennessee, under command of Generals Smith and Grierson. Upon arrival at Starkville it was found that they had been driven back by General Forrest.

I was then ordered by General Jackson to move my brigade to the vicinity of Sharon and Canton via Kosciusko, which I did, arriving at Sharon on 27th ultimo. I saw no more of the enemy until my arrival there, and as their column was marching on the road leading from Ratliff's Ferry to Canton (which passes within a short distance of this place), my advance guard soon became engaged with him. I sent forward Ballentine's regiment, who commenced skirmishing with him, but a superior force coming up soon compelled it to fall back, which it did in good order, and I left a squadron of the First Mississippi Regiment on the edge of town to cover its retreat, and feel back to a good position about 1 mile to the rear, where I had placed my artillery (a section of King's battery), and there formed a line of battle. This position I held until dark, when I fell back 5 miles for water and forage.

At an early hour next morning, I again marched to Sharon, and with Ballentine's regiment and the artillery I took the directed road to Canton, sending Colonel Pinson with the First Mississippi Regiment off on my right, and Major McBee, with the Twenty-eighth Mississippi Regiment on my left, with instructions that when I met and engaged the enemy they should close in on the flanks. About 2 miles from Sharon I met the enemy and skirmished with him for some hours, but hearing nothing from the other two regiments, and night coming on, I feel back to Sharon, when I learned that Major McBee had met with a column of the enemy that occupied his whole attention and prevented him from joining me. Colonel Pinson likewise met a large foraging party and engaged them, and after a spirited contest succeeded in routing them and driving them from their wagons, of which he captured 9, with their teams (60 mules), killing and wounding some, and taking 15 prisoners.

I again fell back to my old camp, and on the following morning attacked the enemy at the same place as on the previous day, sending Major McBee off on my right to attack his flank if an opportunity offered. This, however, was impossible from the nature of the ground and the position of the enemy, who now brought up a large force of infantry and artillery, and I was again compelled to fall back before a greatly superior force. The next day being extremely cold and rainy, I could do nothing except send out scouting parties to watch the movements of the enemy.

On the following day, being March 2, I ascertained that the enemy were leaving Canton and I pursued them as rapidly as my jaded horses would permit of my doing. General Ferguson being in their immediate rear, I took the upper Vernon road from Canton, and kept on their flank without coming in contact with them until I came within 4 miles of Brownsville. Here I determined to attack their train, and disposed my forces accordingly. This was at a point where the road that I was traveling and the one taken by the enemy came within a mile of each other. I sent Major McBee with the Twenty-eighth Mississippi Regiment to charge the train as soon as he saw a favorable opportunity and afterward ordered Colonel Pinson with the First Mississippi Regiment to form in his rear and be ready to support him or cover his retreat, as the necessity of the case might determine, at the same time sending Colonel Ballentine with his regiment toward Brownsville on the road that I had been