War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0227 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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March 2, marched to Bogue Chitto Creek; 18 miles.

March 3, marched to Queen's Hill Church; 16 miles.

March 4, the First Brigade marched to Big Black; 12 miles. The Second and Third Brigades to Vicksburg; 27 miles.

Numbers 22. Reports of Brigadier General Manning F. Force, U. S. Army, commanding First Brigade, of expedition to Meridian.

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE,

In the Field, February 14, 1864.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to orders received last night, I marched to Chunky's Station this morning, arriving a little after 9 o'clock.

Learning on the way that General S. D. Lee was at the station with two brigades (General Wirt Adams and Colonel P. B. Starke) and striking their trail 1 1/2 miles this side of the station, I pushed on rapidly and quietly, surprised their rear guard at breakfast, drove them across the creek, captured and burned seven loaded army wagons; burned a fine trestle railroad bridge of eight trestles and two abutments, destroyed several hundred yards of road and two small trestles, bending the rails, and burned a warehouse filled with about 100 bales of Confederate cotton.

Our casualties are 1 enlisted man of the Forty-fifth Illinois, mortally, and 2 enlisted men of the Forty-fifth Illinois, severely wounded.

The rebels left blood on both sides of the creek, and our fire made some confusion among them. They held with some obstinacy a stockade, which commanded the bridge, but their loss was undoubtedly small. Having but forty rounds I was obliged, under the circumstances, to be sparing in their use.

The two companies of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Collins, behaved handsomely. The brigade officers and men, as always, did all that could be asked.

Citizens report that General Lee received orders last night to concentrate and report at Meridian to-day. He arrived at Chunky's from the northwest, coming into the road over which we went, about 1 1/2 miles this side of the station.

Sixty of Ferguson's men passed shortly before me over the road which I passed over. A portion of the force at Chunky's were seen to pass to our right on the farther side of the creek, apparently with the design of annoying us on our return. By returning on the road indicated in the order I saw nothing of them.

I am ordered by Lieutenant-Colonel Strong to remain at this place, the wagon park of both corps, till further orders, an attack being apprehended.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. F. FORCE,

Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.

Captain J. C. DOUGLASS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.