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brigade and Captain Roemer's battery of the second division crossed at Messenger's Ferry.
On the evening of the 7th, the entire command moved out from Birdsong's, and at ten o'clock bivouacked at Robertson's, in the close vicinity of Jefferson Davis's plantation near Bolton. Other parts of the army were posted upon the plantation itself and Mr. Davis's house and library were thoroughly examined. The Corps marched out on the main road towards Jackson in the afternoon of the 8th, but, on coming in contact with General Steele's command, was obliged to make a detour upon a side road, along which the march was continued till ten o'clock, when the Corps bivouacked near Hall's Cross Roads. On this day's march Griffin's brigade and Roemer's Battery brought up the rear and guarded the trains. On the 9th, the Corps moved about twelve miles, cutting a road through the timber and across the plantations for a portion of the way, and encountering the enemy's cavalry about dark. A slight skirmish took place, in which the artillery of both sides was brought up and put into the action. The proximity of the enemy rendered great vigilance necessary.
On the 10th, the enemy retiring before our advance, our forces were early on the road, and pushing on across the country, through large plantations, came out at night, on the Livingston road, five miles north of Jackson. The next morning, General Sherman moved his army up to the suburbs of Jackson and found the enemy strongly entrenched. In front of the Ninth Corps was the ridge of land upon which is situated the State Lunatic Asylum-a natural position of considerable strength, and then well defended by lines of earthworks. The enemy fell back into his entrenchments, as the Corps moved forward upon him. General Welsh, commanding the first division, formed his command into line of battle, in the afternoon of the 10th, and prepared for an attack. The first brigade, Colonel Bowman, was placed upon the right; the third brigade, Colonel Leasure, upon the left; the 45th Pennsylvania regiment, Colonel Curtin, and the 79th New York, Colonel
Morrison, were thrown forward as skirmishers. The division advanced; our skirmishers soon came in contact with the enemy's videttes near the Mississippi Central Railroad. A general engagement seemed impending. But the enemy declined fighting in the open field, and, night coming on, General Welsh, after advancing to the neighborhood of the enemy's works, established his line securely and went into bivouac. The 2d Michigan, Colonel Humphrey, relieved the 79th New York, and the 46th New York and 50th Pennsylvania guarded the Canton road. The Second Division was moved up, leaving Griffin's brigade to guard the cross roads, and the entire Corps occupied a line at right angles with the Canton road, and extending from near Pearl river to the Livingston road, crossing the Mississippi Central Railroad.
The enemy's defences consisted of a line of works which, combined with the natural strength of his position, enabled him to make a decided resistance to any attempt which we might make to dislodge him. Opposite the right of our line were two forts, one an earthwork, the other constructed of cotton bales, and both well armed. In front of our centre was a six gun fort, the artillery of which was well manned and numerously supported. Opposite our left was an earthwork, armed with field artillery. All the works were connected with lines of rifle pits, and a large number of troops could be seen behind them. General Johnston seemed disposed to hold his position, and a very determined attack would be required to drive him out. The weather was excessively hot, and the troops were considerably worn. General Sherman decided to feel the enemy and to make an attempt upon his position.
On the 11th, our lines were advanced, the first division of the Ninth Corps moving out of bivouac at daybreak. Our line of skirmishers came almost immediately into conflict with the enemy's outposts, and a sharp engagement took place. The enemy's skirmishers were quickly driven in, their reserves pushed back upon their supports, and the advanced forces of the enemy were fairly compelled to seek the shelter of the fortifi
cations. As our troops continued to advance, the enemy opened with his artillery, showing a formidable front. General Welsh halted his division, established his line, sheltering his men from the enemy's battery, and taking up a good position upon a ridge immediately facing the enemy's defences. The 2d Michigan on the left skirmished up to the immediate vicinity of the opposing lines, but not being supported, fell back to the main line, bringing in its wounded. On the right, the 45th Pennsylvania advanced to within five hundred yards of the enemy's works, and retained its position. The rest of our line advanced to the close proximity of the opposing lines. But the enemy was found too strongly posted, and General Sherman, judging the sacrifice of life too great a price to pay for an assault, proceeded to establish his lines, and awaited the arrival of heavier artillery and supplies of ammunition.
