War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0249 Chapter XLIV. THE MERIDIAN EXPEDITION.

Search Civil War Official Records

again encountered at Mr. Walton's, near Bolton. The Tenth Missouri (Major Benteen commanding) being in front, were dismounted, and the enemy driven immediately from his position with some loss, among others 1 major, 1 captain, and 1 second-lieutenant being killed.

On morning of 5th, taking a right-hand road at Woodman's, we entered Clinton by the Raymond road just after the enemy left the town, and found them strongly posted 2 miles east, when we moved to the right and approached Jackson by the Mississippi Springs upper road, and when arrived within 1 1/2 miles of the city discovered the enemy's column, 3 miles in length, moving by fours toward and into J[ackson] on the main road half a mile in front, falling back before the advance of Major-General Hurlbut's column, then about 5 miles from the city. Taking advantage of the enemy's surprise at our sudden appearance, I moved quickly forward to the attack, dismounting the Fourth Iowa (Major Parkell commanding), which was in front, that they might gain the hill at intersection of the roads, and directing the Eleventh Illinois (Lieutenant-Colonel Kerr commanding) to deploy to the left, advance over the open ground, ascend the hill, and strike the enemy in his flank and rear. Observing that the enemy advanced one regiment in line to cover his flank and his lateral movement, I caused one rifled gun to throw a few shells into their column in order to aid the attack of Colonel Kerr. One shell killed 3 men. Meantime the Tenth Missouri were pushed forward, immediately following the Fourth Iowa, and advancing at a gallop closely pursued through the line of fortifications and into Jackson that portion of the enemy's column which retreated in that direction. The brigade of Colonel Starke, with a portion of the one in front, being thus cut off from the city, broke in disorder and fled toward the Canton road, the Eleventh Illinois capturing from them 1 Rodman gun and 1 ambulance, with cannoneers and drivers. Leaving directions for the Fifth Illinois (Major Farnan commanding) and the Fourth Iowa to push out south and north, guarding the approaches to the city, and directing the battery to occupy the hill commanding the place, I proceeded, in accordance with instructions, to the rebel pontoon bridge, arriving just in time to prevent, with Tenth Missouri, its destruction. At this time it was quite dark, and the respective regiments bivouacked in their positions. By this success the enemy were prevented from occupying the fortifications, from destroying stores and the bridge, and a large number of men were dispersed through the surrounding country, who failed to rejoin their commands during the time of the expedition. Several rebel general officers escaped capture by hard riding.

The next morning a reconnaissance for 5 miles toward Canton developed no enemy in force, but exhibited many evidences of hasty flight on preceding evening, quite a number of wagons, ambulances, and much other property being abandoned on this road. Bivouacked near the asylum until 9 a. m., 7th instant, when the command crossed Pearl River, and taking a left-hand road 6 miles out entered Brandon, encamping 3 miles east of that place, in advance of the army, after a slight skirmish with some rebel cavalry.

At 6 o'clock next day took the advance of the army and encamped on Line Creek, skirmishing the entire distance, 19 miles.

Reporting to Major-General Hurlbut morning of the 9th instant, we moved past Morton, near which place the enemy were found in line of battle on the preceding evening, and encamped east of Shockalo Creek.