March 7, Brigadier General T. Kilby Smith, with a portion of the Third Iowa Infantry, Forty-first Illinois Infantry, Fourteenth Wisconsin Infantry, Thirty-third Wisconsin, Ninety-fifth Illinois, and Eighty-first Illinois, and Battery M, First Missouri Light Artillery, ordered up Red River.
March 18, Brigadier-General McArthur assigned to command of post and defenses of Vicksburg and Natchez during absence of Major-General McPherson. General Leggett ordered to Ohio to superintend recruiting for veteran regiments of his command.*
Numbers 15. Report of Captain Andres Hickenlooper, Fifth Ohio Battery, Chief Engineer, of expedition to Meridian.
HDQRS. SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS, ENGINEER'S OFFICE,
Vicksburg, March 25, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the engineer department of the Seventeenth Army Corps during the recent march to Meridian, Miss., and return, as also to submit the accompanying topographical map+ of the route followed:
On the 19th of January I received an order from you to construct a bridge across Big Black River at the railroad bridge, the immediate supervision of the work being assigned to Captain Black, engineer officer of the Third Division. In company with him I made the necessary examination and selected the site for the bridge at the old road just above the railroad bridge, where the stream was about 200 feet in width, and gave Captain Black the necessary orders to build a combination pontoon and float bridge to consist of five pontoons and four rafts. The Third Division pioneer corps was ordered to report to him at Big Black River, and also such infantry details, wagons, & c., as he might require, were to be furnished by the commanding officer of the forces stationed at the bridge.
About the same time I also commenced a map of the country between Vicksburg and the Tombigbee River, over which we expected to move.
The bridge over Big Black River was 220 feet in length and 11 feet in width, furnished, in accordance with the original plan, on Monday morning, January 25.
January 31, completed three copies of the map of the country between Vicksburg and Tombigbee River. The engineer force of the Seventeenth Army Corps consisted of the Third and Fourth Divisions pioneer corps, under the immediate direction of Captain Black, engineer officer Third Division, and Captain Merritt, engineer
* Furloughs granted in the month of March to the re-enlisted veterans of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Twentieth, Thirtieth, Thirty-first, Thirty-second, Forty-first, Forty-fifth, and Fifty-third Illinois; the Thirty-second and Fifty-third Indiana; the Third, Eleventh, Thirteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth Iowa; the Twentieth, Thirty-second, and Sixty-eighth Ohio, and the Twelfth and Sixteenth Wisconsin Infantry Regiments; the Third, Fourth, and Eleventh Illinois and Tenth Missouri Cavalry, and the Thirteenth Ohio Battery.
+ To appear in the Atlas.