of the main object of the expedition, and not deeming it prudent to detach any portion of my small command, I decided to proceed without delay. After first moving about ten miles in a direction to threaten the bridge, and direct the attention of the enemy to that point, I proceeded in the direction of Montgomery, creating the impression that I intended moving on that city.
On the evening of the 16th I reached the Tallapoosa River, at Stowe's Ferry. The pack-mules and artillery were ferried over on a boat, the main portion of the command crossing at an old ford half a mile above. The ford was rough, and so deep as to swim the horses part of the distance. Nearly the entire night was occupied in getting all across, and the men were much exhausted and needed rest, but, being within a day's march of the railroad, I deemed it important to press forward. The route pursued was still toward Montgomery, but, after following it for some time, I diverged to the left, and, marching through Dadeville, proceeded directly to Loachapoka, on the West Point and Montgomery Railroad, twelve miles south of Opelika. The command reached Loachapoka about sunset on the evening of the 17th. A short time was given to the men for rest. After experimenting upon means for destroying the road, working details were made, and, under the efficient command of Colonel T. J. Harrison, the track for several miles was completely destroyed. The character of the superstructure of the road and the kind of timber used in its construction greatly facilitated the work. The cross-ties were of pitch pine, and into these were sunken stringers of the same kind of wood, and a light bar of iron spiked on the top through holes in a projection or flange. The wedges by which the string timbers were fastened into the cross-ties were readily driven out, and from 50 to 100 feet of the track raised from the ties at once by the use of fence rails as levers. The rails and timbers from one side of the road were placed upon those on the other, and fence rails and other combustible material piled on them, and fire applied. The dry pine burned so readily and produced such an intense heat that the iron was warped and rendered worthless, and the ties burned off where the track rested on them, making the destruction complete. A large quantity of commissary and quartermaster's stores were found in the railroad depot at Loachapoka, and were destroyed. The depot took fire accidentally from the materials burning on the track and endangered the town, but by great exertions the fire was prevented from spreading beyond the railroad buildings.
On the morning of the 18th I sent Colonel Hamilton with his regiment (the Ninth Ohio Cavalry) to destroy the road toward West Point. He executed the order with energy and perseverance. His command was fired upon by parties of the enemy, but drove them off and continued the works, destroying some six miles of the road, extending three miles north of Auburn, at which station a large amount of lumber and other material and supplies were burned. A locomotive on the way from Opelika toward Auburn was also captured with the engineer and two other railroad employees, and the locomotive destroyed. Colonel Hamilton's services were highly valuable in aiding the main object of the expedition. At the same time Major Baird, of the Fifth Iowa, was sent with a detachment of his regiment and of the Fourth Tennessee Cavalry to Chehaw Station, twelve miles south of Loachapoka, to commence destroying the road there and work back northward whilst Lieutenant-Colonel