The next morning, February 4, my brigade was in advance of the Seventeenth Army Corps, a small detachment of cavalry forming the advance guard, which, upon reaching the famous battle-ground of Champion's Hill, was suddenly assailed by a superior force of the enemy and somewhat rudely handled. General Crocker here ordered me to deploy my leading regiment (the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry) as skirmishers, and move carefully forward, and if possible develop the position and purpose of the enemy. After advancing thus for a short distance, my skirmishers became earnestly engaged with the enemy, who disputed every inch of ground with ability and determination. I then brought up the Fourteenth and Seventy-sixth Illinois Infantry Regiments and formed them on the right and left of the Clinton road, in easy supporting distance of the line of skirmishers. In this order I moved my command forward until we arrived at the forks of the road west of Baker's Creek, where the enemy opened upon us with two pieces of artillery, using shot and shell with great accuracy. The Twelfth Wisconsin (of the Third Brigade, Brigadier General W. Q. Gresham commanding) came forward to assist the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, whose stock of ammunition was growing short, and in passing an open field in rear of the line of the skirmishers became exposed to the enemy's fire, one shot from the enemy's guns proving fatal to 3 men of the regiment. A solid shot passed through the ranks of the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, fortunately doing no damage with the exception of wounding 1 man slightly. The line of skirmishers was pushed forward to Baker's Creek, closely followed up by my brigade in line of battle. Here we encamped for the night, having driven the enemy for a distance of 7 miles over a very rough and broken country, which afforded several very favorable positions for the enemy, from which it was very difficult to dislodge them. Notwithstanding the disadvantages under which we labored, such was the skill and adroitness of the officers and men of the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry that but 1 officer and 2 men were wounded during the day. From information obtained from prisoners and from unmistakable evidences left upon the field, the loss of the enemy was very severe.
Our march after this until we arrived at Meridian was a very pleasant one. The heavy rain on the morning of our arrival at Meridian had but little effect upon the troops, owing to the foresight of our commanding general in permitting us to occupy the houses of the citizens of Meridian.
From Meridian we proceeded to the town of Enterprise, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, where I was charged with the destruction of the railroad north of the town, which was done in a most thorough manner, every tie being burned and every rail bent for a distance of 6 miles.
After remaining at Enterprise until the morning of the 19th, we commenced our return march, striking the road traveled in going to Meridian, 3 miles west of Oktibbeha Creek. Thence returning by way of Decatur, Hillsborough, Canton, & c.
On the 1st day of March, my command left Canton, marching 8 miles and camping on Rick's plantation, where it did not leave until 12 o'clock on the morning of the 2nd, during which time we witnessed the performances of the enemy's cavalry, which was pressing our cavalry in the rear rather sharply. I placed my entire command in line of battle, and disposed of the two pieces of artillery left with my brigade by order of Brigadier-General Crocker and awaited their