War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0215 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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officer Fourth Division. To Lieutenant H. M. Bush and assistants, S. Davis and S. W. Dunning, was assigned the topographical survey of the route followed by the corps.

February 3, the command having rendezvoused at Big Black River, the column commenced moving over at 10 a. m. The Fourth Division encamped at Edwards' Depot, Third Division at Amsterdam, Third Brigade, First Division, at Big Black River. Roads generally good, but rather heavy for 2 miles east of the river.

February 4, moved over rather hilly country on good roads about 10 1/4 miles to good camping ground on branch of Baker's Creek, south of Bolton Station. Crossed Baker's Creek 4 1/4 miles east of Edwards' Depot. This is a small, sluggish stream, with steep banks, making it impassable except by bridging. Soil, clay loam, easily worked up by a train during wet weather. No preparations for cultivating visible.

February 5, moved eastwardly over rolling and uneven country with good roads until within 6 miles of Jackson, when we turned south through fields and marshy grounds for about 2 1/4 miles to south Jackson road. Passed through Clinton, a small wooden town, about 3 p. m. Town now nearly deserted. The advance reached and encamped at Jackson, but main force encamped on a small stream 3 1/4 miles west. Soil similar to yesterday. Some little preparations for cultivating visible. Forage scarce; length of march, 15 3/4 miles.

February 6, the pontoon bridge used by the rebels, and apparently just completed, having been destroyed, the pioneer corps were ordered forward, and the site for a new pontoon bridge selected about 100 yards below the old crossing, where the stream was only about 130 feet in width. The construction of the western portion of the bridge, with approached, & c., was assigned the Third Division pioneer corps, under personal supervision of Captain Black, engineer officer, while the eastern portion with debouche was assigned to Fourth Division pioneer corps, under charge of Captain Merritt, engineer officer. Operations commenced about 10 a. m. by the collection of necessary material, which was found in abundance along the shore, and taken from the wreck of the bridge above. Several good pontoons were found in the drift, about 200 yards below, and one very fine one was found in the woods near the old railroad bridge, launched, and brought up to site of new bridge by a detail from the Third Brigade, First Division. Crib abutments were constructed on both sides of the river, with corduroyed approaches and debouche. The stream being about 130 feet in width, seven boats of a floating capacity of about 12,500 pounds each were used with 3 by 8-inch stringers bolted and braced, and 1 1/2-inch flooring with 6-inch guides. Bridge and approaches completed at 3 p. m., and the Third Brigade, First Division, moved over and encamped upon very poor, marshy ground near a small creek, about 2 miles east of bridge. Two small bridges were destroyed by the enemy at this point, and were rebuilt by the pioneer corps of the Third Division during the night. The weather, which had up to this time been very mild, suddenly turned cold and windy.

February 7, moved eastwardly for the first 3 miles over Pearl River swamp on heavy embankments and good roads. From Pearl River swamp we moved over slightly undulating country, covered with pine interspersed with oak and considerable underbrush, to Brandon, the county seat of Rankin County, a small town. No important buildings. Soil, light red clay and loam. Section of country