A reconnaissance during the night and early on the following morning developed the fact that the enemy had retired during the night in the direction of Meridian.
February 9, resumed the march at 6, and entered the town of Morton about 9 a. m., and went into camp to let the Sixteenth Army Corps pass to the front. Heavy details were made and set to work destroying the railroad, 3 miles of which was torn up, ties burned, and iron bent.
February 10, resumed march at 6 a. m., and went into camp on Talla Bogue, 3 1/2 miles east of Hillsborough, the county seat of Scott County.
February 11, moved out at 6 a. m., and went into camp on Tuscalameta Creek, having made only 8 miles. The roads were heavy, and the bridges had to be repaired and the swamps corduroyed. Captain Foster with escort company, Fourth Ohio Independent Cavalry, and three companies of Fourth Illinois Cavalry, was sent to Lake Station on the railroad, and destroyed the railroad buildings, machine-shops, turning-tablee, several cars, and one locomotive, not in running order, and returned, having had some little skirmishing with the enemy's cavalry, which continually hovered on our flank and rear, to pick up small foraging parties and stragglers.
February 12, pioneer corps at work at an early hour, corduroying road through Tuscalameta Swamp. Command moved forward as soon as the road was ready and reached Decatur at 5 p. m., distance 15 miles, and went into camp.
February 13, resumed the march at 6 a. m., and went into camp near the Tallahatta Creek. Supply trains of the two corps were corralled at this point, and a guard of four regiments of infantry and one battery of artillery, besides Chambers' brigade, left with it.
February 14, resumed the march at 6 a. m., Force's brigade being detached, and directed to proceed to Chunky's Station, 8 miles south, and destroy the railroad bridges, trestle-work, depot, & c., at that station, and then rejoin his division by a road bearing northeast. Shortly before reaching the station he encountered the rear guard of Wirt Adams' brigade of cavalry, drove them in disorder across the creek, and captured seven wagons, and then drove them out of the town and accomplished the work he was sent to perform. The main portion of the command moved forward and camped on Oktibbeha Creek, 4 1/2 miles from Meridian.
February 15, Crocker's and Leggett's divisions moved forward into Meridian, camping on the south and west sides, the Sixteenth Corps occupying the north and east. In the afternoon the pioneer companies and Brigadier General T. Kilby Smith's brigade were set to work destroying railroads, machinery, & c.
February 16, Crocker's division, with the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, marched to Enterprise, with directions to send the cavalry regiment and brigade of infantry to Quitman, 29 miles south of Meridian, for the purpose of destroying the bridge across the Chickasawha River and the trestle-work through Alligator Swamp, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
February 17 and 18, Crocker's division, which went to Quitman, remained in Enterprise and vicinity, tearing up the railroad.
On the 19th, marched back to the Oktibbeha, 4 1/2 miles west of Meridian. Colonel Potts' brigade, of Leggett's division, was sent west on the line of the Southern Railroad to Chunky's Station, with instructions to burn every bridge and trestle-work over a distance of