On the morning of the 4th, we took up the line of march, the Thirty-first being in front of the brigade. There was nothing of consequence occurred that day.
On the morning of the 5th, the Thirty-first Illinois fell to the rear of the division train as guard. When within about 3 miles of Clinton, Miss., I received orders to move with my regiment to the front and rejoin the brigade, which was skirmishing with the enemy. On arriving at the head of the column I was ordered to relieve the Seventeenth Illinois, which was supporting the Twentieth Illinois. The line was then advancing. After marching in line of battle for some distance, I marched the regiment by the right flank, file left, immediately into the road. I then received an order to form the regiment in line of battle on the right of the road in an open field. Before an advance was ordered we moved by the right flank for about one-quarter of a mile, then by the left flank for some 300 yards. We could see the enemy in front, but could not, on account of the distance between us, give them a turn. We then marched until after dark, when General Leggett called for volunteers to go into Jackson that night to hold the place. My regiment was one of the volunteer regiments. We arrived at Jackson, Miss., at about 11 p. m. the night of the 5th February.
Remained in camp at Jackson on the 6th.
The 7th, crossed Pearl River, and marched about 1 mile beyond Brandon, where we camped for the night.
8th, marched within 4 miles of Morton, where we again camped. Nothing of consequence occurred since leaving Jackson.
Morning of the 9th, with the expectation of meeting the enemy we marched into Morton, Miss., arriving at that place in the forenoon, where we encamped. While at this place the Sixteenth Corps passed.
On the morning of the 10th, we marched in the direction of Hillsborough. My regiment was guarding the ammunition train. The night of the 10th camped 3 miles beyond Hillsborough.
On the 11th, we were in camp until 3 p. m. We then started in the direction of Decatur.
Marched all night until 4 a. m. of the 12th. We then camped for a few hours' rest. The regiment guarded 60 prisoners that day and night.
13th, marched 10 miles, nothing of interest occurring.
14th, marched to Chunky's Station, 8 miles from the main road. Reached that place about 11 o'clock. While the advance regiments were skirmishing with the enemy, I put out a line of skirmishers in front and rear, and then set part of the regiment to destroying railroad. Had no one killed or wounded that day. Marched back to the main road, my regiment being rear guard, and camped at the corral until next day.
15th, marched to Big Chunky, a distance of 12 miles, where we camped for the night.
Morning of the 16th, marched into Meridian, reaching that place in the forenoon; went into camp.
17th, was ordered out to destroy railroad. Worked all day and destroyed about 1 1/4 miles of railroad. Changed camp to the opposite side of town.
18th, marched out about 2 miles southeast of Meridian to mill, and guarded it while meal was ground.
On the 19th, was relieved by Twentieth Illinois, and marched back to camp at Meridian.