War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0383 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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forces, with which I believed it was designed to hold and occupy this region of country. Accordingly, so soon as I received the information that three boats were west of Honey Island, I moved to Tchula, thence toward the foot of Honey Island; but before I reached this point my scouts returned from a thorough reconnaissance of Honey Island, reporting that all the boats had descended the river to Vicksburg. Believing now that the enemy had returned to Vicksburg, I moved from the Yazoo Bottom to near Lexington determined to return to Grenada by slow marches, resting my men and horses.

I received now several dispatches from Brigadier General L. S. Ross, from the vicinity of Benton, indicating the presence of the enemy at Yazoo City. I moved in that direction, and on the evening of March 4 formed a junction with him at the Ponds, 6 miles east of that city. My effective force was now reduced to 550 men, and that of General Ross was about 1,000 men. I found General Ross well informed as to the position of the enemy, his works of defense, and the topography of Yazoo City and envirous. He made full (as I afterward saw to be), true, and accurate explanations, giving me the benefit of his valuable information upon these points. He reported to me as the ranking officer, but on account of his superior information as to the defenses and approaches of and to Yazoo City, I declined to assume the command, making him my equal in rank, both agreeing to consult and co-operate.

At 8 a.m. on March 5, we moved from our camp at the Ponds, determined to reconnoiter the enemy's position and feel of him in force, and, if the opportunity should appear favorable, to capture the city and works.

At 10 a.m. we commenced the attack. Colonel Mabry was ordered to attack on the plank road, Colonel Jones to carry the left central redoubt, Colonel Hawkins to carry the extreme right redoubt. These officers belonged to General Ross' brigade, and these dispositions were made by him. Acting under General Ross' advice, I placed Captain Thrall's section of artillery on a point about 1,000 yards from the right central redoubt and opened upon it. Captain Thrall soon obtained the range, and his shells seemed to burst right over the work. General Ross now moved on the plank road to the left, commanding the left wing. Colonel Hawkins, commanding the First Texas Legion, very soon drove the enemy from the extreme right redoubt, and this gave me a much better position for Thrall's section; also opened one of the main roads into the city, exposed the camp of the Eleventh Illinois Regiment and the north side of the main redoubt, which it now appeared the enemy intended to hold it possible. General Ross had now captured the two redoubts on the left of the main or right central, and had placed his section of artillery (Lieutenant Johnston commanding) in a good position at easy range, and was playing it upon the main central with good effect. This work was the largest and strongest of all the works; had in it one piece of artillery, was flaunting the U. S. flag,and now became the special object of our attention. We now had four pieces throwing shells at this work. One of my pieces, however, soon disabled itself by its recoil.

I received a message from General Ross saying that he had thrown the forces of his wing, to wit, Colonel Mabry's, Colonel Jones', and the Twelfth Tennessee Cavalry (Colonel Neely commanding) around the east and south sides of the fort, and the shells which went over the works fell among our own men.