War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0239 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

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Numbers 28. Report of Lieutenant William C. B. Gillespie, Forty-first Illinois Infantry, quartermaster First Brigade, of operations February 26 - 28.


February 29, 1864.

SIR: In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 22, from these headquarters, dated February 26, 1864, I organized a foraging party, composed of the mounted men of this brigade, for the purpose of procuring forage, bacon, horses, mules, & c., for the use of this command. On the same day, at 8 a. m., I left our camp on the east side of Pearl River, crossed to the west side, and took a direction east of north on a neighborhood road marked 1, as per accompanying diagram,* to Adams' and the residence marked 2 and to Williams'. Lieutenant Nichols, quartermaster of the Thirty-third Wisconsin Volunteers, accompanied me. We had with us 70 men. At the above-mentioned residences we procured about 2,000 pounds of bacon and several bushels of sweet-potatoes. From Adams' I sent a sergeant and 10 men down toward Pearl River after some mules, & c., said to be hidden there. He found 8 serviceable mules and a lot of bacon, 500 pounds of which he brought away with him in an old wagon found at the same place. At the residence marked 2 we procured another wagon, both of which we loaded with bacon, & c. I then took 10 men and started to camp with the animals, & c., already procured, taking the Canton road to a point marked A, where I waited for the Third Division to pass, and then learned that the Fourth Division was going into camp back 2 miles toward Pearl River, for which point I immediately started, and reached about dark. I divided the bacon among the different regiments of the brigade pro rata. Before starting back from the point marked 4, I sent Lieutenant Nichols and 60 men to Willis' after some mules and horses, said to be hidden in the swamp. He procured 12 mules and 4 horses, and returned to camp in safety, not having met with an armed rebel during the entire day.

At 7.30 a. m. on the 28th instant, I started again with 84 men, 74 of whom were placed under the charge of Captain Potter, Fifty-third Illinois. Lieutenant Nichols accompanied me again to-day, with 10 men as an advance guard. We started from camp on the road marked 3, followed it to its intersection with the Canton and Carthage road, thence to near the point marked 4, where we halted for a few minutes. While there, 5 mounted and armed rebels came from the direction of Carthage and turned to the north at the point marked 4. Lieutenant Nichols and myself, with our advance, immediately started in pursuit, the remainder of the column following at a short distance in the rear. We advanced to within 75 yards of the rebels, when Lieutenant Nichols commanded them to halt. One of them turned on his saddle and saw us, when they started off at a rapid rate. We fired several shots after them and pursued them to Lott's, where they turned right and left and we lost them in the brush. From Lott's we continued north, and shortly discovered 3 rebels coming on to the road ahead of us. I ordered the sergeant and 6 men, which I had placed in the advance, to pursue them, and started forward myself. We pursued them to the point marked 5, where we halted, and I sent


* Not found.