For the next few days, the two armies lay watching each other. The men got what shelter they could from the burning rays of the sun in the forests that bordered their position. But neither party was in the finest condition for fighting. A spiteful fire was kept up between the pickets. The 7th Rhode Island lost fifteen men killed and wounded in a single day, and two officers were captured. Early on the morning of the 13th, the enemy made a sudden and vigorous sortie from his works, hoping to break our lines and disturb our investing operations. Colonel Griffin was, at the time, in command at the trenches, and quickly made his dispositions to meet the foe. The The enemy was received with so destructive a fire as to induce him quickly to retrace his steps. A speedy and disastrous repulse was the only result of his reckless attempt. The city was closely invested, and dispositions were made to cut off the retreat of the enemy. The supply trains came up, and General Sherman, on the 16th, ordered a reconnaissance for the purpose of developing the enemy's position and his force. General Potter's division, which had relieved General Welsh in the advanced lines, made a gallant movement, which discovered the enemy still strongly posted and in force behind his intrench
ments. His formidable batteries made free use of shrapnel, canister and shell upon our troops, causing some casualties, among which was the severely wounding of Lieutenant Colonel Brenholts, of the 50th Pennsylvania, a gallant and worthy officer. General Smith's division at the same time advanced in fine style, but was met by a hot fire, which caused severe loss. The troops were finally withdrawn, after ascertaining the enemy's force, and preparations were made for a general assault, to take place on the following morning.
On the night of the 16th, General Ferrero was in command in the trenches. At nine o'clock in the evening, a report was brought in that artillery and infantry could be distinctly heard moving in an easterly direction through the town. General Ferrero investigated the matter, found that the information was correct, and that the enemy was actually in motion. The intelligence was communicated to his superior officers, but the darkness prevented any movement. At two o'clock in the morning of the 17th, General Ferrero's brigade occupied the skirmish line, and at daylight, the skirmishers were advanced to ascertain the true condition of affairs. No opposing force was found, a white flag was waving from the earthworks, and it soon became clear that the enemy had evacuated the city. General Ferrero at once brought up his command, at six o'clock entered Jackson-the 35th Massachusetts in advanceplaced guards over the public property, and sent out parties of men to pick up the stragglers from the ranks of the retreating rebels. One cannon, a 32-pounder, was found in the works, about a thousand stands of arms, and a large quantity of ammunition were secured, and one officer and one hundred and thirty-seven men were captured. But General Johnston had made good his escape, and placed the Pearl river between himself and the pursuit. The city of Jackson was left to our mercy. The railroad depot and a few buildings, containing the enemy's property, were destroyed. The town itself and the public property of the State of Mississippi were guarded and preserved from harm.
On the 17th, General Welsh moved out his division upon the Canton road, with the hope of intercepting the enemy's cavalry, which were supposed to be making for the Pearl river in that direction. No enemy appeared, and on the 18th, the men were engaged in disabling and destroying the Mississippi Central Railroad. During that day and the following, the work of destruction was carried on, and by the evening of the 19th, fifteen miles of the track were rendered unfit for service, the ties were burnt, and the rails bent in the fire. On the morning of the 20th, the Corps commenced its return, and on the evening of the 23d, after a very harassing and exhausting march, the troops reached their old position at Milldale and Oak Ridge.
The Corps remained at this point for two weeks, waiting for transportation, which was procured, after various delays, in the early part of August. The boats on which the troops finally embarked were crowded to their utmost capacity; the voyage to Cairo occupied an unusual time, the men suffered terribly from disease engendered by their exposure to the enfeebling climate, and many died on the passage and were buried on the river bank. Such was the deficiency of transports, that the Corps, in different detachments, was upon the river for two weeks. On the 15th, the last of the troops reached Cairo, in a most lamentable plight. They were received with every kindness and attention, and after a short stay, proceeded to Cincinnati, where they arrived on the 20th. They were soon afterwards transferred to Kentucky, and allowed a week or two of rest and recuperation. General Grant heartily thanked the Corps in general orders, dated July 31st. “In returning the Ninth Corps to its former command," said he, "it is with pleasure that the general commanding acknowledges its valuable services in the campaign just closed. Arriving at Vicksburg opportunely, taking a position to hold at bay Johnston's army, then threatening the forces investing the city, it was ready and eager to assume the offensive at any moment. After the fall of Vicksburg, it formed a part of the army which